The Pune airport was closed at the end of this month and as a result many pilots were in trouble as flights were canceled, with many of them complaining of difficulties in withdrawing money from airlines or changing bookings.
Many customers pointed out that it took several hours to reach customer care taxes, but airlines did not come forward to provide an alternative travel date and warned that they would be charged a ‘cancellation fee’ if they received a refund.
In many cases, customers who have booked to travel during the closed period of October 16-30 are still waiting for the airline’s contact. Some have tried to raise the issue on social media sites.
Kanish Dagar, a student, posted his predicament on social media and accused the airline of harassing him without re-planning his flight or giving him a full refund. “I am a student. I had to get a full refund or a free reschedule because the Pune airport was closed. I was denied both. I was told that the refurbishment would come at a cost,” Dagar wrote.
Sachin Almal, who had three Pune-Delhi bookings with SpiceJet for October 16, said he continued to call the helpline in the hope that the trip could be rescheduled for October 15, but could not. When he posted the issue on social media, the airline said they were dealing with phone calls and he should keep trying. “Later, the airline modified the aircraft at my request,” he said.
Even two days after the strike was announced, many airlines continued to tell anxious passengers that “their services are working”, which added to the frustration.
Pune-based entrepreneur Kouri Pokhari has booked her husband to fly to Delhi on October 19 and return to Pune on a Vistara flight on October 29. After we found out about the airport closure on Tuesday, I tried to contact the airline to change the booking or get a refund. I kept calling, but I could not reach it. I sent them messages on Twitter saying that the service was still in operation. It happened two days after it was officially closed, ”Pokhari said.
Meanwhile, the family decided to book a trip via Mumbai twice as much as they had booked. On Friday, Pokhari finally approached the Vistara helpline. “They gave me unconventional redesign options and when I tried to get a refund I was told that they would deduct the cancellation fee. It was not obvious that they were the ones who canceled the booking. They sent me a message asking for an explanation as to why the options could not be accepted, ”Pokhari said.
Fun Holidays owner Varun Pandya said there was no information yet about the closure of the airlines. “We have booked a number of customers during the shutdown. So far, all the airlines have confirmed bookings. If we go to cancel, we have to pay the fee. To get a refund, we have to wait until the airline announces that the flight has been canceled,” Pandya said.
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Nilesh Bhansali, director of the Travel Agents Association of Pune, said the sudden announcement came as a shock to tourism companies. Businesses have been hit hard for the past year and a half due to epidemics and are slowly coming back.
Referring to tourists who have booked trips to destinations including Kashmir, Coorg and Jaipur, Bhansali said, “People are on very tight budgets due to adverse effects on income.” The tourism budget is rising significantly. Customers are also in a difficult situation because if they cancel the tour, they will lose the money spent on hotel bookings, ”said Bhansali.
“We work with minimal staff and restructuring and refunds translate into extra pay service that should be provided to our customers,” Bhansali said, stressing that better communication with the Air Force and Airports Authority of India may have saved them from this problem. .