GoFirst pauses on move to stop issuing refunds

The effect of the Omicron variant is showing up all around in the aviation world, with traffic having dipped by leaps and bounds over the past fortnight after touching new highs over the New Year 2022 period. And one airline is already preparing for the long winter that may or may not be ahead.

Go First will no longer issue ticket refunds, only credit shells

Among the airlines already suffering financially pre-pandemic, Go First was one somewhere high up there. They have become very unreliable with schedules to cut their losses, with cancellations mounting up. However, now there is a new move that will rustle many passengers’ feathers.

In a trade circular sent out to trade partners on January 18, 2022, GoFirst advised that they won’t be providing full refunds to passengers booked on a flight that the airline cancelled. Instead, they will give them credit shells. Here is the note issued by Go First that was sent to me by many members of the travel fraternity.

As you can read, Go First says,

All cancelled/re-scheduled and protected passengers wishing to avail of a full refund will be offered a credit shell only, for the same amount, valid up to one year.

Those whose flights are cancelled or rescheduled will now be offered one free change on the ticket, that too for the date/time, not even the sector. The Go First memo says:

All cancelled/re-scheduled and protected passengers wishing to avail further changes in their itineraries will be offered:

  • Involuntary re-accommodation – only GO FIRST initiated changes will be accepted
  • Passenger initiated changes only with regards to the flight timings (and not sector change), will be offered FOC one time as per the existing policy

In a nutshell, while Go First is offering promotional fares with free seat assignments and sandwiches thrown in to compete with the full-service brigade, their inability to refund tickets when they can’t operate flights does not paint them in good light. I also fear another airline will soon join this brigade, which is not in great health again. If you haven’t booked a ticket yet, it would be better to pick a financially strong carrier for your travel in the coming days.

Update: GoFirst subsequently revoked the circular. Make what you will of this move.

Bottomline

Go First Airways is discontinuing, hopefully temporarily, the ability for you to refund your tickets when the airline will no longer be able to operate their flights on time and they will either cancel the flight and put you on another flight, or they will ask you to fly the same sector on a different day.

Update: Go First subsequently cancelled its own move, but this should be a sign of things to come, so choose your airline wisely when you make your next plan.

Has anyone already encountered this change in Policy from Go First, and what did Go First tell you?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. Ajay, I did experience the pathetic planning/ scheduling of GoAir recently. The flight on the Nagpur-Mumbai sector was cancelled multiple times, once within 24 hours of the flight (after I had completed the web-checkin process). I understand these are challenging times, but with Indigo, I had an experience that was much more professional.

    I have already booked flights for my summer vacation and these are Vistara (4) and Air India (1). The sixth flight had to be GoFirst because it suited my connecting Vistara flight. I kept thinking for 2 days and finally booked the flight and am still thinking 🙁 even a week after booking.

    Based on what you’ve heard/ experienced, is GoFirst slightly better on the Srinagar/Leh sector in terms of punctuality and cancellations?

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