Airline ticket refund delays during COVID-19
The unprecedented drop in demand for air travel earlier this year triggered battles for survival for most airlines. One of the steps taken was to suspend refunding customers for unused and unusable tickets. This suspension was applied irrespective of fare-type so affected not only restricted but also fully flexible, refundable tickets including marine fare types. The practices of retroactively changing refund policies post-ticket purchase and the withholding of refunds are undoubtedly open to debate and scrutiny from an ethical business standpoint but these topics are not the subjects of this post.
Whilst we empathised with the airlines’ cash-flow challenges our mutual customer’s businesses had been similarly affected. With hindsight, the impact of the airline’s unsympathetic refund policies on their customers could arguably have been considered with a little more fairminded-ness.
We are pleased that some progress has recently been made as the majority of major network carriers have started to issue refunds and some of the smaller regional and budget carriers are slowly cranking up the process. Though challenges remain whilst some airlines struggle to secure loans and bailouts, Travel Cue will continue to lobby and encourage the airlines to resume normal practices to re-unite customers with their long overdue refunds.