10 point checklist before booking your next domestic flight

Govt of India has indicated that domestic flights may begin from May 25th in a staggered manner. While more details on this order and airline's plan to resume domestic flight is yet to emerge, if you are looking to book a flight, then there're several things you should be considereing,
Here's 10 point checklist you should worry about before booking a flight.

  1. Schedule: Will there be flights between origin and destination you wish to travel? Given that reopening will be in phases, you need to be doubly sure that cities you have to go is being served and probability of flights being cancelled again is very low. Government can go back on its word or introduce new restrictions any time, so some level of assurance is better before spending 10-20k on a ticket. Spicejet for example is accepting bookings even for May 22nd, full 3 days prior to Govt suggested May 25th. Will they operate the flight, will you get refund, no one knows- they are desperate for any cash.
  2. ePass requirements: Would you need a pass from home state and destination state? What will be the validity of such pass- Get ticket first and then apply for pass or apply for a pass and then get a ticket?
  3. Quarantine Rules: Will there be a mandatory institutional quarantine upon arrival? Where? In arrival city or close to your final destination? What would be the cost of such quarantine (paid ones). Would your neighbors/colleagues be scared of you after your travel?
  4. Last mile connectivity: How to reach your home from airport-  Will there be buses/auto/taxi? What would be the cost of such transport? Have to factor flight timings and local curfews also (example if flight is at 8 AM but you need to reach airport by 5 AM while there's curfew till 7 AM in the city, what to do? Will there be exemptions)?
  5. Ticket Refund rules: What would happen to your ticket money if you develop some symptoms between now and travel date? Would you qualify for refund/free reschedule? 
  6. Risk profile: What are the chances of catching infection during the journey? Do you want to desperately take that chance? Do you have good immunity?
  7. Preparing for the new normal: Do you have everything airline is asking you to bring? Almost all airlines will make it mandatory for passengers to bring their own masks. You may be asked to bring your own food etc. Chennai airport is not providing any trolleys now, so many other changes are being formulated.
  8. Your plan B: Say you manage to reach the destination but not able to get a return flight, or your flight is cancelled for some reasons on the day of departure, or say one person is found positive so everyone on the flight is sent to isolation ward- are you prepared for these eventualities?
  9. Ticket Price: Ticket prices are very likely to be high during initial days as airlines anticipate high demand. You've to decide if you have to pay this high price or wait for a week for tickets to get cheaper or try other alternatives such as train or postpone your journey for a while.
  10. Airline's financial health: If you're booking for a travel date several weeks from now and the airline is known to be have severe financial crisis, you might lose all your money if airline goes bankrupt before your travel date.
Happy journey.

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