Passengers returning from Malaysia, UAE and England said that on an average they have paid at least more than 50% of the usual fares.

Passengers at the Air Indian airlines counters in an airport, waiting to board flights to India.
Coronavirus Repatriation Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 10:48

Many Indians who are stuck in foreign countries and want to return to India through special repatriation flights operated by the government of India have complained that they are being charged exorbitant amounts for the tickets.

One such Indian, Jipson George, said, “The government is charging heavy fare and we feel exploited at this time.”

Jipson is stuck in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. He said that while travel agency Oscar Travels was selling tickets for the Air India flights, there was no transparency on how people will be allowed to board these flights.

As put out by Oscar Travels, passengers are expected to pay Rs 33,000 (approximately) for economy class tickets to cities like Amritsar, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad. For Delhi, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar the tickets are priced at Rs 28,000 (approximately).

Business class passengers to Amritsar, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad have to pay close to Rs 80,000 and for Delhi, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar the tickets are priced at Rs 70,000.

The fares are roughly 50% more than the average ticket price that travellers usually pay for.

The flyer also questioned why a private agency had been chosen as travel agent when only select passengers are allowed to buy the tickets in the first place.

TNM has accessed an email sent to this flyer by Air India confirming the same.

Similarly TNM could confirm that flyers from Dubai and London who boarded these special Vande Mataram mission have also paid much higher fare when compared to normal fares.

Mohammed Mansur, a passenger who flew in one such special flight to Mangaluru from Dubai said that he had to pay double the fare, when compared to what he paid six months ago.He said, “It is not that only rich people are returning in this time of distress. My work involves repairing computer parts and I had gone six months back but for the last two months I did not have any income. I had to manage my rent and food without pay for the last two months. Then I had to pay the high air fare, and later for quarantine in India too.”

A Kodagu-resident who returned to Bengaluru from London last Sunday also said that she had to pay Rs 53,000 for her ticket when the usual fare is only between Rs 25,000-30,000. 

Read: The pandemic has exacerbated the struggles of Indian migrant workers abroad

 
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