It’s a tough competition out there to see which airline will be least responsive in failing to give customers the refund to which they are legally entitled for a cancelled flight.
The winner is probably Iberia. I have not heard from a single reader who has managed to receive a cash refund from Iberia so far.
British Airways, as we have covered numerous times, will happily give you your cash refund if you call up, but is doing all it can online to block cash refunds and ‘persuade’ customers to take vouchers. You can at least claim the voucher though.
Qatar Airways has also come in for substantial criticism. Qatar was actually ahead of the pack in terms of offering a voucher on all flights, including ones booked before the crisis broke. (Most airlines, including BA, were refusing to even allow changes to existing bookings.)
After offering its guarantee, Qatar Airways appeared to drop the ball. I received multiple complaints from readers whose requests for a voucher were being turned down – even though it was company policy, with no exceptions – as well as readers whose flights from the EU were cancelled and wanted a cash refund instead.
Qatar Airways put out a statement this morning to address the issue.
It has improved its offer. If your flight is still operating but you choose to cancel for a Qatar Airways voucher, you will receive a 10% bonus on top of what you paid.
Qatar Airways has also confirmed that a full refund is possible for anyone whose flight has been cancelled, although customers are asked to wait 30 days for them to work through the backlog. You also have the option of taking a voucher with the 10% bonus.
Qatar Airways is probably the biggest global airline still operating a decent schedule. As of today it is still serving 70 cities worldwide and is adding bigger aircraft onto many routes as it picks up the slack left by other airlines cancelling flights.
Here is the full wording on refunds:
“Qatar Airways has amended its ‘Travel with Confidence’ and flight disruption policies to give customers even more flexibility. Customers who choose to receive a travel voucher for future use will receive the full unutilized value of their ticket plus an additional 10% of the fare cost as an added value offer. Customers also have the option for a refund back to the form of payment they used when purchasing their tickets – the administration of this refund will take up to 30 days to process. Vouchers for future travel continue to be the most expedient way of helping customers while we manage the backlog.
“We hugely appreciate the understanding and patience of our customers during a time of unprecedented call volumes and call centre closures due to government restrictions around the world.”