No vacations for many, no refunds either | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

No vacations for many, no refunds either

BySagar Pillai, Mumbai
Mar 04, 2020 12:39 AM IST

The outbreak of coronavirus has affected travel plans of many Mumbaiites who were planning vacations abroad, particularly to locations in Europe and Asia. In most cases, travel companies have refused to give refunds following cancellations. Some have even offered clients “safety kits”, which include surgical masks and gloves, and encouraged them to stick to their travel plans. Following the outbreak, travel advisories have been issued by the Indian government for 12 countries.

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In January, Kurla resident Malcolm Fernandes booked a trip to Europe for 4.55 lakh to celebrate his wedding anniversary. He has already made a payment of 70,000. After news broke of coronavirus being reported in Europe, Fernandes contacted the travel company to cancel the trip but refused to refund the amount paid. “Instead, they were convincing me to shift my tour dates to another month in the future despite my telling him that this is to celebrate my wedding anniversary. They denied our request to cancel the trip and said the money is forfeited as per their policy,” said Fernandes. He had also requested that the travel company change his bookings to a trip to within India, but they rejected this request.

Surprise for in-laws

Powai resident Pankaj Chaugule wanted to surprise his in-laws by booking a trip to Thailand for them in March. However, he had to cancel the trip when news hit of the coronavirus outbreak. “The travel agent told us it was too late to cancel and we would lose 100% of the amount paid. Despite requesting them to change the location or postpone the trip, they were adamant about not refunding any amount,” Chaugule said. “He told us that they are ensuring safety precautions like giving masks, gloves and sanitiser.”

Tour for Women’s Day

Chetan Shah from Malad had booked a Thailand tour through Veena World for his mother on March 8. “After we told them to cancel her booking, they said they couldn’t cancel the trip for just one person. However, I got to know that all the other people who had booked the same trip wanted to cancel because of the epidemic,” Shah said.

Veena Patil, proprietor of Veena World, said, “I would advise people not to panic at this moment. The issue about the refund is a problem because half of the procedure of the tour package is completed.”

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