Cancellation Policies and Charges of Airlines in India

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This post attempts to compare the change and cancellation policies of airlines in India. The airlines compared were: Air India, Spicejet, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Indigo and Go Air.

I recently was to travel to Delhi and had to cancel my tickets two days ago due to some personal reasons and was shocked to see the latest cancellation charges.
They are literally daylight robbery!

My itinerary was as follows:

Pune to Delhi via Spicejet (2 people)
Rs. 9,374 (booked via GoIbibo)

Delhi to Pune via Indian Airlines (2 people)
Rs. 10,126 (booked via the Air India website)

I ended up paying the following (insane) cancellation charges:

  1. Spicejet: Rs. 950 x 2 = Rs. 1,900
  2. GoIbibo (I booked the Spicejet ticket with them): Rs. 250 x 2 (their cancellation charges) + Rs. 100 (credit card transaction charges) = Rs. 600
  3. Indian Airlines: Rs. 1,575 x 2 = Rs. 3,150 (the complete base fare)

A couple of years ago, we had cancelled some Spicejet tickets and they were Rs. 750 per ticket.

What really irks me is the way these guys are doing business. I think the bulk of their revenue comes from people cancelling their tickets.

  1. They haven’t flown me!
  2. They have 100% sold the ticket to someone else at a super high rate (PNQ – DEL is a very popular route) and made a profit on it. (Last minute tickets are super expensive)
  3. They have made Rs. 5,650 from me without providing any service.

If this is not day-light robbery, I don’t know what is!

As a result, I did some research and have put up a sheet of airline cancellation charges of all airlines in India – which you should take a look at before making your bookings in case there is a possibility of you changing your plans. This is a google spreadsheet and editable by all – so feel free to make changes incase you find new charges (these change regularly).

Table created on: 26th Aug, 2012 09:31 hours.
These rates might not be the same on the day you are viewing this. For (a possibly updated) excel sheet, see this:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuIgUE5wEdcRdHhZdFhTTVVfQ2g1cTZDZnU4UEliWmc&pli=1#gid=0

The following airlines had information on their website which I could easily come across (I have over 13 years of web experience and I did web design and usability for a living)

  1. Spicejet
  2. GoAir
  3. Jet Airways
  4. Jet Konnect
  5. Air India (had to use a google in:site search)
  6. Air India Express

Following airlines had to be called to learn about the rates:

  1. Kingfisher (no surprises here)
  2. KingfisheR Red
  3. Indigo

Important Tip
Also, what you must definitely do is – NEVER book from these travel websites. Because cancellation is a 50% more expensive affair with these guys having their additional charges. What you should do is use http://ixigo.com which does a fare comparison on the direct airline website and book the tickets from there.

In my experience, 95% of the times, the lowest fares are on the Airline website anyways.

19 Comments

  1. Thanks for the very useful post.

    Mostly people use the travel websites aka yatra , makemytrip or goibibo to book their tickets since its faster with a wide variety of choices available.

    They might as well analyse the cheapest and convenient flights from these sites and book directly from the airline site as suggested by you.( which would work out to be cheaper as you need not pay third party convenience charges)

    Lastly, no doubt you suffered great anguish and felt looted by these charges, but there’s nothing we as consumers can do about it. The companies run their businesses on certain business rules and some might be more smarter (thereby costlier aka KF) than the others in arm twisting hapless consumers.

    As they say Airline business is not an profitable one, and with most of the airlines seeing red, consumers can expect more such tricky charges coming their way.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for putting this up… It certainly is a matter of everyone’s concern. I honestly think its a 100% rip off.. I’d no longer want to book tickets on any travel portal..

    Thanks once again..

    Regards,
    Viveck Parekh.. :)

    Reply
  3. Very nice and informative post! Though I am aware of the cancellation charges of a few airlines which I fly regularly, but this compilation shows that there is a serious necessity to regulate such malpractices by these airlines.

    Reply
  4. You are right and i have booked with airlines directly. But did you know if you book with an airline (in my case spice and Indigo) when i cancelled the booking. i did not get the amount back onto my card. They created a shell for me on their system and i had to rebook with them only. Problem was next time i had to book one of the other airline was cheaper. So i have gone back to travel portals now as at least i get the money back and i can buy next ticket on any airline. Also travel portals are now offering huge discounts os some routes/days. Ixigo does not show these offers so its better to check the travel portals always.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments Rajesh. How long ago was this?
      Because 2 years ago, I had experienced the same thing with Spicejet – but most recently, the tickets that I cancelled with Indian Airlines – and a while ago, my dad cancelled his tickets via Spicejet and the money was directly credited back to the account.

      I’m guessing the policies have changed?

      Reply
  5. Just cancelled my Air India ticket from Bangalore – Delhi – Gwalioi which i boooked from Yatra.com

    Airline Cancellation chargers – 2000
    Yatra Cancellation charges – 300
    Cash back Reversal – 250.

    No travel, still a payment of 2550 odd bucks.

    Reply
    • before how many days you cancelled your ticket…i also want to cancel my ticket but i am cancelling it before a month…so how much i need to pay….plz tell

      Reply
      • Hi Shreyans,

        You’ll have to call them and check. I am not aware of their rates at the moment and they vary from sector to sector.

        It might be a percentage of your base fare.

        Call them. Their toll free number is:
        18001801407
        http://airindia.com

        Reply
  6. Just changed the date on my air inda domestic reservation. The charges incurred were NIL. I rescheduled it to a date which was exactly a week later. I did it in a matter of few clicks while being checked in as a guest, without any charges.

    Reply
  7. Thanks for putting these information some people do make serious mistakes booking through travel sites but the nexus between the travel websites and airlines are strong uwont get your tickets at the airline websites but will be available at the travel sites.Plus with there ridiculous cancellation policies they are sure to make money either way.

    Reply
  8. I feel, atleast, the Air India rules are fare where charge 30% of the Base Fare (even though it should be reduced further if cancelling very early).
    But, I could not take advantage of it.
    Just cancelled partly my Air India return ticket for Delhi – Guwahati-Delhi, which i boooked from Yatra.com.
    I had to cancel for 3 passenger in my return-ticket which costed Rs. 950 per passenger per sector. Hence, I ended up paying Rs.5688.

    Annoying part is that base-fare payed for three passengers was Rs. 4500 for the return ticket, so we ended up paying more for cancellation.

    Learning is that make separate bookings if you see the possibility of cancellation for some co-passenger.

    Reply
  9. For me it was a nightmare with Kinfisher.

    The flight was cancelled and i havent got any refunt yet.
    The flight was from Port Blair to Chennai and fare was 8066 for 2

    I have no idea how to get the refund. Date of flight was on 06-01-2013

    I had also done a cancellation on Air- India in Dec 2012
    It cost me 500/ guest.

    Reply
  10. Just right now i cancelled my return trip on spicejet flight. I booked the ticket via goibibo only. They are deducting INR 3690. Spicejet cancellation fee is now INR 1500.`

    Reply
    • SpiceJet is 1500 per passenger per sector… so a round trip cancellation will cost 3000 – and this is a flat amount irrespective of when the ticket was bought and when the travel dates are…

      Reply
  11. hi all, plz help me….i booked my ticket of air india flight from a travel website….for trip of lucknow to bangalore on 23-11-2013…..but now i want to cancel my ticket so can any one tell how much they will charge and how much amount i need to pay…as i am cancelling my ticket before a month….plz reply asap

    Reply
  12. I just cancelled airindia ticket where total ticket price was Rs. 12100 where there was both journey for 2 persons.

    I just got refund of only Rs. 5700.When I called them and asked why 50% of the money was deducted, they said they deducted 1500+ per person per journey. That means 1500×4=6000.

    They robbed me 50% of the ticket price without providing any service. Also to remember I cancelled the ticket one month in advance.
    Why there is not fixed rule applicable to all airlines on cancellation?

    Reply

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