About 90% of Indians want government policy on travel reservation cancellations during Covid, survey finds
New Delhi: According to a new survey, only 12-13% of people who canceled travel bookings due to the second wave of Covid-19 got timely refunds. According to the survey by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, 90% of those polled say they want the government to come up with a refund policy for trip cancellations for as long as the pandemic continues.
The sudden surge in Covid cases ahead of the second wave, which peaked in April and May this year, has forced many people to cancel their tickets and hotel stays. While some were able to recover a partial amount, others were advised to book flights and hotel stays at a later date as some travel agents (online and offline), airlines as well as the hotels did not initiate a refund.
This led the Ministry of Civil Aviation hold meetings in April with airline representatives, as a result of which some airlines waived change fees on domestic flights, while others offered free cancellation and rescheduling of flights.
The survey, released Monday, received more than 37,000 responses from people in 359 districts of India. Among them, 64 percent of the respondents were men while 36 percent were women. About 47% of the respondents were from Tier 1 cities, 30% from Tier 2 cities and 23% from Tier 3 and 4 cities and rural districts.
Only 12% received a full refund from airlines
Of the 8,713 respondents who spoke of the difficulties they faced in requesting reimbursement for their summer bookings, only 12% said âthe travel agent / airline accepted the cancellation and refunded the total amount “. Another 12% said ‘the travel agent / airline accepted the cancellation but refunded the partial amount’, while 32% of respondents said that ‘the travel agent / airline no ‘has not refunded anything and we have lost the amount of the ticket â.
Four percent said ‘the travel agent / airline accepted the cancellation and refunded a small amount’, but 24% said ‘the travel agent / airline did not refund anything but booked the ticket for a later date â. Sixteen percent of respondents had no opinion.
The survey noted that while some airlines claimed to have removed change fees on domestic flights, a few said they had offered free cancellation while the policies of two others were unclear for them. consumers.
Only 13% got a full refund from hotels
When asked how the cancellation and reimbursement of hotel stays went, only 13% of respondents said that “the travel agent / hotel accepted the cancellation and reimbursed The total amount”.
Forty-four percent said they lost the entire amount of the reservation, 17 percent said they received a partial refund, around 13 percent did not get a refund but booked their stay at a later date, while that 13 percent could not say.
This survey question received 8,594 responses.
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90% want a government policy on reimbursements
Another survey question asked citizens if the government should come up with a special policy that applies to airlines, railways, hotels and the like during the Covid-19 pandemic that allows for fair and faster reimbursements. in case of blockage.
Up to 90 percent of those polled said yes, while only three percent said “no”. Seven percent said they had no opinion. This survey question received 10,633 responses.
The survey also noted that citizens suggested that a policy could be put in place by the respective ministries under the 2005 Disaster Management Act.
Only 5% approve of existing refund policies
When asked what would constitute a fair and prompt refund if canceled due to Covid-19, 3% of those surveyed said there should be an “immediate refund with up to 50% of value deducted from processing fees “.
Twenty-one percent said there should be “refund within one week with up to 20% value deducted from processing fees,” and 30% said “refund within one week. months and up to 10% of the value deducted from the processing fees â.
Six percent wanted a “refund within 6 months and up to 5% value deducted from the processing fee,” while 21 percent of citizens said there should be “no refund but a voucher for the treatment. total amount to be used for future trips within 2 years “. Eight percent voted âother model,â and 7 percent had no opinion.
The survey noted that only five percent of citizens approve reimbursement policies for travel reservations (flight, train, hotel, etc.) during the pandemic while the majority want changes.
This survey question received 9,662 responses.
Taking note of the survey results, LocalCircles listed three best scenarios that could give people confidence that their losses will be limited in the event that they are faced with a situation where plans have to be canceled due to the pandemic: First , a refund within the week and 20 percent of the amount deducted as a processing fee. Second, a refund within one month and 10 percent of the amount deducted as a processing fee. Or third, no refund but a voucher for the full amount issued, valid for up to two years.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)
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