MUMBAI: Early in January, Sabina Gomes booked four return tickets to Singapore on the Jet Airways airline website for a cost of Rs 82,400. She and her family were to leave for their ten-day annual summer holiday on May 10, but a month before that, the airline shut down. A few days before Jet operated its last flight, Gomes cancelled the four tickets and sought a refund. “Jet Airways was cancelling a lot of flights back then and given the uncertainty, I mailed the airline requesting cancellation and a refund. The airline acknowledged it and sent me a refund receipt number on April 24,” says Gomes. It’s been two months now, she is yet to receive the payment. Meanwhile, since the hotel and other bookings were paid for, she was forced to buy the four return tickets again, this time barely a month before the date of travel. She bought them on Malaysian Airlines for Rs 1 lakh on a flight that flew to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. Like Gomes, thousands of Jet Airways passengers who booked tickets through the airline website, travel agent or travel portal are awaiting a refund. Those who had paid for their hotels were forced to spend additional amounts to buy pricier last-minute air tickets. Travel agent Rajesh Rateria, owner of Cirrus Travels said, “On January 31, I bought a ticket for personal use on a Jet Airways Amsterdam-Mumbai flight using cash and Jet Miles for personal use. I applied for a refund after the airline shut down. I’m waiting for a refund.” With Jet Airways lenders deciding to start insolvency proceedings against the grounded airline, the big question for those who booked on Jet is, will they get their money back? According to bankers, in case of payments by cards, customers can file a dispute resolution application with their bank. As per the merchant’s agreement with the bank, the bank can debit his account for chargeback if services are not delivered. In the case of Jet Airways, however, it is not clear whether the customers will have the same rights. This is because the National Company Law Tribunal, while admitting the insolvency plea, has placed a moratorium on any payouts. A travel agency professional, requesting anonymity said, “The travel agents who filed refund claims before April 17 have all received 100% refunds. Hopefully they have passed it on to their customers.” On April 17, International Air Transport Association (IATA) suspended Jet Airways from the billing and settlement plan. Since Jet Airways was suspended from IATA financial systems, IATA gave agents up to a month to file offline claims for refunds. “During this time, refund claims would have come from across the world, since Jet had several code share agreements. In this melee, there would be people who have put up claims for more than what is due to them. For instance: asking for a full refund though a part of the itinerary has been flown. It’s Jet’s responsibility to validate each of the refund requests and decide whether it’s a valid one. That’s the stage they are in right now,” he said. But that’s where a host of problems lie. To begin with, Jet Airways has a skeletal staff, and validating these refund claims might not be high on their priority. There is also the question of infrastructure. A source said, “Jet’s contract with IT companies that provide it with ticketing and reservation platforms aren’t functional. It’s not possible to validate the refund claims if the ticketing system isn’t up and running. In short, it will take a long time and even then, many might not receive a refund.” For passengers like Gomes, who purchased the tickets directly from Jet and who cancelled the ticket when the airline’s ticketing system was still functioning, the payment for the refund claim should have been done by now. The airline’s severe cash crunch might have stalled it. The PR company that handles Jet Airways media communications said they won’t be able to get a statement from the airline as there is no one to handle such queries.