TAAI APPEALS AIR INDIA FOR REFUNDS / RE-INSTATEMENT OF COMMISSION AND THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM FOR RECONSIDERING IMPORTANCE OF THE TRAVEL TRADE
In a letter addressed to Rajiv Bansal, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India, Jyoti Mayal President- TAAI (Travel Agents Association of India) highlighted the issues related to ticket refund and commission for agents. TAAI said certain requirements for refunds, including having a letter from the passenger concerned, should be withdrawn.
The letter is given in brief below:
Dear Mr Bansal,
We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of yourself along with all at Air India in working tirelessly, 24×7 for the safety of the Citizens of India and once again successfully conducting the ongoing Vande Bharat Mission of repatriation, from around the world to India. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU !
Flight operations have commenced from today. Passengers are shying away from making reservations on Air India, since no refunds have been processed by Air India during the lockdown period without waivers. Alternatively, time only upto 30th September 2020 has been given to rebook the tickets. Pax are demanding refunds since March-June is holiday period, vacation plans were done and now due to the pandemic they are scared to travel again until normalcy returns.
We seek your support on immediate concerns faced by member agents with regards to passengers not wanting to book Air India, which shall enable them to re-inforce their support in the National Carrier.
- Refund process on GDS for ease of doing business:
- Refunds process through RA on BSPlink was permitted by AI as per MoCA/ DGCA circular for tickets booked from 24th March to 3rd May for flights during the said period. However, for flights that did not operate due to the closure of the air transport upto 25th May must be considered with Zero Cancellation Penalty.
- Not all agents have the enhanced version of RA on their BSPlink. This comprises of over 65% of the agents since IATA BSP levies an additional charge. This too was enabled by IATA for all from 15th April upto 15th May only. Agent Members have applied their refunds on RA but have still not received the credits. This delay shall dither them from making fresh reservations.
Now with the re-commencement of flights we urge you to permit processing of refunds on the GDS itself so that refund process can become easier and faster.
- Refunds: Withdrawal of requirement for agents to process RA without attaching pax letter:
- Refund letter from passenger duly signed and
- Copy of Pax ID proof with signature to match with signature on above letter.
During these times of crisis and when offices are closed, it is difficult to obtain such letters from pax and forward to you. You shall appreciate that as a practice and with the conditions of IATA PSA agreement/s, our member agents, have always maintained the laws and not violated any directions of the airline. At no point has any airline/s, every taken such letters from their passengers who are booked through the travel agents.
- Commission to the Travel Agents: Today, the domestic skies have been opened for operations.
We would once again request you to re-instate our commissions @ 3% on the full fare, due to the minimum and maximum capping of airfares by MoCA.
TAAI and its members have always suppported Air India and in these difficult times, this shall reinforce our faith in the Government as well as in Air India – the National Carrier.
We look forward to your immediate action to our above appeals under notification to us.
Mayal, on behalf of TAAI, also wrote a letter to the Minister of Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel appealing for the much needed consideration for travel trade fraternity.
“Due to the global pandemic we have all come to a standstill. People are scared to step out of their houses, people are scared to travel. You are well aware that tourism activities within India will only commence from end of June. Thereafter, depending on the facilities and opening of domestic and international airspace that we shall see only a few tourist arrivals into India around September‘20. Our sector has been hit the most. Jobs are at stake. Zero revenues have been generated since mid of March and we do not foresee that to change until atleast end of July/August,” she highlighted and added, “We appeal to you to kindly look into our concerns not as a moratorium or support or a grant, but as an investment. We shall appreciate if you could work out some relief for our members, along with the Hon. Finance Minister Smt Sitharaman ji and also with some assistance from MoCA, by which they could survive and revive with their employees which shall ensure making India the most preferred and visited Tourism Destination of the World by 2021.”
She emphasised that the government needs to look into our ease of doing business and practices need to be put in place so correct measures are adopted in the industry. “Good governance will only boost, revive & re establish the industry and therefore, it’s high time that policymakers should react & act.”