IATA agents approach Kerala High Court to permit travel agencies to function

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on August 04, 2021

Say the services they provide is very limited due to work-from-home options, causing inconvenience to passengers

IATA Agents Association of India has approached the Kerala High Court seeking to direct the State government to allow them to function their offices and facilitate ticketing and other travel requirements of the air travelling public.

They submitted before the court that they could now cater to the limited needs of travellers as IATA travel agencies have remained closed in the Covid lockdown, with a marginal number of employees working from home.

Travel agencies are not in a position to service the passengers when some of the airlines started country-to-country operations on the basis of the ‘Air Bubble’ agreement – a temporary travel arrangement between two countries aimed at re-starting commercial passenger service in the pandemic times.

Also read: In deep distress, aviation sector needs help

The intention of ‘Air Bubble’, according to the petition, is to facilitate travel of international and domestic passengers either stranded in various places or those undertaking travel due to other compelling reasons including employment, business, unavoidable health reasons.

Some of the international passengers are able to get their tickets through online portals and airline websites when the travel was only to a single destination. However, when multiple destinations are involved, many of the IATA accredited member agencies are approached for booking. But the service provided by IATA agents is very limited due to work-from-home options, causing inconvenience to passengers.

Besides, the imposition of various restrictions in different countries is not available on the online portals or airline websites. IATA accredited travel agents would be abreast with the details and therefore will be able to properly guide the passengers in advance. However, this facility can be offered only if the IATA accredited agents are permitted to operate from their office premises.

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With the increasing number of flights under the ‘Air Bubble’ arrangement, more people have started to travel. However, due to imposition of restrictions in various countries, many of the passengers are facing untold difficulties in undertaking their travel, defeating the intention behind the ‘Air Bubble’ scheme.

Published on August 04, 2021

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