Brace yourself, this is going to be a long post. I know that such outrage is commonplace these days and many a brand has been on the receiving end of communication like this one, but all I can say is sometimes they leave us with no choice. Note that this will be updated if we see any development.
Here is a clear timeline of events:
Varun and I work at a Creative Agency in Mumbai. On 2nd of December, 2013, we were apprised of a very important meeting in New Delhi on 5th December, 2013. Excited and focussing primarily on our presentation for the said meeting, we did not spend too much time booking the tickets. MakemyTrip offered us the lowest fare (they say, in commerce, you are only as good as your last deal) and we were only too happy to accept a return fare of Rs. 37,644 only. Yes, when market forces control airfare prices, low-cost remains but a pneumonic.
Over three days, we diligently worked on our presentation for the meeting. The real fun begins on the day of the flight.
Thursday, 5th December 2013, 8am
Due to some unforeseen reason, I missed my flight. While Varun was mid air, I contemplated my options. I checked the fare for other flights so I could attend the 2pm meeting, but there were none within human affordability limits, so I waited for Varun to land to plan our next move.
Thursday, 5th December 2013, 1030am
I spoke with Varun and decided that it was best to cancel my return ticket before worrying about anything else. We completed the presentation and Varun headed for the meeting alone while I went about the task of cancelling my return ticket.
First, I checked our the e ticket to check if it was refundable or not. Here it is:
Clearly says that both legs are refundable. Cancellation rules say that you can refund a ticket up-to three hours from boarding. I called the MakemyTrip call center at 0124-4628747 to try and cancel my return-leg ticket.
The gentleman on the phone tells me this:
“Sir, since the return leg ticket has also been booked on the same PNR, you will need to call the Airline (GoAir) to process the cancellation. After the ticket has been cancelled, you can claim a refund on our website”
Note that there is absolutely no mention of my ticket being non-cancellable (A term I invented for this post, read on and you will understand its importance and relevance)
It is around this time that I call the airline (GoAir) and I am clearly tell that since this was a ‘special fare return ticket’, I cannot cancel this ticket.
I call makemytrip again and this is where the real fun begins. This is what I am told:
Sir, you can cancel both yours and Varun’s ticket together but not just your ticket but you can only do it through the airline.
Post which, I call Varun and we decide that we will cancel both our return legs and book another flight for him, which made financial sense. I call GoAir again and I am told that I am NOT ALLOWED to cancel anything as the Mumbai-Delhi leg has passed and partial cancellation is not allowed.
If partial cancelation was not allowed, why not tell me earlier. Why make up rules?
I call MakeMyTrip again, asking whether I was informed that I could not cancel the return leg while i was booking the ticket. They say it is clearly mentioned in my e-ticket. I trust them and keep the phone down. But before I do that, they say something special:
“Try calling the airline, if they decide to cancel your ticket, let us know and we will refund your fare”
Massive confidence in the rules, eh!
Saturday 7th December, 2013
Varun comes back from Delhi using the return flight, shows me the e-ticket where the only thing pertinent to our case is this:
Some fine print this! The strange thing is this: while booking the return tickets why would you show both the sectors as refundable and not mention there that they need to be cancelled all at once?
I have a few other questions for MakeMyTrip:
- Why did you tell me that both our tickets could be cancelled if they cannot be?
- Why did you not tell me the sector issue so that I could escalate it at the right time?
- Why did you write ‘refundable’ on both legs separately?
An alternate case in point: GoIbibo
Yesterday, Varun had the same issue with GoIbibo. He had booked a return ticket. He managed to cancel one leg through one call to GoIbibo and it got done in 15 minutes. Do rules differ for different OTAs?
PS: With all the above information, we called MakeMyTrip today 10th December 2013. After being put on hold for a long time, we were given robotic answers like:
What can we do now? Dates have passed
Can you name the executive who told you that both yours and Varun’s ticket can be cancelled?
You will get some taxes back, just apply for no-show with the airline
Please give us 48 hours before escalating it.
I strongly feel this is not an escalation, I wrote this so that a lot of you thinking of booking at MakeMyTrip think twice. As for me and other frequent business travellers from my company, we are going to find it very difficult to bring us to book from MakeMyTrip again.
To MakeMyTrip, I hope you fix this soon. Really hope.