Travel

When will Indian domestic flights reopen?

Since the lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, all Indian carriers had to ground their flight. This meant, all travellers who had booked, had to cancel their tickets. While some got a refund, others got a cash voucher that can be redeemed on a later date. And there are others like me who struggled to cancel air asia flight booking for weeks together. All in all, it was one hell of a ride.

It’s been more than 6 weeks since the airlines were grounded and now, there is some good news. Recently, the Civil Aviation Minister of India, Hardeep Singh Puri, had a detailed discussion with several airlines on ow they can operate domestic flights post lockdown. While the airlines have assured to take optimal measures for social distancing during check-in to the airport, inside the flight, and during check-out of the airport, the effectiveness of it is still unsure.

Book flight tickets online

If you take a look at the Air Asia website or Indigo website, you will be able to book tickets from June 1 onwards. You can book an onward as well as a return ticket to anywhere in India. Since the lockdown is still in place, you cannot go out to a physical travel agency and make reservations. Hence, you need to book flight tickets online only.

Another interesting point to note is, none of the airlines in India are accepting flight reservations prior to June 1, 2020. This is also true for travel agencies such as MakeMyTrip or EaseMyTrip who have closed bookings for the month of May. If I am not wrong, the travel agents and certain airlines had opened bookings from May 3 onwards. But thanks to the extended lockdown from May 3 to May 17, not anymore!

When will flights operate in India?

As per the recent report, airlines might operate domestic flights in India from the 18th of May, that’s 1 day after the current lockdown ends. Even otherwise, flights have to start their operations soon; failing which, they might need a huge bailout from the government.

In order to boost the economy of the nation and in turn to save the airlines, and also to help people travel to other cities for personal and business purposes, there’s a very high chance of airlines starting their operations from the 18th of May 2020. If that is true, it’s time they start to accept reservations. However, as of May 8 2020, I do not find any airlines accepting bookings for the current month.

I believe we can obtain a clarity after we receive an official statement from the Civil Aviation Minister of India. According to me, this should happen before May 10, as airlines will need at least 1 week to start accepting bookings and get ready to take off. Most importantly, they need time to ensure their crew is trained on the social distancing practices. Let’s wait and watch!

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