Travellers seeking a refund of airline tickets for trips during the lockdown have reason to cheer as the Supreme Court today accepted all recommendations made by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with respect to the refunds for air tickets booked during the lockdown period.
The Supreme Court's judgment came on a plea filed by Pravasi Legal Cell who submitted that non-refund of the airfare was contrary to the rules and "in violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation."
The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has approved the recommendations and issued directions applicable to those passengers who booked air tickets during the lockdown period for travel during the same period (March 25, 2020 – May 24, 2020).
1. Passengers are entitled to a full refund of the airfare without any cancellation charges if they have booked and paid for a ticket—domestic or international travel—during the lockdown period for travel during the same period.
2. Passengers who have booked tickets for travel during the lockdown period through a travel agent will be entitled to a full refund. Airlines will refund the airfare to the agent, who will then pass it on to the passengers.
3. Passengers who booked tickets at any period of time but for travel after May 24, 2020 – refund of fares to the passengers covered under this category shall be governed by the provisions of CAR.
4. Passengers who booked tickets for international on an Indian carrier for departure from India, airlines are required to refund the airfare immediately.
5. If the tickets are booked for international travel on a foreign carrier and the booking is exIndia during the lockdown period for travel within the lockdown period, a full refund shall be given by the airlines and said amount shall be passed on immediately by the agent to the passengers, wherever such tickets are booked through agents. In all other cases, airlines shall refund the collected amount to the passenger within a period of three weeks.
6. In all other cases, the airlines shall make all endeavours to refund the collected amount to the passenger within 15 days from today. If on account of financial distress, any airline/airlines are not able to do so, they shall provide credit shell, equal to the amount of fare collected, in the passenger's name when the booking is done either directly by the passenger or through travel agent which is encashable on or before March 31, 2021. The passenger has the choice to either utilize such credit shell up to March 31, 2021, on any route of his choice or the passenger can transfer the credit shell to any person including the travel agent through whom he/she has booked the ticket and the airlines shall honour such a transfer.
7. In cases where passengers have purchased the ticket through an agent, and credit shell is issued in the passenger's name, such credit shell is to be utilized only through the agent who has booked the ticket. In cases where tickets are booked through an agent, credit shell as issued in the name of the passenger which is not utilized by March 31, 2021, a refund of the fare collected shall be made to the same account from which account amount was received by the airline.
8. In all cases where credit shell is issued there shall be an incentive to compensate the passenger from the date of cancellation June 30, 2020, in which event the credit shell shall be enhanced by 0.5% of the face value (the amount of fare collected) for every month or part thereof between the date of cancellation and June 20, 2020. Thereafter the value of the credit shell shall be enhanced by 0.75% of the face value per month up to March 31, 2021.
Updated On: 2020-10-05T16:29:11+05:30