Airlines told to make ticket refunds in 30 days and with minimum deductions

Civil aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked airlines to refund all statutory taxes and User Development Fee, Airport Development Fee and Passenger Service Fee in case of cancellation / non-utilisation of a ticket or a no-show.

Also, airlines cannot levy cancellation charges, which are more than the basic fare and fuel surcharge.

Beginning 1 August, airlines will have to make refunds of ticket money within 30 days even if the ticket has been purchased from a travel agent or portal.

Airlines have also been directed not to levy any additional charge for correcting the name when an error in spelling is pointed out by a passenger after booking a ticket.

DGCA directions to airlines follow large number of customer complaints about delays in refund of unused tickets and huge deductions on the refund amount, through adjusting money against tickets to be later purchased by a passenger.

The DGCA order said the new rules will be applicable to all types of fares, including promotional and special and where the basic fare is non-refundable. ''The option of holding the refund amount in a credit shell by an airline shall be the prerogative of the passenger and not a default practice of the airline,'' the DGCA order says.

Also, the rule that in the case of credit-card payments, airlines have to refund the amount within seven days of cancellation remains while for cash transactions, the refunds will have to be made immediately and not later than 30 days.

The DGCA order will apply to scheduled domestic, non-scheduled operators while foreign carriers operating to and from India shall refund the tickets in accordance with regulations of their country of origin.