Travel operators, fliers a harried lot

‘Airlines charging exorbitant rates in special flights’

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27

Fliers, tour and travel operators are a harried lot.

Reason: Airline companies are charging exorbitant rates for tickets during the lockdown. These are exploiting fliers, a majority of whom are stranded students, by charging Rs1.5 lakh against the approved Rs40,000 per passenger.

A travel agent, on the condition of anonymity, said special flights being flown to New Zealand, US, UK, Canada to repatriate their nationals stranded here were charging anything between Rs1.10 lakh and 1.35 lakh per passenger. He said these tickets used to cost between Rs40,000 to Rs60,000 per passenger during an advance booking. He said national career Air India was directly booking these tickets, denying them business.

An Australian national of Punjabi origin said he was stranded here with his daughter who studies in nursery and wife due to the lockdown.

These foreign nationals of Punjabi origin, who have been forced to unwilling stay due to lockdown, are excited and eager to fly back to their adopted countries to resume work and study.

“Taking undue benefit of the situation, the airlines are charging exorbitant amount for the cost of air tickets to Australia,” said Rajinder Singh Marwaha, president of Indo-Australian Business Alliance.

He warned the airlines not to resort to profit-making in the time of distress. They must adopt passenger- friendly approach and charge nominal and government-approved rates per passenger.

These companies must follow social-distancing norm and other protective measures as advised by the government. Exorbitant amount being charged per passenger and carelessness in social distancing have been brought to the notice of the Central Aviation Ministry, he said.

“The ministry has been requested to act swiftly to protect the undue exploitation of air travelers boarding planes to Australia from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Amritsar.

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