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Omicron spread: Only 29% Indians got full refund from airlines, 34% from hotels on cancellations

Travel and hospitality industry continues to struggle amid wave after wave of covid pandemic. (File Photo: AP)Premium
Travel and hospitality industry continues to struggle amid wave after wave of covid pandemic. (File Photo: AP)

  • Not just airfares, customers also lost money to hotel bookings, the survey revealed. 34% of the 9,974 respondents said they have been refunded the full booking amount, 13% did not get a refund but could rebook at a later date and 27% lost the entire booking amount with no option to rebook

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NEW DELHI: The travel and hospitality industry is yet again under stress as states and several countries have imposed travel restrictions in the wake of the fast spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus. However, the stress is not just limited to businesses, with passengers also struggling to get refunds from airlines and hotels for cancelled bookings.

Only 29% of respondents of a survey, conducted by community platform LocalCircles, said they got full refund from their travel agent or airline upon cancellation of flights scheduled between January and March this year.

Of the remaining, 14% got a partial refund, 29% said the travel agent/airline accepted cancellation but refunded a very small amount and 14% got the option to re-book in lieu of a refund. The survey had received 10,151 responses.

Not just airfares, customers also lost money to hotel bookings, the survey revealed. 34% of the 9,974 respondents said they have been refunded the full booking amount, 13% did not get a refund but got the option to rebook at a later date and 27% lost the entire booking amount with no option to rebook.

"Citizens on the LocalCircles platform have been suggesting that the Government should come up with a special policy for travel booking refunds till the COVID pandemic is going on, especially for airlines and hotels," Localcircles stated in its survey report. “Due to the lack of uniformity in cancellation charges by different airlines and hotel operators, the majority don’t approve of the existing travel booking refund policies during the pandemic."

These numbers show a slight improvement compared to passenger’s experience during the second wave of covid-19 last year. A similar survey conducted by LocalCircles that time had revealed that only a minuscule 12% and 13% Indians were able to get a full refund on their canceled air tickets and hotel bookings, respectively.

"Though over 2.5 times as many citizens were able to get a hotel booking refund due to 3rd wave-related cancellation as compared to the 2nd wave-related cancellation, the majority still ended up losing money to hotels," the survey stated.

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