TAAI also asked Air India to allow agents to book Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights. (HT File)
TAAI also asked Air India to allow agents to book Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights. (HT File)

Address concerns on bookings, refunds: Country’s largest tourism body to Air India

According to the association, it is “inappropriate” to sell the tickets of VBM flights only on the airline’s website
By Neha LM Tripathi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 20, 2021 01:22 AM IST

neha.tripathi@htlive.com

Mumbai India’s largest tourism body – Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) – on Friday wrote to national carrier Air India, raising concerns highlighted by their members over bookings and refunds on the global distribution system (GDS). TAAI also asked Air India to allow agents to book Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights. TAAI also sought an urgent meeting to discuss these issues with the national carrier on Thursday.

According to the association, it is “inappropriate” to sell the tickets of VBM flights only on the airline’s website.

“Being International Air Transport Association (IATA)-accredited agents and Air India being an IATA BSP (billing and settlement plan – a system designed to facilitate and simplify the selling) concurrent airline, it must ensure that the trade agents are protected and assisted,” stated the letter.

Claiming that genuine travellers miss out on the opportunity to book their seats and that many do not have access to websites or are not in a position to make online bookings, TAAI suggested that a special circular with conditions to make the bookings for VBM flights must be issued to assist the agents.

TAAI also pointed out that Air India is the one of the airlines which is not permitting refunds on GDS, and hence passengers are unable to get their money back.

“You are required to open up the access to process refunds for previous refunds which were to be processed during the lockdown as well as for flights or bookings which have been cancelled for immediate process in the billing cycle as prescribed by IATA without setting any further conditions and promptly refund the amounts as per the resolutions thereto. We expect Air India to permit booking of all flights across all GDS systems,” the letter stated.

TAAI also demanded a 5% agent commission from Air India on the total airfare. Addressing the issue, the letter stated, “Since last year, Air India had withdrawn the commission of 1.5% and is only giving it as an incentive on a monthly basis. We reiterate our demand for a minimum of 5% as commission on the total airfare...”

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