Air India’s new CoVid-19 waiver policy for tickets impacted due to CoVid-19

Various airlines have been impacted differently due to CoronaVirus. Some airlines have been able to operate a minimal schedule, such as Qatar Airways. Others such as Indian airlines were all asked to shut their operations and stay home for about two months. Even now, they can’t operate scheduled international services, and they can only run only one-third of their scheduled domestic operations.

While other airlines have different policies to help passengers who were impacted by ticket cancellations, Air India had already implemented some good policies for the domestic passengers of Air India. Like I wrote here about a month ago,

On resumption of select Domestic Flights passengers holding AI tickets with travel dates between 23.03.20 to 24.05.20 can book in available flights for the period 25th May 2020 till 24 August 2020 at NO EXTRA COST.

Air India will now keep your tickets valid till December 2021

Air India will now honour any tickets booked for travel March 15 onwards for re-booking and travel through December 2021.

Domestic Tickets

Passengers holding Air India issued tickets (tickets starting with 098) and have had their flights cancelled or were not allowed to travel on the flight owing to changed entry restrictions due to CoVid-19 from March 15 till August 24, 2020, can avail the following options.

  • New Travel Validity: All tickets irrespective of their date of purchase will be considered valid till December 31, 2021, regardless of their current validity and ticket type. This means the value of the ticket will be fully protected. The booking must be made before December 31, 2021, and journey to be completed latest by December 31, 2021.
  • Waiver: You can do one free change (Date/Flight/Routing/Booking Code) will be allowed, including change of routing.
    • If the same fare class is available, you won’t have to pay any fare difference. For instance, if a BOM-LHR ticket booked in W class earlier cost you INR 35,000 and is now showing up as for INR 45,000, you won’t have to pay the fare difference as long as it is still in W class. The applicable fare difference will be charged in case of fare in other RBD (other than lower or same RBD) is higher. For instance, if you earlier booked ticket in W class and now get it in Y (which is a higher fare class), you will need to make good the difference between W and Y fare classes.
    • If you want to change your ticket to another route, you can use the value of your old ticket towards a new ticket. For instance, if you booked a BOM-LHR ticket but now want to use the earlier paid money towards BOM-SIN, you can use the same amount towards the new ticket. If the fare is lower, you won’t be refunded. But if the fare is higher, you will have to pay the difference.

Here is the official statement from Air India on this new domestic policy.

International Tickets

Passengers holding Air India issued tickets (tickets starting with 098) and have had their flights cancelled or were not allowed to travel on the flight owing to changed entry restrictions due to CoVid-19 from March 15 till July 31, 2020, can avail the following options.

  • New Travel Validity: All tickets irrespective of their date of purchase will be considered valid till December 31, 2021, regardless of their current validity and ticket type. This means the value of the ticket will be fully protected. The booking must be made before December 31, 2021, and journey to be completed latest by December 31, 2021.
  • Waiver: You can do one free change (Date/Flight/Routing/Booking Code) will be allowed, including change of routing.
    • For travel till August 24, 2020, for date and flight change, no change fee will be collected irrespective of the new booking code in the same cabin. Which means if you were previously booked, for example, in a very low fare class (RBD) ticket, and now the new flight you want only has a class (RBD) ticket available, you can get the new ticket for no charges to you.
    • After August 24, 2020, if the same fare class is available, you won’t have to pay any fare difference. For instance, if a BOM-DEL ticket booked in E class earlier cost you INR 3,500 and is now showing up as for INR 4,500, you won’t have to pay the fare difference as long as it is still in E class. After August 24, the applicable fare difference will be charged in case of fare in other RBD (other than lower or same RBD) is higher. For instance, if you earlier booked ticket in E class and now get it in Y (which is a higher fare class), you will need to make good the difference between E and Y fare classes.
    • If you want to change your ticket to another route, you can use the value of your old ticket towards a new ticket. For instance, if you booked a BOM-DEL ticket but now want to use the earlier paid money towards BOM-BLR, you can use the same amount towards the new ticket. If the fare is lower, you won’t be refunded. But if the fare is higher, you will have to pay the difference.

Here is the official statement from Air India on this new international policy.

Bottomline

From amongst the Indian carriers, Air India has some of the most liberal and customer-friendly policies at the moment. Unlike some of the other airlines, at least, the domestic flights can be swapped if cancelled for free till August, and you get the full value adjusted after that date. I wish the other carriers would follow the lead of Air India and at least not charge a fare difference for customers where they are flying on the same route, even if months later.

What do you think of Air India’s new waiver policy for domestic and international travel?


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Comments

  1. Airlines must refund the amount of canceled international flight tickets. As many persons are not able to use the flights as the usa has issued orders for not allowing many persons in absence of visa stamping. Some people has gone back in special flights paying heavy fares.
    So airindia must allow persons to get refund of tickets who are interested in doing so

  2. Typical. In denial. LOL. Sad Indians. Any wonder 270,000,000 live in poverty. Give me back my money Air India, thieving bastards

  3. I want my money back. I was cancelled March 17, applied for refund March 20 and am still waiting for them to even reply. I am not going to India LOL in the foreseeable future so I don’t want them offering me new tickets or vouchers. I want my money back. That’s all Air India. I’m sick of chasing them up. Like most business in India, once the greedy Indians get your money, they are never going to give it back. So not as user friendly as this Indian written article makes it seem. Especially for foreigners. Dare I say the R word?

    • @Robbo, the R word is “Robbo”. There I said it. And let’s talk about the greedy United which had to be forced by DoT to toe their line. This “greedy Indian” bullshit needs to be taken elsewhere.

      • Typical, Indians in denial. LOL. Any wonder 270,000,000 live in extreme and abject poverty. Are you people in denial of that too? Give me back my money Air India. Do it you thieving bastards

  4. At a time when other airlines are resorting to extremely greedy / avaricious practices (I am looking at you GoAir), AI seems to be the only airline who seems to be actually caring for travelling passengers properly.

    Previously when travelling from BOM-BLR, my Air Asia flight was constantly getting cancelled and I had to reschedule that to some date in September.

    Regarding GoAir, on the travel agency websites, they are putting their flights for sale, only to then cancel those flights and force the customers to pay for a fare difference and select a new date, only for the new flight to get cancelled again and the cycle continues.

    Air India meanwhile, they did not have any direct BOM-BLR flights so had taken a connecting flight via DEL.

    Both flights were operating properly and I reached my destination.

    It’s funny, that during normal times, we often complain about Air India being incompetent (and there is merit in this).

    But during the times of national crisis, they somehow managed to get their act together and perform wonderfully.

    My opinion of AI during these times has only got better after this episode.

  5. Any idea about rewards ticket for domestic travel? Had one for April but niether the miles have been credited nor I am able to reach them.

    Hope same rules apply there too 🙂

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