Joy of Flying comes crashing, but staffers still keep their cool

Testing times: Passengers queue up outside the counters of Jet Airways at the international airport on Thursday.

Testing times: Passengers queue up outside the counters of Jet Airways at the international airport on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PUNIT PARANJPE

At international airport, passengers queue up for refunds

The departure area at Terminal 2 at the country’s second busiest airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, wore a deserted look on Thursday after Jet Airways temporarily halted operations on Wednesday night.

Passengers queued up at the airline counter for refunds of cancelled flights, and airline officials were doing their best to pacify harried customers. While passengers were assured of full refunds, the doubts remained: would they actually receive their money, and if so, by when?

“The airline has promised a full refund of our ticket money but I do not know if we will ever get the money back,” said Abbas Ali, who was travelling to Lucknow by a Jet Airways flight. Mr. Ali missed a wedding in his family due to the Jet crisis.

While the refund is one issue, getting a seat in another airline is proving to be more difficult. A ticket to Lucknow, for instance, costs around ₹39,000. “Not only are all the flights fully booked, but they are also very expensive as they have to be booked on short notice,” said Mr. Ali.

Similarly, Dr. Jasmine was to travel back to London with her husband, as his holidays had ended. But for them, finding a direct flight or one with a layover was proving to be tough. The developments have not affected some of Jet’s codeshare flights. Shilpa Sagar’s daughter was to fly to Mumbai from Boston via London. While her flight from Boston to London by Delta is cleared, she will face an issue travelling from London to Mumbai. Ms. Sagar is looking for another flight for her daughter.

Ankita Rijhsinghani, a travel agent, suggested people approach agents for help with refunds. “With the help of the Billing and Settlement Plan provided by the International Air Travel Association, the money can be given by the airline to the travel agencies, but again this is a dicey situation considering the company is not able to pay,” she said. Another passenger, who referred to himself only as Vishnu, was worried about whether his money would be returned on time by his travel agent in England.

To their credit, the employees manning the airline’s counters kept their cool, despite being bombarded by questions and grievances. A passenger at the counter said, “The staff should conduct themselves with dignity because what they do today will determine how customers look at them when the airline revives.”

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 10:57:39 PM |

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