Fliers will soon have a reason to smile as the revised norms that caps ticket cancellation charges and bars airlines from levying additional amount for refund process are coming into force from August 1. The move would come as a relief to air passengers against the backdrop of many carriers hiking the cancellation charges in recent times.
Besides, carriers would have to indicate in an “unambiguous manner” the amount of refund admissible on cancellation of a ticket. “Under no circumstances, the airline shall levy cancellation charge more than the basic fare plus fuel surcharge,” aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
Coming out with the fresh set of rules, the watchdog said carriers should refund all statutory taxes and User Development Fee (UDF)/Airport Development Fee (ADF)/Passenger Service Fee (PSF) to the passengers in case of “cancellation/ non-utilisation of tickets/no show”.
“This provision shall also be applicable for all types of fares offered including promos/special fares and where the basic fare is non-refundable,” the DGCA said.
The changes were first proposed by the Civil Aviation Ministry in June as part of putting in place passenger friendly measures. To ensure more transparency, carriers would be required to indicate the refund amount in case of ticket cancellations. The amount and its break-up may be indicated on the ticket itself or through separate form used for the purpose.
Also, the policy and amount of refund shall be displayed by the airlines on their respective websites, DGCA noted. Further, passengers can choose whether the refund money should be kept in the airline’s credit shell or not. “Airline shall not levy any additional charge for correction in name of the same person, when error in his name spelling is pointed out by the passenger to the airline after booking of his ticket,” the regulator said.
For tickets booked through travel agents or portal, the onus of refund would be on the airlines.
“In case of purchase of ticket through travel agent/ portal, onus of refund shall lie with the airlines, as agents are their appointed representatives. The airlines shall ensure that the refund process is completed within 30 working days,” the regulator said.
In the case of foreign carriers operating to and from India, the refund process would be in accordance with regulations of their country of origin.
The latest CAR prescribes minimum requirements for refund of ticket purchased by persons with respect to air transport undertakings including scheduled and non-scheduled domestic operators as well as foreign carriers operating to/from India.