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Airline offers free rebooking of tickets

Rules revised amid travel disruptions

With widespread travel disruption sparked off by the global spread of the COVID-19, IndiGo Airlines on Saturday announced that it will allow all domestic and international passengers to rebook their flights for free, becoming the first Indian carrier to do so.

Also read | Coronavirus: March 7, 2020 updates | Full coverage

The relief is for existing bookings as well as any fresh bookings made for travel from March 12 to March 31, IndiGo said in a press statement.

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“We understand that some passengers are concerned about committing to travel, given the current coronavirus issue. To take this anxiety away and make their travel hassle-free, we are waiving our normal change fees on all travel during the next two weeks and for all new bookings made in that period,” Chief Commercial Officer of IndiGo, William Boulter said.

A spokesperson for Vistara told The Hindu that the airline was allowing free cancellation and change of date for domestic and international flights on a case-by-case basis.

Other Indian carriers — Air India, GoAir and AirAsia India — allow free cancellation only for flights cancelled by them such as those to Shanghai and Hong Kong. SpiceJet has also extended free cancellation to passengers booked to Riyadh and Jeddah for the purpose of pilgrimage to Mecca.

Emirates Airlines also announced a new waiver policy on Saturday, which will allow passengers to change their travel dates free of cost for tickets issued from March 7 to March 31. The airline says its customers will be able to rebook their travel date upto an 11 month date range.

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To assuage concerns over infection, Emirates said it was implementing “enhanced” disinfecting procedures for flights that return from COVID-19 hit regions. It added that if there was an instance of a suspect or confirmed case flying with the airline, it would conduct a deeper cleaning of all cabins and replace all HEPA filters on the aircraft.

The Lufthansa Group airlines, which include Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, will allow their passengers to postpone bookings until December 31. Passengers who already have a Lufthansa ticket can postpone bookings made before March 5 for travel upto April 30, and new bookings made between March 6-March 31 will be allowed to be amended.

Singapore Airlines, which has cancelled as many as 183 flights to and from Singapore to seven airports in India between March and April, has offered free cancellation and change fees for customers with tickets issued on or before March 3 for travel period between March 3 to April 30. The new travel date must commence on or before 31 August 2020, according to the airline''s website.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:43:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/airline-offers-free-rebooking-of-tickets/article31012576.ece

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