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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ticket refund from airlines

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HCMC – I received an email from an airline in Singapore today telling me about their new refund policy.

They informed me about two things. Firstly, I am entitled to a voucher, not only equaling 100% of the ticket price, but 120% of the price, and valid for one year. Those who have agreed to the previous 100% refund will still receive an additional 20%. This means that from now until April 2021, I can book any of their flights, in accordance with the new voucher.

Secondly, if I want the money back, they will return it to the credit card I used to buy the tickets.

And the above applies to tickets issued before March 15 and flying from January 23 to May 31 of this year, but the flight was canceled. This is the period that Singaporean airlines are not flying abroad, due to government orders to combat Covid-19.

Naturally, accepting any of that, you must wait; and the waiting time can be up to 14 weeks. But, for me, it doesn’t matter. It’s okay.

They also apologized for being a little late in informing me about the new refund I was entitled to. This has been decided last week, but because they have so many customers it has to be distributed slowly, and it’s my turn today.

I must add that, 15 days ago, they sent me an email saying I was entitled to a refund, but with  a voucher equal to 100% of the ticket price, valid for one year. There was no offer for a refund in cash.

Why, now, are they changing their policy? This proves they “became” extremely interested in customers, and want to keep customers for the long term. In terms of marketing, this is a wise thing. Because getting new customers is quite difficult and more expensive than keeping existing customers.

In fact, this policy is being offered by all three commercial airlines in Singapore.

For sure, the decision to change the refund policy was also required by the Singaporean Government, because every company is to receive the Government’s bailout. Airlines will receive more than S$750 million in the S$48.4 billion bailout package from the Government. And the Government of Singapore always wants to maintain the image of a reliable, friendly country.

Naturally, customers welcome the decision. On TripAdvisor, a travel site, one wrote: “I also received information from the airline… about flying before March 31, 2021. And this morning, I called the airline and they suggested I could even receive cash back. And I accept. I’ve always been a fan of this airline…. When it is safe to fly, I will not hesitate to buy a ticket from the airline again… ”

Meanwhile, how about Vietnam’s air carriers?

A member of the French-Vietnamese Facebook group sent a status report saying that she had received an email from Vietnam Airlines saying, since the flight she booked has been canceled, she can now ask for a new flight whenever she wants in 2021. But she has to book again before December 31 this year.

That is good, especially compared to another Vietnamese airline that has “maltreated” customers about refunds due to airline flights being cancelled. Also on Facebook, a customer of that company said he had contacted the company by email about a refund, but received no answer. Then, patiently, he called, and it was only in the 100th time … that someone took his call, and said the airline agreed to refund the ticket with a voucher worth 100% of the ticket price, valid for one year!

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