Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flyers can now get refund on all tickets

CHENNAI: Passengers used to lose money if they booked a non-refundable ticket online and then did not fly. Not anymore. Passengers can now cancel their non-refundable ticket till two hours before departure and get a refund of taxes, fuel surcharge, passenger service fee and user development fee.

This means a passenger stands to get back Rs 1,300 to Rs 3,800, depending on the distance and the ticket price. Fuel surcharge varies from Rs 1,000 for a short-haul domestic flight to Rs 3,500 for a long-haul flight. Low-cost carriers like Indigo, SpiceJet, Jet Konnect and Go Air charge Rs 229 passenger service fee and Rs 103 service tax.

Airlines decided to make the refund after discussions at the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council last month. Air Passengers Association of India has been demanding this. "This is a big relief for passengers, especially for those buying round trip tickets" said passengers association president D Sudhakara Reddy. "Those taking round trip tickets were losing money even if they missed only one leg of the journey."

Travel agents said that full service airlines have reduced the cancellation fee. "Air India now charges Rs 150 for cancellation of a domestic ticket. Jet Airways charges a flat rate of Rs 750 for the lowest fare," said Prema Radhakrishan of Emerald Airways.

Reddy said a working group on regulatory framework and the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council were able to address the long-pending issues such as lack of transparency in fares printed on ticket, high spot fares and appointment of ombudsman.

The working group also discussed the need to address high aviation turbine fuel taxes, airport charges, aeronautical navigational service charges and other costs that would increase fare levels.


NEHA JAIN                                                                                                                

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