Amid rising complaints from air travellers, the Centre has called a meeting on November 8 with senior officials of all airlines and travel portals to discuss grievances related to 'refund not given after ticket cancellation' and showing every seat as 'paid' despite free web check-in, among others.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, in a media briefing, said about 10,000 complaints related to the airline sector has been received through the government's National Consumer Helpline in the last one year.
About half of the complaints are related to "ticket cancelled but no refund received from airlines". Some of the major grievances also include airlines showing every seat as paid despite free mandatory web check-in, he said.
"These complaints are just a tip of the iceberg. We have called a meeting on November 8 to discuss these consumer grievances with all airlines, travel portals and consumer organisations," Singh said.
While booking a ticket either through airline websites or travel portals, he said, the department has noticed that many of the consumers are not happy with the interface and they think they are "misled and cheated".
"Airlines say 'free web check-in' but 'seats are paid'. Once a traveller has paid the fare and the airlines has issued a confirmed ticket then all the services have to be fair and to the advantage of the consumers. You cannot take consumer to a ride," he said.
The ministry has nothing to do with the business model of airlines or travel companies, but "we are saying that when a consumer has a confirmed ticket then he should not put to further inconvenience in form of these things (paid seat) which are making life difficult for air travellers".
The secretary said there has been expansion in air travel and many people are getting affected due to such trade practices.
"We hope that we will be able to persuade and convince the airlines and travel companies in case they are indulging in some practices which is not fair they should refrain from doing it," he added.