Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why Airlines should complicate refund procedure for excess ADF

Why Airlines should feel hesitant in refunding the excess ADF??

As you may be knowing that Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) have reduced ADF w.e.f 1st January 2013 for the passengers embarking from Delhi Airports (DIAL). The ADF for domestic passengers has been reduced from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 100/- whereas for the international passengers it has been reduced from Rs. 1300/- to Rs. 600/-. The passengers who have booked their tickets prior to 31st December 2012 are entitled to a refund of Rs. 100/- and Rs. 700/- for domestic and international flights respectively. 
Times of India in their news published on 20th January 2013 that Airlines are delaying the refund of Excess amount charged under "Development fee" due to reduction in fee w.e.f 01/01/2013. The reason cited is inadequate staff deployed by Airlines.
I have failed to understand as to why the refund should be delayed on a/c of shortage in staff. First of all most of the tickets are booked electronically (e-ticketing)and the refund also need to be made electronically in the reverse path. This is exactly the same procedure as prescribed in cancellations and refunds by DGCA. The refunds should be an automatic process and no additional manpower is required. In any case even if any additional staff is required to be deployed it should be done as the company has no right to retain the money with them. Why the passengers are advised to claim through a mechanical process. It is a well known fact that with the mechanical process, most of the passengers would not make claim for the refund and the company expect to retain the excess amount charged from the passengers. Retaining the amount by the company due to no claim from the passengers would be a bad precedent and hence it is advised that :
1. All passengers who are entitled for the refund should make sure that the amount is refunded despite many hurdles that you may face. If you do not ensure that the money is refunded, the company would be having surplus of tens of crores extra.
2. The Airlines should make the refund electronically in the reverse path the way tickets were booked. This would make sure that the most of the passengers are refunded the amount
3. Get away with the mechanical submission of claim. Provide a link on the web-site to seek claim form from the passengers and ensure that the money is refunded immediately through post/ courier. Alternatively, consider refunding the amount by cash during the boarding process. It does not take time in refunding.
4. Even in case the money is still left with the Airlines due to no-claim from the passengers, the money should be transferred to the Govt. account for consumer welfare.

I would be forwarding this blog to the concerned authorities and the Airlines and expect that entitled amount is not retained by the Airlines.

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