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.
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,— satish (@satishu8_satish) May 25, 2020
Absolutely horrible from @airindiain. They told me the flight has been cancelled after I reached the airport saying that we can only notify 2 hours before the take off. How does this make sense when government is asking us to reach the airport 2 hours in advance?— Neelabh Pandey (@NeelabhPandey19) May 25, 2020
We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused. The cap on no. of arriving flights will have an impact on departures. However, the situation is expected to improve in coming days.— Chennai (MAA) Airport (@aaichnairport) May 24, 2020
I booked a @IndiGo6E flight from HYD to IDR for 25th May that got cancelled and we rescheduled it to 26th.This flight was cancelled as well. It cost me 9500 and I got a refund of 1890 (credit shell) with no support from indigo. need full refund @IndiGo6E @HardeepSPuri please help— Nikita Pandey (@NikitaP74829275) May 25, 2020
#RefundPassengers @IndiGo6E @makemytripcare @makemytrip @HardeepSPuri Mum-CCU on 26/5 was cancelled by 6E.last 2 hrs trying in desktop and app of 6E and MMT to get refund/ credit shell.after trying to create credit shell, the pg is hanging. Pls get my hard earned money refunded https://t.co/LH5rRck3te— Shuvayu Bhattacharya (@Shuvayu) May 25, 2020
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.
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