The second phase of the lockdown has been ordered again due to its implementation by May 3. However, many airlines started booking tickets after April 14 and are no longer willing to refund customers’ money. They are getting a lot of troubles from the agents. Agents say many customers have gone to the police with complaints.
On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi announced that the lockdown in the country would be carried out by May 3 to control the corona. Therefore, commercial passenger aviation services in the country are also being banned. The airlines had earlier allowed customers to book tickets on changed dates instead of refunding the amount of tickets booked for the period March 25 to April 14.
Moreover, most of the airlines, except Air India, continued booking domestic flights for the period after April 14. But even now the airlines are not willing to repay the money and are now opting to travel further. For this, they are offering credit shells on which passengers will be able to travel after the lockdown opens.
They are getting a lot of issues from travel agents. According to an estimate, the airlines have a similar turnover of about Rs 8,000 crore. Airlines are already facing cash shortages, so they don’t seem willing to withdraw money from their pockets. On the advice of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), they have taken the easy route to convert cancel tickets into credit shells.
Jyoti Mayal, president of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said, “The customer stands on our head demanding refund of his money. If we give them credit shells, they don’t trust when and how they’ll be able to use it. In Punjab and several southern states, customers have gone to the police and complained. We have already burned our hands in cases like Kingfisher and Jet. We don’t want to take any problems again. We need cash back into our system,” said the organization, which includes 2700 agents across the country, including big players like Make My Trip.
What is Credit Shell
In fact, the credit shell means a note from the airlines for cancellation tickets that customers will be able to make a further booking. That means their money will be deposited with the airlines and they will be able to book tickets further, but they will not get the money back.
Travel agents say they or their customers have given the airlines full money cash so they should also refund the cash, what it means to give credit shells.
What the DGCA said
After the Prime Minister’s announcement on Tuesday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also notified that all international and domestic flights remain nonoperational till May 3. “As per the orders received from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, all flights will remain nonoperational in the country till May 3, 2020,” the DGCA said.
Gracia is a senior writer at Get Ignite, where she covers media and advertising and co-hosts the Original Content podcast. Previously, she worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, and a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance. She attended Stanford University and now lives in Brooklyn.