Flight ticket refund during lockdown status, rules: Based on the Supreme Court judgement, the DGCA has categorized flyers whose tickets were cancelled due to Coronavirus lockdown and seeking refund.
Flight ticket refund during lockdown status, rules: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued circular on how to avail a refund on cancellation of air tickets during Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown. The circular has been released days after Supreme Court pronounced judgement in this matter.
Based on the Supreme Court judgement, the DGCA has categorized flyers whose tickets were cancelled due to Coronavirus lockdown and seeking refund.
Category 1: Passengers who booked tickets during lockdown for travel during lockdown i.e from March 25 to May 24, 2020.
Category 2: Passengers who booked flight tickets any time prior of lockdown but the journey up to May 24 and cancelled due to Covid-19.
Category 3: Passengers who booked flight ticket anytime but for journey after May 24, 2020.
Refund rules for Category 1 passengers
For Category 1 passengers, the airline has to refund full amount collected without cancellation charges if the flyer seeks refund. The refund needs to be made within a period of three weeks, the DGCA circular reads.
If Category 1 passengers booked the flight tickets through a travel agent, airline must refund the money to travel agents and travel agents should immediately pass the money to the passengers.
If Category 1 passengers booked international flight tickets on an Indian carrier and the booking ex-India, the immediate refund should be made.
If Category 1 passengers booked international flight tickets on a foreign carrier and the booking is ex-India, then airline must refund the fare immediately.
Refund rules for Category 2 passengers
For category 2 passengers, the airlines must make “endeavours to refund the collected amount to the flyer within October 16. However, if airlines fail to do so owing to “financial distress”, they need to provide credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected in the name of the flyer when the booking is done either directly by the passenger or through travel agent so as to utilize the same on or before March 31, 2021. The flyer has the option to either utilize the credit shell up to March 31, 2021 on “any route” or transfer the credit shell to any person including the travel agent through whom she or he has booked the ticket and the airlines must honour such a transfer, as per DGCA circular.
If Category 2 passengers booked a ticket through travel agent and a credit shell has been issued in the name of the flyer, then the credit shell must be utilised only through the agent.
In all cases where credit shell has been issued for category 2 passengers, there should be an incentive to compensate the passenger from the date of cancellation up to June 30, 2020. The credit shell must be enhanced by 0.5 per cent of the amount of the fare collected for every month or part thereof between the date of cancellation and June 30, 2020. Thereafter the value of the credit shell must be enhanced by 0.75 per cent of the amount of fare collected per month up to March 31, 2021.
If the category 2 passengers booked international flight tickets on a foreign carrier and the booking is ex-India, then the airline must make full refund to the passenger within three weeks from the date of Judgement of the Supreme Court which is October 1. I tickets are booked via agents, then refund must be made to the agent and agent must transfer the refund amount to the passenger.
Refund rules for Category 3 passengers
For category 3 passengers, both domestic and international (where a booking is ex-India), a refund must be governed by the provisions of applicable Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), according to the DGCA circular.