DGCA Probes Costly Air Ticket Cancellations

Saturday, 16th May 2015 at 06:06am

Frustrated about costly air ticket cancellations, a group representing passengers and flyers have vent their frustration to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

M Sathiyavathy, current DGCA head is conducting a probe on the issue. The office civil aviation official admitted to have received a lot of complaints about steep cancellation charges being charged by some of the country's airlines.

According to some reports, passengers who have opted to cancel booked flights may have to pay up to Rs 4,000.

Meanwhile, one of top officials of Air India denied any increase in cancellation fees, citing that the the airline has not implemented any increase for years. Cancellation fees, according to the official remains unchanged at Rs 1,000 up.

Indiver Rastogi, COO of Thomas Cook India Ltd noted that during lean months airlines have offered big discounts on air fares however, a good number of airline companies also hiked cancellation fees by as much as 100%.

Cancellation fees have risen to Rs 1,500 to RS 2,250 from a mere Rs 750 sometime in 2014. For some airlines, income from cancellation charges have become a reliable source of revenue.

Rastogi said that cancellation fees comprise up to 17% of the total transaction. This, he said, is a big burden to a traveler opting to cancel a ticket.

Apart from cancellation fees, passengers are likewise frustrated with some airline companies who charge extras on choice airline seats. For instance, seats located beside windows, or situated along the aisle are priced at Rs 200 up to Rs 600.

Passengers traveling as a group and prefer to be seated together will have to pay more just to get the preferred seats.

However, the same officer from Air India said that at the time of booking, passengers aren't charged with extra fees if they want a particular airline seat, whether it's beside the window or along the aisle.

Meanwhile, IndiGo airline's representative informed that previously, cancellation fee was fixed at Rs 1,500. Right now, it ranges from a low of Rs 1,250 to a high of Rs 2,250, depending on how early the passenger has applied for cancellation.

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