Many people who reached airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and other cities were met with the news that their flight was cancelled due to ‘operational reasons’.

Passengers observing physical distancing at Ranchi aiportImage: PTI
Money Coronavirus Monday, May 25, 2020 - 13:50

Domestic flights resumed in several states after two months on Monday, but several passengers were left high and dry with scores of flights in various cities being cancelled. Over 80 flights were reportedly cancelled in Delhi alone.

An IndiGo flight, which was supposed to take off from Bengaluru at 12.40 am to Delhi was the first flight to be cancelled. While some passengers received a message that their flight was cancelled, several passengers only found out after they reached the airport. 

Many people who reached airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and other cities were met with the news that their flight was cancelled due to ‘operational reasons’.  

According to what some airport and airline officials told TNM, the cancellations were mainly due to the cap put by state governments on the number of flights.

The cancellations were across airlines.

Airline mentions on Twitter were filled with complaints about cancellations, lack of refunds or not being able to reuse their credit shell for the next booking.

“I booked my parents on HYD-DEL AI543 flight today, scheduled for 11:10 AM > Reached airport and manager said its cancelled, call customer care and reschedule > Calling since last 1 hour with no response,” one person tweeted.

“This is not at all acceptable, I been calling customer service almost post 1:10 minutes wait call get connected and I got clarification no changes on flight schedules, suddenly almost I reached airport then got confirmation flight got cancelled (sic),” tweeted another passenger who was supposed to fly with IndiGo from Bengaluru to Visakhapatnam.

On Sunday evening, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that after a ‘long day of hard negotiations’ with various state governments to recommence civil aviation operations in the country, all states except Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal will resume domestic flight services on Monday.

However, several major airports such as Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad are only allowing a bare minimum number of flights to take off and land. While Mumbai airport will only be allowing 25 take-offs and 25 landings, Hyderabad will resume services with 15 arrivals and 15 departures.

Read: All you need to know if taking a flight in India

In Chennai, there will be a maximum of 25 arrivals a day, while there's no limit on the number of departures. For other airports in the state, flights will operate as in other parts of the country.

After state governments came out with their own set of guidelines and restrictions, passengers who had booked for flights from Andhra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and other intra-metro route segments for May 25, rushed to cancel their tickets, IANS reported.

Notably impacted was the Delhi-Mumbai route, followed by flights to Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Industry insiders pointed out that a majority of bookings received were for flights between metro cities due to pent-up demand, but now with limited operations and quarantine norms, a large number of queries about travel guidelines and quarantine norms have been received from passengers travelling to these cities.

Even airline executives were left confused as different states came out with different norms for accepting flights, thereby distorting their network planning.

Another daunting confusion was over the quarantine norm which many states said they will enforce on air travellers.

Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-Founder, ixigo, said: "There is some apprehension amongst travellers with the constantly evolving state-specific quarantine protocols."

"There might be a slight increase in cancellation or reschedule requests from travellers in the coming few days specifically for states that are not allowing air travel to resume starting tomorrow. We hope the state governments can take a more pragmatic and compassionate view of the situation given a vast majority of bookers are going back to their homes or travelling for essential or emergency reasons."

With IANS inputs

Also read: Flying to TN from other states? 14-day home/institutional quarantine, pass must

Karnataka says 7-day institutional quarantine for those flying from 7 states

Thermal scanning to contactless boarding: Hyderabad airport all set to resume ops

Kerala govt releases guidelines for domestic flight passengers: Details

Domestic flights in Andhra to resume only on Tuesday

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