Is it safe to book travel from 15th April?

Airlines and railways are accepting bookings from 15th April. I got multiple queries asking if it is safe to book a ticket post April 15th.

Here's the answer for you.
Fact 1: Airlines haven't reopened booking- they had only stopped accepting bookings for lock down period.

Airlines stopped accepting booking till April 14th due to lock down. They hadn't blocked it altogether and then re-open from April 15th. So it was possible to book a ticket on April 21 even when nation wide lockdown was announced in March last week.

Fact 2: Booking a ticket is not a guarantee of flying
Airlines accept future booking hoping everything works fine. However lockdown may get extended, airline may cancel your flight, so the risk still remains. Your booking a ticket will only give some cash to airline without any guarantee of actual travel.

Fact 3: No refund
Airlines are currently not refunding money on cancelled flight. It is causing big trouble to thousands of passengers. If you book now, be ready to bid goodbye forever to your money. Airlines at best will offer some credit shell/reschedule option with half dozen rules on their usage.

Additional risks:

  • Some airlines are extremely low on cash and have failed to pay salaries on time. It is not clear how long they will survive without govt/investor support.
  • There's no sign of corona virus getting under control as of now. At least another month it is unlikely world will be back to normal. Best to hold on to your plans and cash.

Given the situation, I would not recommend booking flights for immediate future unless you face following
- You need to travel desperately- you are ok to trade off some money (no refund, only reschedule/credit shell) against a remote chance of traveling asap
- You have to travel anyway, now or later- If lock-down doesn't get lifted you are OK with reschedule option

For all avoidable travel, I would say wait till end of April for clarity before making any fresh booking.

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