Lower Airline Cancellation Fees & Rescheduling Fees - Petition to make it fair
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The Airline Operators in India charge a cancellation/re-scheduling fee of Rs.2000 - Rs. 3250 which varies from carrier to carrier. The same is exorbitant and unreasonable especially when the request is made within an hour of the Ticket booking. Any charge levied by any company, should be commensurate to the service provided. By the same logic, a cancellation fee should be levied for either a service provided or due to the opportunity cost, which in the above case cannot be considered since the ticket that was booked a few minutes ago - if cancelled or rescheduled - has no opportunity cost for the airline and neither does the passenger get any service from the service provider! The Airline Industry should benchmark with the Bus Operators and Railways and adopt best practices where the costs are indexed to the cost of the Railway ticket or the Bus ticket.
In a booking that we made on 09th Sep 18, for Departure 26th Sep 18 and Return 3rd Oct 18, the tickets To and From points got exchanged during booking due to a human error. The scenario mentioned above played out, despite reaching out to the call center immediately within 30 Mins, writing an email with all details within 2hours, giving all reasons and details, and escalating the concerns at several levels Nodal / Appellate within the Airline. They did not even care to consider the case or resolve this. The best they could come up with was,
"Thank you for further email regarding additional request for a waiver of rebooking charges for PNR# XXXXXX & XXXXXX. We would state that the issues raised in your emails have been addressed appropriately and have nothing further to add."
Would it have costed them anything to Swap the Destinations? The ticket costed Rs. 4773 and the change fee they were asking for Rs. 4500. Is it fair? Can we together break this extortion by the Airline operators and ask them to change policies to something fair? Maybe a time-based cancellation fee equal to a percentage of the ticket base fare.
Disclaimer: Although, I have suffered while this was playing out. I have nothing personal about this petition, but I feel, this one change will lead to a positive impact on 1 Billion Indians enabling more to dream, more to fly. A Rs. 4500 change fee isn't the driver for me but the fact that we are being extorted for cancellation is unfair and the fight is for that larger cause.
Building the Case
A passenger may cancel or re-schedule a ticket only in case of
1. Genuine Error while booking (Name Spelling Incorrect /Gender Incorrect/Destination Incorrect / Dates Incorrect/Boarding Incorrect)
2. Change in Plan due to factors beyond the control of the passenger
3. Change in Plan due to factor in control of the passengers
In any scenario, the cancellation should be the right of the passenger, and he/she shouldn't be punished and made to feel like a criminal for the same.
The Hon' Ministry of Civil Aviation is taking so many diligent steps to drive the Aviation Sector in India, from the Udaan Scheme, building 100 + Airports in India, Improving facilities for the Airlines and the Passengers. A small step in this direction will allow more of the India's middle class to access the comfort of airlines. The mental agony and stress to get a ticket changed or cancelled should be eliminated, and it should become a simple, transparent and convenient process. If you have ever booked a ticket incorrectly, you will know the impact it has on your self-confidence for the next few days, even if the amount is paltry as every rupee counts for all of us Indians.
Let me say it again, your support to make this one change will lead to a Billion Indians to dream more, fly more!
Recommendation on cancellation charges from Booking Time of Ticket:
- Change within 2 Hours: 0% of Ticket Base Fare
- Change within 24 Hours (At least 14 Days before Flight Departure): 5% of Ticket Base Fare
- Change within 24 (At least 7 Days before Flight Departure): 25% of Ticket Base Fare
- Change post 24 Hours but at least 5 Days before Flight Departure: 50% of Ticket Base Fare
- Change less than 5 Days from Flight Departure: 75% of Ticket Base Fare
- Change less than 1 Day from Flight Departure: 100% of Ticket Full Fare
For Scenarios 1 and 2, the Airlines must have a trained customer care channel to approve Cancellation fees if they are convinced that the reasons are genuine. Once approved by the customer care personnel - the Nodal officer can review and approve refund.
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