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Highest and lowest cancellation costs

Highest and lowest cancellation costs

Travel agents charge high fees, aside from enormous amounts airlines deduct anyway, when you cancel tickets. Salman Khan endorsed Yatra's charges are nearly double the average rate

In making early bookings to save on ticket prices, we often arbitrarily pick a date to go on vacation. We look online for the cheapest fares three months ahead and hit book. If Yatra is offering you a better price than Expedia, even if the difference is just Rs100 per ticket, you just go for it. After all, why wouldn’t you pick the cheaper option? In the ensuing months, though, it may become apparent that you aren’t able to travel on the day. Perhaps your boss is on holiday or a friend informs you he’s getting married on the same days. Now here is where the mode you used to book your flight becomes important. Picking the wrong website could cost you big time if you need to change or cancel your booking.

Already steep charges
Airlines have steep charges if you choose to reschedule or cancel altogether. For example, Indigo charges a Rs1000 cancellation fee per sector, while its rescheduling fee is Rs750. So if you book four tickets, at say, Rs2500 per ticket, you’d lose Rs4000 in cancelling them. You’d also lose the transaction fee, depending on where you booked the flights. If you (wisely) made the booking on the official Indigo website, you’d lose a further Rs400. So that would be over 40% of the cost of your tickets (also see example below). With an Indigo flight, this is as low as your cancellation fee could be for four tickets. But if you’re booking flights on multiple airlines, travel agents are inescapable. By picking the wrong one, Yatra, in this case, you could have lost a further Rs2000 just on cancelling the tickets. Here’s why:

For the following example, we randomly picked July 23rd as the date to check the price for four tickets from Mumbai to Goa. We got the same price – Rs10,252 – everywhere we looked. Different booking fees eventually made some portals more expensive than others, but, as expected, booking directly from the airline made most sense. Here’s how much of your money you’d lose with each portal if you were to cancel or reschedule.

Booked on Total cost (booking fee) Cancellation fee Rescheduling fee
Indigo Rs10,652 (Rs400) Rs4400 Rs3400
Expedia Rs10,972 (Rs720) Rs4750 Rs3720
MakeMyTrip Rs10752 (Rs500) Rs5600 Rs4600
Goibibo Rs10,852 (Rs600) Rs5600 Rs4600
Cleartrip Rs10,972 (Rs720) Rs5920 Rs4920
Yatra Rs10,972 (Rs720) Rs6720 Rs4920

Alarming amendment fees
Online ticketing agents have what they call amendment fees. A seemingly unnecessary charge over and above what the airline already charges you. So if you had made the above booking with Cleartrip or Yatra, instead of the official Indigo website, your cancellation outgo would be higher by Rs500 per sector per passenger with Yatra and Rs300 with Cleartrip. To the best of our knowledge, Expedia is the only online ticketing agent that does not charge you an additional fee to cancel or reschedule a ticket, though MakeMyTrip has lower booking fees. So if you are unsure of whether you’ll be taking the flight, use Expedia if you must use an online travel agent. Else just stick to the airline’s portal.

Here is a table of the cancellation/rescheduling charges of the top five travel agents online.

Company Cancellation (per sector) Rescheduling (per sector)
Expedia Rs0 Rs0
Make My Trip Rs250 Rs250
Goibibo Rs250 Rs250
Cleartrip Rs300 Rs300
Yatra Rs500 Rs300

Also remember that this charge is per sector per passenger. So if you happen to be on a multi-sector flight, your cancellation charges will also multiply by that number.

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