- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Campbell Wilson
Air India is keeping its promise of improving customer experience by giving its refund timeline a makeover. The airline has started clearing out COVID-time refunds, which have been due since before the Tatas took control. Acknowledging the difficulties faced by passengers during COVID, AI has also extended the validity of its frequent flyer points until March next year.
$18 million worth of refunds issued
Air India has issued more than 250,000 refunds resulting from the global pandemic and shared the details of the steps it has taken in the last few months to hasten the process.
The airline acknowledged that, like all airlines, Air India was also severely impacted by COVID-19, affecting the plans of many travelers. And as one of many steps undertaken to better meet customer expectations and speedily address legacy issues post-privatization, AI has prioritized clearing the backlog of refunds.
Air India has issued more than 250K COVID-time refunds so far. Photo: Boeing
But the improvement process doesn’t just stop with COVID refunds. Moving forward, the carrier has put a system in place that aims to reduce the refund process time to 2 to 3 days. In a statement released on Monday, AI said,
“As of today, an eligible refund request lodged on Air India website will typically be processed by the airline in 2-3 days. Subsequent processing by banks and/or credit card companies, which is beyond the airline’s control, can add another two weeks before customers see the refund in their account. In the case of bookings made via travel agents, the refund is made to the travel agent who is then responsible for disbursing to the traveler.”
Like many carriers globally, Air India suffered from a massive cash crunch during the pandemic and was slow in issuing refunds. But with the Tatas in the picture, this isn’t an issue any longer.
With the Tata Group at the helm, AI has the financial backing to issue refunds. Photo: Getty Images
Frequent flyer program extended
One of the first promises made by the Tata Group after taking over Air India was to improve customer experience. And in another example of keeping customer needs at the center, the airline has decided to extend the validity of flying returns (FR) points, tier status and member status, and associated benefits under Flying Returns, the airline’s ‘Frequent Flyer’ program, until March 31st, 2023.
Rajesh Dogra, Air India’s chief customer experience officer and global head of airport operations, was quoted by The Times of India as saying,
“In the Covid induced pandemic, our customers couldn’t utilize our services in the last 2 years. As travel plans return to normal … they are our top priority and we continue to support our loyal Air India community by extending benefits under Flying Returns programme till March, 2023.”
AI has also extended its frequent flyer program until March 2023. Photo: Airbus
Changes like these aren’t all that surprising, considering that AI’s new owners recently revealed their long-term vision for the company in which it hopes to transform the airline into a world-class product centered around Indian values.
Air India has identified key objectives – network, fleet, customer service, technology, etc. – and has given itself five years to achieve them in a phased manner under a plan called Vihaan.AI, which signifies the dawn of a new era in Sanskrit.
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Source: The Times of India