With domestic flights opening up with one-third capacity effective 25th May 2020, travellers are looking for reassurance on refunds in case they need to cancel their flights amid COVID-19 concerns. To reduce this travel anxiety, AI-based travel app ixigo has announced the launch of ‘ixigo assured’ fares - allowing a full refund guarantee up to Rs 5000 for cancellations made by travellers, for any reason whatsoever, prior to their date of departure.
The ixigo assured option is available on all new bookings made on or after 22nd May with departure dates within 90 days of the booking date. This move is expected to benefit millions of travellers who may be unsure of booking for a future travel date due to uncertainty on various fronts and seek the flexibility of cancelling their domestic travel plans starting from a price point of just Rs 399 per passenger.
Commenting on the launch, Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder & CEO, ixigo said, “With the current pandemic situation and movement restrictions in containment/red zones, there is an increase in anxiety and uncertainty among travellers with respect to planning their next trip. The constantly evolving state-specific rules complicate this calculus further. Our recent travel sentiment survey, with over 5000 respondents, revealed that nearly 50% of air travellers planning to book a flight in the next few weeks are looking for a fully-refundable booking option for their travel. ixigo assured is the product anxious travellers were craving for.”
Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founder & CTO, ixigo added, “We conceived, partnered, developed and launched this product within a record span of 3 weeks, as soon as it became evident that travellers would increasingly face a dilemma while booking their next trip as soon as flights resume. As travel demand recovers, we want our users to feel confident and safe and give them a flexible, stress-free booking experience.“
In addition to full refunds of up to Rs 5000, ‘ixigo assured’ also provides a travel insurance cover for trip delays (up to Rs 10,000) and baggage loss (up to Rs 5,000). “ixigo assured” also provides emergency accidental hospitalization for Rs.3 Lakh Sum Insured and medical emergency evacuation for Rs 1 Lakh Sum Insured. The convenience fees and ixigo assured fees charged by ixigo shall remain non-refundable, and such refunds shall be credited directly into the bank accounts of travellers within 15 days of making a claim. ixigo assured can be availed by passengers in the age group of 2 - 70 years.
Though most domestic airlines have been offering credit shells or waivers on rebooking and modification charges over the last three months, there is still a need for options that protect travellers who may want to cancel their flight bookings and avoid heavy penalties on cancellations. ‘ixigo assured’ will benefit travellers who are uncertain of their travel plans at the lowest price point in the entire OTA market. Other zero cancellation or free cancellation products in the market are currently at least three times more expensive.