If you are a frequent air traveller and often find yourself having to cancel your tickets due to a change in schedule, it’s time to rejoice. Till now, airlines always refused to entertain any requests for refunds, and often put this amount (less some cancellation charges) in your “credit” balance. This meant you had to fly that same airline again, that too within a stipulated time, mostly 6 months – 1 year, in order to adjust the fare price against the existing credit amount.

Having received a spate of complaints against this practice, the Government is going to lay down new ground rules which at the outset, state that airlines have to issue the refund within 7 days, and cannot use the above credit system to adjust fares at a later date.

Secondly, the entire amount other than the basic fare (Passenger service fee – Rs.225, Congestion surcharge – Rs.150 and Fuel surcharge – Rs.1950 to Rs.2350) is to be refunded. In all probability, this is also likely to do away with the prevalent practice of pricing fares at dirt cheap levels as airlines will need to levy cancellation charges on some amount to recover their costs.