MANGALURU: Till now, it was a double whammy for international passengers testing positive either in the 48-hour RT-PCR test or the Rapid RT-PCR done at airport six hours prior to departure: isolation, followed by losing the amount spent on the air ticket. Not anymore, as carriers to the Gulf are offering a one-time free date-change option to passengers who test positive in an RT-PCR test. However, this waiver is applicable only for rescheduling, not cancellation.
Air India Express sources here said the free date-change offer is available even for passengers who test positive in the rapid RT-PCR test conducted at the airport. Two other airlines flying to the Middle East from Mangaluru International Airport said that the facility was extended to their guests too.
Though this facility was available when Covid cases started surfacing in the country, airlines re-issued the circular two weeks ago in the wake of the rise in cases. "Earlier there were not many cases. But with the Omicron variant proving to be highly infectious, passengers are testing positive even in the 48-hour window after getting a negative RT-PCR report,’’ a source said. Passengers flying to the Middle East need to have two RT-PCR tests, done outside 48 hours before the flight and again six hours before departure at the airport.
Sources said though many know of this facility and have made use of it, there are many who are not aware and have lost money due to cancellations.
Rohan D’Souza, who had to fly to Dubai on January 12, tested positive a day before and called the airline only to be told that cancelling and rescheduling would cost him almost the same. The mistake he made was not informing the airline that he had tested positive.
If the passenger reschedules his flight, there will be no charges for the same booking class available even if the fare is higher. However, a difference of fare will be charged in case of higher booking class. In case of a refund, cancellation fee will be applicable. The passenger has to email his Covid positive certificate to the respective airlines at the earliest.
As of now, the fare difference for rescheduling is Rs 200-Rs 750, while the cancellation fee starts at Rs 2,500 per passenger.