This article co-produced with CNBCTV18.com. Check out my column, Business of Travel, every Friday.
Jet Airways has been cancelling flights left, right and centre. As per many estimates, and our own tracking, their current operational fleet is down to less than 40 aircraft at the moment. Many stations have been badly hit, including Delhi, which is seeing an extreme drop of capacity, and flights as well.
With the severe financial situation at Jet Airways, customers have been at the receiving end. Many customers have been getting odd-timed messages, sometimes the night before their flights about cancellations. What has gone on after is long calls to the airline. Passengers are being left on hold for 30 minutes or more many times to get to an agent.
It is not like Jet Airways does not want to fly those passengers and just shrugged their arms and said they couldn’t do anything. Jet Airways staff has been trying their best to accommodate passengers on other flights of their airline. In many cases, they don’t care if you had a very cheap ticket booked much in advance, because they are willing to pluck a seat from whatever remaining last-minute inventory they have as well. Reading through our coverage of the issue over the months, you will see ample comments from readers who were accommodated.
Jet Airways frontline staff on their aircraft is also, still serving with a smile, even though they don’t have the money rolling into their bank account themselves.
— aneesh phadnis (@aneeshp) March 22, 2019
If your flight is cancelled within 72 hours of departure, you should ideally call the airline, or if you can, visit the airline’s ticketing office, usually at the airport. But, if you get a cancellation for travel more than three days out, Jet Airways has opened up a separate website to get you accommodated on another flight if possible. Check here.
If you use the disruption website, you can pick a date change, or you can ask for a refund.
Domestic Jet Airways Flight Cancellation
Till a few days ago, Jet Airways was accommodating displaced passengers, those whose flights were cancelled, on the flights of their peers such as Air India and Vistara. However, for various reasons, Vistara and Air India have stopped accepting the displaced passengers of Jet Airways at the moment, which means, if the airline is not able to get passengers a replacement ticket on their plane, they are now issuing refunds to the passengers.
When booked directly, these refunds should hit your payment mode directly within a week to ten days. I had certain tickets booked for February 2019, which got cancelled. I got a refund on the third or fourth day on my Amex. However, if you booked with a travel agent, the travel agent will issue you a refund. I’ve heard sometimes you don’t get the convenience fee, but one email to info at jetairways dot com will help that.
International Jet Airways Flight Cancellation
However, Jet Airways is now facing incessant cancellations on their international routes, including the Manchester route altogether, mainly the regional operations which were flown on the Boeing 737s, but also some widebodies. This is potentially more costly to replace when Jet Airways cancels a sector. However, there are many potential ways to reduce the damage.
In many cases, when a domestic flight was cancelled, there was either an alternate routing available. But on international routes, there are not too many replacement flights. Sometimes, they reroute passengers and even gave them compensation.
— Arpit Jain (@appyjain) March 18, 2019
In other cases, they have been re-accommodating passengers on their partner airlines where possible.
For instance, flights from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai were cancelled overnight. However, Jet Airways would still be able to accommodate those passengers on their Dubai to Mumbai flight schedule. And just as an example, if a flight between Delhi and London is cancelled, they can also put passengers on their partner airline Virgin Atlantic. Here is a list of the partner airlines of Jet Airways.
The best way to get accommodated is to do some of the heavy lifting yourself. You can look at the partner airline list, and see if there is a flight available on the partner carriers. If that flight is available, you could write back using the disruption form (use the comments section) or call back Jet Airways with the exact information, and they could try and rebook you on that flight. For instance, if you are booked for Delhi-Hong Kong on Jet Airways which is now cancelled, Jet Airways could book you on Hong Kong Airlines to bring you to Bangkok and then take you on a Jet Airways plane from there to Delhi.
And if you don’t seem to wait for a while on the phone to rebook yourself, you could always send a message to their Twitter team, who should be able to organise a call-back to get you re-accommodated. This is what I did when we recently had a situation with a Jet Airways flight.
It is only after exhausting all their possibilities will the airline cancel your ticket and offer you a full refund. To cover that risk, it is best that you buy travel insurance to cover the situation at the earliest.
What has been your experience with the Jet Airways frontline staff in the past few days? And did I miss anything here in terms of getting passengers accommodated? Do share your tips below.