Worldwide, people have been grounded for months and many are ready to take to the air once more now that restrictions are being lifted.
As more potential passengers get their double-jabbed certificates, they begin to once again take an interest in what flights are available for them, maybe for a holiday, maybe to visit friends and relatives.
But airline performance as they attempt to restart their schedules, flying to countries with ever-changing border restrictions, is still uncertain.
Many passengers have had flights cancelled at the last minute and then experienced difficulty in obtaining refunds from airlines.
Having to pay for time-limited Covid-19 tests before the flight can also prove expensive – sometimes more than the ticket itself – which is galling if the flight is then suddenly cancelled.
Now, airlines around the world have come up with a solution which allows passengers to secure a ticket with just a 15% deposit when booking. The rest of the fare is then payable much closer to the flight date.
Passengers who cancel just lose their deposit.
The option is being explored after consumers made clear their dissatisfaction with airlines delaying refunds when flights are cancelled due to the pandemic.
According to a recent survey, 62% of travellers are likely to opt for the new “pay when you fly” (PWYF) option in summer 2021 to reduce exposure to the dreaded refund process.
“We’re entering a critical phase for travel’s recovery, and our industry needs to build confidence at every opportunity,” said Bart Tompkins, managing director of Amadeus, one of the world’s leading travel technology companies.
“We believe PWYF will drive traveller confidence, encouraging travel planning and booking even in an uncertain environment with changing Government restrictions,” he said.
“The new approach may also result in higher value bookings because travellers only need to make the balance of the payment when it’s clear the flight will depart as planned.”
According to reports, at least one major European carrier has taken the lead with providing the PWYF option and may implement it by the end of the summer.
Surveys indicate that if airlines offered a PWYF option, the benefits that would most appeal to passengers were: ‘No need to go through the refund process if my flight is cancelled,’ and, ‘The money stays in my bank until I travel’.