Air India Express flight cancellations: How can passengers get a refund?

The spokesperson of the Tata Group-owned carrier said that guests who are affected by the cancellation will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date. Photo: Atlee Fernandes/Manorama

Following the cancellation of more than 80 Air India Express flights due to a sudden cabin crew strike, many passengers have been left in the lurch. A spokesperson for the Tata Group-owned carrier said flyers who are affected by the cancellation will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date. Meanwhile, the airline has also sent a message to passengers whose flights have been cancelled, with a link to process the refund. Though many complain that the link isn't loading currently, it is expected to start working soon. Affected passengers can also log on to the website of the carrier and try for a refund from the 'Manage Booking' section.

On the social media platform X, Air India Express also said the passengers can either reschedule the flight within the next seven days or opt for a full refund. "You can make changes to your booking by visiting our chatbot Tia," the airline said on X. Meanwhile, many passengers also said that the chatbox and phone support are also not working, to which the airline requested their PNR numbers for further assistance. 

Passengers miffed
Though the airline offered refunds, many passengers said it won't help them. Some of them claimed that they could lose their jobs if they did not reach their place of work today, while some others' work visas are about to expire. One woman, who was to travel from Kannur to Sharjah with twin babies and her husband, said she had to rejoin work on May 9, but Air India Express was offering her a flight from Kochi only on May 10. "What would be the point in me travelling on May 10? If I do not reach there before May 9, my boss will say not to come and I will lose my job," she told the media. 

Similar concerns were aired by many others who have to rejoin their places of work in the Gulf nations today or tomorrow and failure to do so could result in them losing their jobs. The woman also said that she had been waiting at the airport since Tuesday night when her flight was scheduled to leave for Sharjah, but no accommodation or other facilities were provided to them by the airline. Another woman, who had booked tickets on Air India Express to meet her husband who is hospitalised in Muscat, said that she was told about the cancellation only when she reached the Kannur airport in the morning. 

Discontent has been brewing among a section of the cabin crew at the low-cost carrier for some time now, especially after the start of the process of merger of AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India, with itself. The sources on Wednesday said several cabin crew members started reporting sick since Monday evening and as there are not enough cabin crew members, "scores of flights" have been cancelled at various airports, including Kochi, Calicut and Kannur. Later the airline, in a statement, said, "A section of our cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute, starting last night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations. "While we are engaging with the crew to understand the reasons behind these occurrences, our teams are actively addressing this issue to minimise any inconvenience caused to our guests as a result." The airline, in its statement, sincerely apologised to passengers for this unexpected disruption and emphasised that this situation does not reflect the standard of service it strives to provide.
(With inputs from PTI)

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