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Open flight reservations after the call at closing: Minister of Aviation

NEW DELHI: Facing severe criticism from airlines that refuse to grant full refund of tickets to passengers whose flights were canceled during the closing period, the government asked carriers to accept reservations only when the decision has been made to resume operations.

Aviation Minister H S Puri tweeted: “The civil aviation ministry clarifies that so far no decision has been made to open national or international operations. Airlines are advised to open their reservations only after the government has made a decision about it. ”

The Puri directive came hours after Air India opened reservations for selected domestic flights from May 4 (the closure ends on May 3, unless extended again) and some internationals from June 1.

Saturday night’s directive is likely due to strong criticism of the ministry’s recent warning that proposed full refund of tickets only to those passengers who booked their flights during the first block period, but were unable to travel because the blockade was extended and their flights were suspended. cancelled.

Since people reserved in advance, this order meant that those who purchased tickets directly from airlines or through travel agencies / portals on or before March 24 to travel between March 25 and May 3 (the period of close for now) would not receive full refunds.

Airlines are offering two options to people whose flights have been canceled: hold money with airlines as a “shell” for future travel at any time up to one year; or face high cancellation charges if you insist on refunds.

Air India decided on April 3 to suspend bookings for all flights this month, as it said it will await a decision on whether or not to extend March 25 to April 14 (first phase of the block now).

“Airlines that withheld reservation amounts for flights canceled during the blockade or that reimbursed them after deducting an abrupt cancellation fee did not go down well with people. The government’s refusal to intervene until Thursday (when it issued the partial relief order), while AI stopped accepting reservations for this month, was being interpreted to help private airlines navigate through the severe corona storm which is proving deadly for most airlines. “A source from the travel industry said.

As of now there is no certainty that the extended lock will end on May 3. Furthermore, there is no certainty as to when international flights will begin to take off to and from different countries, as that will only happen when two countries agree to lift travel restrictions for each other’s citizens. In such a situation, airlines keeping their reservations open could have caused more problems for passengers if the flight they booked did not operate.

Times of India