Air-passengers around India may now heave a sigh of relief following the new price regulations by the civil aviation policy regarding ticket cancellations and refund processing charges. The price regulations that will be enforced from August 1 are among the many revisions and propositions in favour of air-passengers that were first brought up in June.
Under the new regulations, cancellation charges for domestic flights are not to exceed basic fare and fuel surcharge. Airlines have also been mandated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) to refund all statutory taxes and user development fee (UDF), airport development fee (ADF), or passenger service fee (PSF) to the passengers in case of “cancellation/non-utilisation of tickets or no show”. This provision shall be applicable for all types of fares, including promos or special fares where the basic fare is non-refundable.
As per the existing rules, carriers were required to refund onlythe PSF collected by them in the case of cancellation. Spicejet and Indigo have been charging a levy of Rs. 2,250 for any change or cancellation in booking for domestic flights, whereas Jet Airways charge anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,099 for booking changes and up toRs. 1,900 on refunds in case of cancellations. Indigo has also been chargingan additional Rs. 200 as refund processing fees for cancellations. All these charges are now to drop to the base fee and fuel surcharge with no additional costs being levied, much to the relief of fliers.Some airlines were also known to levy charges for correction of any error in the spelling of a passenger’s name when it was pointed out to them by the passenger after the booking. Such charges are also to be lifted.
The new rules state that the refund policy and amount are to be displayed clearly on the websites of respective airlines. Additionally, in thecase of cancellation of a ticket booked through travel agents or web portals, the responsibility for the refund is to be taken up by the airlines, unlike present times when in such cases the arrangement of the refund is to be sorted out on indefinite terms between the agent and the buyer. The refund is also to be completed strictly within 30 days of cancellation. Passengers will choose whether to keep the refund amount as credit with the company for future purposes.