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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Airline Refunds Verdict: “There Are Certain Areas of Concern Which Have Not Been Clearly Documented,” Says TAFI

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We finally have a Judgement from the Supreme Court in the case filed by us for a refund of Air Tickets. We on behalf of our Member Agents had filed this case in the first week of May 2020, after getting no positive response from the Airlines for giving us our rightful refunds.

Our Legal team Ms. Neela Gokhale, had the fortune of opposing the “Who’s Who” of the legal fraternity-like Mr. Harish Salve, Mr. Arvind Datar, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, Mr. Tushar Mehta, and many more along with their teams.

The highlights of the Order : –

Source of BookingTicket Booking PeriodTravel PeriodCourts Order for Refund
Airline Direct25/03 – 24/05Lockdown3 Weeks from Date of Cancellation
Travel Agent25/03 – 24/05LockdownFull Refund Immediately
AnyAnyAfter 24/05CAR Rules

All other International Tickets, whether booked on Indian Carriers or International Carriers (Ex-India) booked during Lockdown either direct or through Travel Agent to be refunded within 3 Weeks in case of Direct or immediately in case booked through Travel Agent.

Further, in all other cases: Airlines are directed to refund the same within 15 Days from today. However, the court has considered the appeal of the Airlines who are in financial distress to give a Credit Shell in the name of the Passenger, which is transferrable. The Court has directed the airlines to give an incentive compensation of 6% upto 30th June 2020, and 9% upto 31st March 2021 for the delay in refunding. In case the Credit shells are not utilized by 31st March 2021, the Airlines have to refund the same to the same source it was booked through.

Our Concerns: –  

The First ask from TAFI had been for full immediate refunds, and our second request was to limit the deadline for utilization of Credit Shell at 31st December 2020.

However, we are happy that the Court has made the Credit Shells transferable and with a restriction of 31st March 2021. We are thankful to the Hon Supreme Court to Issue full refund for all tickets issued after 25th March 2020. A further incentive compensation to the customer is a reasonable penalty on the Airlines to take initiative to refund the money.

There are certain areas of concern that have not been clearly documented, for which TAFI will be approaching the DGCA for clarifications and further consultations.

Travel Agents still remain the major source of ticket bookings in India. We are a highly Skilled Industry without an Industry Status.

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