MIAL (Representative Image)
As coronavirus fears intensify across the globe, travellers have been forced to reschedule their travel plans.
To help cushion the blow, airlines have started to offer various waivers.
While the gesture is welcome, some airlines may have done a better job than others when it comes to making the waivers generous.
GoAir has been among the most generous, and for once the promotion may have been aptly called 'power of freedom'. The offer, for travel between March 8 to September 30, lets passengers to book and reschedule a ticket with no cancellation or re-booking fees.
A few details to be mindful of - the offer is for bookings made between March 8 and April 30; the waiver will be applicable till 14 days before departure; and while rescheduling a flight, the passenger will have to pay extra if there is a difference in the fare.
The airline's offer is similar to what Qatar Airways had made earlier to its customers, who can make changes until three days prior to travel. But here, the offer is for travel till June 30.
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As Ajay Ajay Awtaney, editor of Indian aviation website, http://livefromalounge.com, says in his blog, 'GoAir wants to ensure that its forward bookings don't suffer'.
IndiGo's offer lasts from March 12 to March 31, for both existing and new bookings. SpiceJet's offer too has the same validity.
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"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," said William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo, in a statement on March 7.
Vistara, the joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has waived cancellation and rescheduling charges for bookings made on or before March 1.
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Air India, which got accolades for evacuating stranded Indians from virus-hit China, hasn't made any announcements on the booking front.
The virus, which has killed 3,800 people, has hit global aviation severely, with scores of airlines truncating operations and some have been forced to ground half of their fleet. While industry association IATA has estimated losses at up to $113 billion, there are fears that some airlines may go belly up. In fact, UK's Flybe has collapsed.
Nearly all airlines have offered to waive cancellation and rescheduling charges. Among the most generous is United Airlines, the American behemoth. The airline allows passengers to change bookings for the next 12 months.
Can an Indian airline match that?