TAAI wants airlines to open repatriation flight bookings to agents

The airlines, including the national airline Air India, retain the booking of repatriation flights directly on their website and do not allow agents to book these flights.
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The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has requested that airlines also open bookings for repatriation flights to IATA-accredited agents. The association raised the issue this week in a meeting with the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The airlines, including the national airline Air India, retain the booking of repatriation flights directly on their website and do not allow agents to book these flights.

Jyoti Mayal, President of TAAI asked,

“Air India started it, and now everybody else, Lufthansa, KLM, Swiss, Vistara, are doing business on their websites directly. We want them to open bookings to travel agents also. We have been helping them to sell their seats for ages. Why can’t they share the business with us?”

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When travel agency businesses are in deep crisis, TAAI also asked for 5% commission on such bookings to support the survival of the businesses.

TAAI also reiterated its call for international airlines to provide the government with a bank guarantee to protect business done by Indian agencies on behalf of international airlines in India.

Therefore, LCCs are required to refund advance money to the travel agent’s bank and all refunded ticket refunds and credits will be credited to the travel agent’s account for future use by travelers or industries, and airlines will be instructed to make all refunds for bookings by 31 May be processed without cancellation fee.

When asked for her comment on TAAI’s stand on other trade associations approaching the Supreme Court on the refund issue, Mayal said that they are trying to negotiate the issues with the government and resolve it. She said that it is an unusual situation in the whole industry, and even the government cannot dictate terms to airlines at this stage. Mayal said that their negotiations have started showing results as airlines like IndiGo, Air Asia and GoAir have started refunding money into agents e-wallets.

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While accepting the fact that the process is slow and the government is taking a lot of time, Mayal said that nobody can predict how much time courts will take to resolve the matter. “Similar situations can crop up in future as well. We want our members and their businesses to be protected as per the law of the land,” she said.

(Source – ET Travel)


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