UAE expats cancel flight tickets, pay more than double to travel during summer due to Go First crisis

Travellers are wondering whether to cancel their tickets or wait for more communication from the airline


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Thu 11 May 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 May 2023, 2:52 PM

As summer holidays are approaching, many people have made bookings with Go First to travel to their hometowns in India. However, with the current situation of the airline, many are left wondering what to do with their plans.

Some people have already gone ahead and cancelled or rescheduled their flights, mentioning fear of cancellation and exorbitant airfares. Others are still waiting to see how the situation will unfold before rescheduling their travel.

Rajeev Chekkawar had booked a Go First flight from Dubai to Kannur for his wife and children towards the end of June and is planning to reschedule their travel, complaining of the uncertainty surrounding the airline. “As the situation remains unpredictable, I have told my travel agent to find cheaper options. But the ticket fare is over Dh1,500 for a direct flight,” said Chekkawar, who had earlier made the Go First booking at Dh650 a ticket.

“However, we have to fly this summer due to family engagement as [there were] travel restrictions in previous years. I will explore other options like travelling via Muscat or other cities,” said Chekkawar, as he is waiting for a refund from Go First.

Mohammed Asim, a sales executive, said that he will have to cancel his trip this summer vacation due to high airfares. “I had been planning to book the ticket on Go First last month as the airfare to Mumbai was about Dh600 during the end of June, I was expecting a little rise. But considering the current fare, the best option is to cancel the trip and plan during the winter vacation,” said Asim mentioning that he has to book a total of five tickets.

No options for tourists

A number of residents who have brought their famiy members over to Dubai for a summer vacation, coinciding with the school break in India, had booked their return by Go First. However, they are now looking out for other cheap options. "I had paid nearly Dh3,800 for three tickets for a round trip. My family was scheduled to return on May 25 as schools are reopening. But due to [the] uncertainty, I booked their travel on May 27 by paying nearly Dh4,000 for Air India Express, tickets" said Bassam Siddique, who had made his first roundtrip booking in the second week of March.

Siddique added that he had not received any notification from the airline regarding the status of his flight. “My friends and travel agents informed me that the flight was likely to be cancelled and refunds would not be issued.”

Travel agents are waiting for refunds and a notice from the airline side as many of their clients couldn’t fly as the flights were cancelled. “We are not yet aware of a full refund as mentioned on their website, nor we are not clear whether it is as a credit note they will issue. I had two passengers [booked] on May 2 and 3 and on the system it shows that a refund has been made, but I have not received money,” said an agent who wished to remain anonymous.

“[There are] people who have booked tickets this month and even in July and August. Right now, people are waiting for a clear picture and have not cancelled their tickets yet. We will have a clear picture only once the airline starts its operations.”

Deepak Kaushik from Rooh travel and Tourism said that they have seen a few people either cancelling their travel plans due to the high cost of airfares to India, or taking a trip to visa-on-arrival countries for Indians. “People who are cancelling their tickets are those who can only afford tickets within Dh800 and have big families. But people belonging to the high-income category are going ahead with their vacation to their hometown as well as a short trip elsewhere.”

“It's a difficult situation for both travellers and the travel industry as we cannot offer a price to suit their budget," he added.


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