Airlines, OTAs blame each other for botched ticket refund process
Refund requests and customer complaints to airlines and online travel agencies (OTAs) are rising in the lockdown with both parties blaming each other for the botched refund process that has seen thousands of customers caught in a limbo between the online agency and airlines.

Industry and airline sources familiar with matters said while they were already seeing cancellations prior to the lockdown, ₹180 crore of airline tickets were booked during March 25-May 3 across all private carriers, with Indigo accounting for an estimated ₹90-95 crore.

Angry customers are blaming both airlines and OTAs. “We are processing refunds as per the policies defined by the airlines,” said Dhruv Shringi, CEO, Yatra.com.

Airlines, OTAs blame each other for botched ticket refund process
A spokesperson said MakeMyTrip is seamlessly passing on refunds to customers as as it receives them from airlines.

“Airlines have created all the confusion,” said Kapil Goswamy, managing director of Bigbreaks.com. “They have been changing their policies and have adopted different modes. If agents have not got the money back from airlines in their wallets how do they refund?”

Nishant Pitti, CEO, EaseMyTrip, said more than 90% of airline tickets are sold through travel agents so the entire burden has been passed on to them.

A pointed query on the value of tickets booked during the lockdown did not elicit any response for airlines.

“The amount is being returned according to the DGCA order but everyone needs to understand that airlines are struggling with cash as they are not operating flights,” said an airline executive, who did not want to be identified.

IndiGo said it is offering cash refunds for the period as per DGCA guidelines, while SpiceJet said it has fully complied with the DGCA directive dated April 16. GoAir did not reply to the mail till press time Sunday, while an AirAsia India spokesperson declined to comment.

A spokesperson said Vistara is processing full refunds on request at zero cancellation charges as per the DGCA circular.





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