As the world is grappling with the question of global outbreak of respiratory illness COVID-19, many proactive citizens have decided to cancel or postpone their business and recreational tours for several months to prevent catching this infectious disease.

Moreover, the whole of India is on a lockdown till April 14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has issued a level 3 warning in many countries like Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Iran and others. This means that one must avoid non-essential travel to these countries.

Thus, knowing about the refund policies of Indian railways, hotels and airlines is highly necessary during this global crisis.

Airlines refund and cancellation policies

IndiGo has introduced a “Plan B” to provide relief to its customers. According to IndiGo, “With Plan B, you can change the time and/or date of your flight or cancel your booking and quickly process refunds at no additional costs.”

Vistara provided information on this topic through its Twitter handle.

SpiceJet through its website informed all the passengers about their air travel policies amidst coronavirus scare. For customers having a flight from 25th March, 2020 till 14th April, 2020 their bookings will be automatically cancelled with zero cancellation fee and a credit shell will be created for the the same.

The credit shell can be used to make another booking for the same passenger(s) for travel on or before 28th February, 2021 on their website

GoAir suspended its international travel operations and opened the offer for its passengers to reschedule their flight without an extra fee. The offer applies to all those who planned a travel between March 8 and April 30 and want to reschedule 14 days prior to their flight departure.

Air India has stopped booking till the end of April (read here). 

This can be an indicator of the fact that the PM and his Council of Ministers plan to extend the national lockdown. However, private airlines will continue providing air services, starting from April 15.

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Policies of Indian Railways

Indian railways decided to cancel all train services in the wake of COVID-19. To avoid crowding of stations, Indian railways relaxed its ticket refund policy. Passengers cancelling their ticket scheduled between March 21 to April 15 can file for a refund up to 30 days from the date of journey.

If a ticket scheduled between March 21 to April 15 is cancelled by Indian railways, passengers can claim for a refund across counters up to 45 days from the date of journey.

In addition to this, Indian Railways made an effort to start special parcel trains to ensure uninterrupted flow of essential items like food and medicines. It would help e-commerce companies to transport its items as well.

Indian railways has also converted its coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients. The first sample ward is ready and many more such isolation wards would be added soon. This will reduce the pressure on hospitals to accommodate COVID patients if the number of people infected explodes.

Such a plan can help us be well-prepared to meet any emergency, Subhanan Chanda, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), NF Railway said on Sunday.

To start with, NF Railway is converting coaches at the Coach Maintenance Depot in Kamakhya and Guwahati into isolation wards after consulting medical professionals at NF Railway Central Hospital, Maligaon. A non-AC sleeper coach is converted into an isolation ward for patients suffering from covid-19,” Subhanan Chanda said.

Hotel policies for cancellation of stay

Hilton Hotels made some changes in their existing modification and cancellation policies to navigate their guests through this situation. They are providing maximum flexibility due to the travel ban.

All individual reservations – even those described as “non-cancellable or non-refundable”- that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival.

Marriott Hotels through their official website explained how well being of their guests is of paramount importance. For all Marriott hotels, they are applying the following policies:

“For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, they will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020. Please note that any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.”

“For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and April 30, 2020, they will allow the reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Please note that changes to the reservation will be subject to availability and any rate differences.”

You can get access to the cancellation policies of the following hotels by clicking on it:

Thus, different hotels and airlines have different policies for their customers. You can check them out on their official websites.

Image credits: Google images

Sources: Financial Express, Business Insider and EASTMOJO

Find the blogger: @lisa_tay_ari

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