190122 air india express
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Dubai: Slammed by UAE-based passengers for offering a fee waiver due to Covid-19 related travel issues only for fresh bookings, Indian carrier Air India Express on Thursday revised its waiver policy.

As exclusively reported by Gulf News on Wednesday, the budget airline of India’s national carrier Air India had announced that it would only allow date changes free of charge for those who book tickets from Thursday, March 12.

Earlier report

This made passengers, who had booked their tickets before the novel coronavirus hit the aviation industry and subsequent travel advisories, ineligible for a penalty waiver for changing the date of travel.

Following the report, Air India Express on Thursday issued a fresh circular to all travel agents informing that the waiver policy will be applicable to all existing bookings as well.

While official sources said the airline was forced to revise the policy after the GN report, the carrier attributed its decision to the revised travel advisory by India.

“In view of the revised travel advisory issued by the Government of India dated March 11 for prevention and management of Covid-19, Air India Express will provide one free date change,” the circular said.

It clarified that the free date change will be applicable to all existing books for travel till April 30 and all new bookings effected till March 31, for travel till April 30.

“Changes must be made at least 72 hours prior to departure. Any fare difference shall apply. The new travel date may be for any flights open for sale in the system on the same sector,” it added.

Aggrieved passengers welcomed the decision.

Manikandan G., a sales manager who had booked tickets for his wife and two children, appreciated that the airline realised its mistake and revised its policy.

“It is a good decision as this will benefit the passengers. I had booked the tickets for around Dh1300 and I was told to pay around 50 per cent of it as penalty for a date change. I hope I can change the booking without any loss of money now.”