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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Don’t Plan Your International Trip Yet; These Countries Have Extended India Flight Ban

Due to the COVID-19 second wave, many countries have banned flights from India. However, as the cases have now started declining in the country, some Indian flyers are anticipating the resumption of international flights. But there are some countries that have extended bans on flights from India. These countries are Canada, Australia, the UAE, the UK, New Zealand, Oman and Nepal. Read on to know more.

Around 7 Countries Have Extended Flight Bans On India
Canada has banned flights from India till June 21, 2021. In the UAE, the ban has been extended till June 14. But UAE nationals with golden residence visas and diplomats adhering to UAE’s pandemic protocols can travel to the UAE from May 31 onwards. Cargo flights can continue to operate. In New Zealand and Nepal, the flight ban from India will remain until further orders.

In Oman, only Omani citizens can enter the country with a COVID-negative report and undergo 14-day institutional quarantine. For other passengers, the flight ban will remain for an indefinite period. In the UK, only those people having residency rights can travel back to the country. The UK had put India on the red list due to the spike in virus cases. Australia has allowed its citizens stuck in India to come back to the country via repatriation flights. However, the ban on commercial flights from India will continue.

Book Tickets Only When International Flights Resume Or Your Money Might Be Stuck With The Airlines
If you’re booking international flights now assuming that flight restrictions will be lifted after a particular date, think before you go ahead. As countries are extending their bans, the ticket amounts for the cancelled flights are getting stuck with the airlines, much like what happened in 2020. Airlines had to cancel many flights during the nationwide lockdown in 2020. They stored the ticket amount for the passengers in the form of ‘credit shells’ for use in future flights, up to a particular date.

A large number of passengers asked for the refund of their ticket amounts. The Civil Aviation Ministry too asked airline companies to give the refunds. After a prolonged time period, some travellers finally got their money back. GoAir and IndiGo have submitted their undertaking to the ministry that they have refunded all the credit shells to the passengers. The same might happen if you book international flights now amid the ban. The wait for the refund can get really long and even futile for a few. Also, the fares of most international flights are much higher than domestic flights. Which means a large chunk of your money will be on hold.

International Flights To UAE Got Cancelled Due To Extension Of Travel Bans
United Arab Emirates (UAE) had earlier banned the entry of travellers from India from April 25 to May 4, 2021. A large number of people planning to fly anticipated that the flights would resume on May 5 and ended up booking their tickets. But then, UAE again extended the ban till May 14. Many airlines are offering rescheduling options to the passengers. According to a Times of India report, a senior airline official has said, “Don’t estimate that since a country has announced flight suspension till a certain date, connectivity will resume after that and book tickets accordingly. It is better to wait for a formal announcement from countries that travel from India has resumed or will do so from a certain date and then book tickets closer to the date of travel.”

Stay Aware Of The Entry Guidelines Of Certain Countries
Travel officials have advised passengers to be aware of the entry guidelines of certain countries. According to the TOI report, Toronto-based Chirag Madhrani had flown to Mumbai to stay with his mother who is recovering from cancer. He booked his return flight via an online portal. The travel portal gave him the Mumbai-Doha-Istanbul-Toronto route. But the Mumbai Airport did not allow him to board the flight to Doha.

Madhrani said, “When I reached Mumbai Airport, I was told that I cannot board the flight to Doha because as per current air bubble regulations only those who are flying further on to Africa or South America and not North America are allowed to transit via Qatar.” He got back his Mumbai-Doha fare from the Indian carrier but is yet to receive the ₹80,000 booking amount from the travel portal.

Amid all these uncertainties, make sure to take your travel decisions wisely.

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