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Friday, 19 March, 2021, 16 : 30 PM [IST]

TAAI appeals Air India to open GDS refunds without negative billing for members

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) is seeking Air India’s attention to a host of issues. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, met Meenakshi Mallik, Commercial Director, Air India yesterday for an urgent meeting to voice the concern of agents on Vande Bharat flight bookings, seamless refunds on GDS and seeking 5% commission on total airfare. Representatives from Air India were also present in the meeting. 

“We had discussed various times in the past few months that it was inappropriate to sell the tickets on these special flights (Vande Bharat Mission) only on the airline’s website. Being IATA-accredited agents, and Air India being an IATA BSP concurrent airlines as well as the national carrier it must ensure that the trade, agents are protected and assisted,” a letter signed by the national office-bearers of TAAI reads.

TAAI has suggested that a time limit to ticket once the seat is blocked should be restricted to maximum of 5 hours between 10am to 5pm and 12hours if booked beyond the working hours. This should only be for limited VBM flights which are operated under the aegis of MoCA/Govt of India. A special circular with conditions for making bookings on these VBM flights must be issued so as to assist the agents. “We are also pained to note that Air India does not connect with us to support and assist in the matter where challenges are faced during the bookings. We have received assurance from the Secretary Civil Aviation Pradeep Singh Kharola that Air India and all Indian carriers shall assist and facilitate our member travel agents. This ongoing mistrust between Air India and the agents has created a wrong perception amongst travellers/customers to not book through accredited agents.”

With regards to refunds, TAAI said that Air India is the one of the airlines which is not permitting refunds on the GDS. “Only once a month we receive circulars to refund the tickets on the GDS/ RA(IATA) and under negative billing the same will not be processed. This is unfair. Member agents have always ensured timely payments to the airline/IATA as per the PSA Agreement/BSP Resolutions.” 

TAAI office-bearers stated that it is unfortunate that Air India is not supporting its accredited members who have supported the national carrier over the decades. “We shall appreciate if the GDS refund process without negative billing credits is opened up immediately for member agents. Further, we expect Air India to permit booking of all flights across all GDS systems. This shall empower more sales and bookings, effecting higher load factor and profits for the airlines.”

Seeking a minimum commission of 5% on the total airfare, the oldest travel trade association has also requested Air India to curate a fixed formula to calculate commission. “This shall ensure that members who have provided financial security through IATA at a cost plus their cost of sales and employment, so as to earn a living is justified, especially by the national carrier.”

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