According to the latest reports, a few airlines have started taking passenger bookings for domestic travel from June, with commercial flight services remaining on hold until May 31 (lockdown 4.0). All commercial flight activities in the country were suspended in March, when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Since then, the lockdown has steadily increased and flight services have been postponed in a synchronized fashion.
However, according to the sources, some domestic airlines opened bookings from June. IndiGo and Vistara, the sources say, are taking reservations for domestic flights while SpiceJet said in a statement: “Our international reservations are closed until June 15.”
However, no official statement has been released by Vistara or IndiGo on the start of bookings. Prior to that, Air India had said it would only resume domestic flights once the Union government cleared it. The government-run airline has also asked people to follow the Twitter accounts of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India to keep abreast of the resumption of commercial flight services.
On Monday, Sudhakara Reddy, national president of the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), called on people not to fall for the airline claims. He said: “We understand that 6E (IndiGo), SpiceJet, GoAir hv have started taking reservations for international flights, imagining that flights will operate from June 1. Don’t fall for it. Your money will become one. credit shell, rather keep it safe at home ”
We understand that 6E, Spicejet, GoAir hv have started taking reservations for international flights, imagining that the flights will operate from June 1. Pl do not fall for it. Your money will become a shell of credit, rather keep it safe at home.
– Sudhakara Reddy (@presidentapai) May 18, 2020
Shortly after his post, the nationwide lockdown was extended until May 31, and all scheduled commercial flights were again suspended until the 4.0 lockdown period.
The new advice
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has now asked domestic airlines to fully reimburse customers who wish to cancel their reservations for this period. A notice was posted after passengers began complaining on social media platforms that domestic carriers were not refunding cash for flights canceled due to the lockdown, but were issuing credit shells for future travel.
The ministry later had to intervene and a notice was issued that any airfare booked between the lockdown period of March 25 and May 3 is entitled to a full refund with no cancellation fees.