Cancelling a flight ticket is a pain for air travellers. Especially after the huge cancellation fees that commuters have to pay. However, it seems that airlines might roll back the cancellation fee providing much relief to the travellers. According to an Indian Express report, cancellation charges for cheap domestic air tickets will no longer be a flat Rs 3,000. Indian airlines has said that their domestic cancellation charges will either be Rs 3,000 or base fare plus fuel surcharge per passenger, whichever is lower. The move by the airlines is seen as a relief for those who manage to buy cheap air tickets. People buying cheap air tickets end up losing a lot of money while cancelling the ticket. They pay the cancellation charge along with the base fare which amounts to a total more than half the ticket fare. However, domestic travellers, whose base fare and fuel surcharges combined is more than Rs 3,000, will continue paying that as the cancellation fee.
The change in rule comes after aviation minister Jayant Sinha recently voiced concern over the flat Rs 3,000 domestic cancellation fee being too high. The government believed that the Rs 3,000 cancellation fee charged by a few airlines on domestic tickets was too high and needed to be rolled back. “We believe cancellation charges are on the high side and onerous for passengers. The Rs 3,000 fee is in many cases more than the price of the ticket itself. Our UDAN (subsidised regional flying) scheme has capped fares at Rs 2,500 per hour of flying. These cancellation charges need to be brought back into balance,” Jayant Sinha was quoted saying on November 3.
Sinha has then ordered a review of the huge amount charged by airlines. This concern came after the hike in cancellation fees by many airlines in November this year. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet had revised its cancellation fee from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 for domestic flights and from Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 for international flights from November 1. Its competitor IndiGo had done the same in September.
As per the report, while websites of most earlier airlines listed a flat cancellation fee of Rs 3,000, this policy has now being tweaked in accordance with the DGCA rule. Titled “refund of airline tickets to passengers of public transport undertakings”, the rule effective from August 1, 2016, says: “The issue of refund of tickets by airlines has become a major source of grievance amongst airline passengers. A large number of complaints are regularly received which can broadly be divided into the following categories: a) Delay in refund. b) Amount refunded. c) Policy of no refund of the ticket amount but to adjust against tickets to be purchased by the passenger for future travel…”