Qatar Airways reiterates its commitment to cash refunds after complaints – and improves its voucher offer

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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 reiterates its commitment to cash refunds

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.”

Government to UK aviation industry: Drop Dead
How I survived a 24 hour flight to Australia in Economy! (Part 2)

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  1. Charlieface says:

    S75 or chargeback is definitely the way forward with these airlines. Only works if you booked direct and the flight is actually cancelled though.

  2. BA is clawing back on vouchers as well as my eligible request was turned down saying I booked with an agent which was completely false. There was nowhere possible to reply back or any reference number to go back to BA. Complete itinerary disappeared from both my app and account. I have since put in a separate complaint which considering the circumstances I doubt will be looked into any time soon.

    • Lady London says:

      Go to your insurance or to your card I for s75 or chargeback if the change was caused by them not you. I wouldn’t bother with waiting how long they take to do this if I am entitled to refund

      • Aston100 says:

        But if your travel insurance has an exclusion for pandemics, then wouldn’t they reject this claim?

        • Lady London says:

          Not everyone has that exclusion though.
          (Though many more will, for future policies sold.)
          Remember the conditions of insurance that apply for you are the ones when you bought the policy. They can’t change it during the period of the policy without your agreement. So make sure if they try, you reject.

          S.75 on credit card or chargeback (if available) is a backstop if you havea legal right to a refind, what you bought is not being provided, and the provider is refusing a cash refund (or trying to push a voucher that you don’t want).

  3. Swiss and TAP are not giving any refunds too…

  4. snorks travel says:

    I work in corporate travel industry and I would normally be able to refund Iberia cancelled flight bookings in my gds. Now they’re making us request our refunds via the IATA BSPlink. This will take up to 3 months to be refunded where it should take 3 seconds to get the money back.

    • Lady London says:

      I think the law eu261 says they have to refund in 7 or 14 days. I would use that to get refund on s75 or chargeback basis via cardco

  5. Re Iberia – a data point on Avios bookings if it is useful to anyone. I yesterday got our redemptions flights with Iberia refunded (or at least, that’s what I was told, the refund will apparently take up to 4 weeks!) with no problem. There was no mention at all about potentially having to take a voucher. I did have to call the Spanish line which deals with Avios bookings though – the normal Iberia CS line refused to deal with it.

  6. Reeferman says:

    That’s good news. The last leg of my Qatar r.t. has been cancelled and a cash refund refused. I’ve emailed to insist on same (at their request) – hopefully this will now receive a positive outcome.

    I’m now battling with Jetstar for some NZ internal flights. They too were only offering a voucher yesterday which is unusable for me given the time restrictions. The flights today been cancelled, so am trying again – otherwise S75 or chargeback it is.

    Has anyone any experience of which route is best to go down – S75 or chargeback?

    • Lady London says:

      s75 better as it’s statutory right for UK cardholders and has some consequential losses coverage

      Chargeback only if your problem isn’t eligible for s75. Chargeback weaker as it is a scheme operated by the card companies not statute. Not all cards actually participate.

      Insurance should be used before either of these where present

      Be aware there are usually time limits within which you have to claim as well

      • Reeferman says:

        Thank you.
        Just had online chat with Jetstar and it is still refusing to give cash refunds for a cancelled flight. Will be speaking with CC Company this afternoon for a S75 claim.

        • Lady London says:

          Remember S.75’s job is to provide the contract (i.e. ticket, if you stil want it). And to ensure that any statutes governming your contract (such asEU261 means you can choose a refund) ensure you get paid out if the contract/set of statutes governming your contract is not being provided by the supplier.

          so you could, instead of asking for a refund under s.75, request the card company to provide a replacement ticket, for example on another carrier to get you home, instead. even if that other ticket would now cost more.

  7. Aston100 says:

    Regarding Qatar voucher.
    It states on the t&cs page: “Validity of the travel voucher is one year from date of issuance.”
    It also states on another related page on their site that you can request a voucher up to 3 days before departure.
    So if I wanted to move my summer 2020 flights back to the same date range but in 2021, am I right in assuming I wouldn’t be able to achieve this given the 3 days before departure rule?
    I don’t want to contact Qatar to ask at this time as it will likely take forever to get through and would be wasting their time right now.


    • Lady London says:

      Don’t mean to be rude but…

      Duh. Up to 3 days before departure means at least 3 days before departure. So you could do now.

      Please let us know if you do get a flight sold a few weeks or months back, for travel in May 2020 rebooked to May 2021. Normally that wouldn’t be possible as you would be restricted to changing the date of your flight to 11-12 months after ticket issue not 11-12 months from the original flight dates

      So if QR is allowing this far ahead rebook on same ticket then I for sure would target them to fly with in future

      • Aston100 says:

        Let me try again.
        I have flights in Summer 2020. I want to fly the same dates but in 2021.
        I can receive a voucher which is good for up to one year from date of issue. However, this needs to be issued up to 3 days before departure of my original flights.
        So, if I want to use the voucher to book the same flights but in summer 2021 (i.e. one year later than the original dates) then I would need to request this voucher on the actual date of my original flight this summer (so that it is valid for 1 year), but due to the rule stating the voucher must be requested up to 3 days before departure, I do not think a voucher is going to work for me.
        Hence looking to see if I’ve misunderstood this, or there is another way.
        Hope that makes it a bit clearer.


        • Stephen says:

          The voucher can be used to book up to 12 months after you cancel. At the time of rebooking you can apply it to travel 361 days from the date of rebooking (ie any date that can be booked at that point). It means you have up to almost 2 years to travel.

          • Aston100 says:

            Thanks, that makes sense to me. But is that your own take on the situation, or is there some specific wording that I missed?

          • Stephen says:

            It was based on my conversation with the call centre.

        • Depends if the t&c say voucher is valid to spend within 1 year, or that new travel must commence within 1 year.

          If the former, then can spend it in 11 months time for travel a further 11 months away, so travel 22 months from now, for example.

  8. Dave Barron says:

    My Avios tickets to Chicago were cancelled on Thursday last week and I phoned BA to request my full refund (Avios, 2×241’s and fees/taxes of £1152). Agent was fab. Avios were refunded immediately. One of my 241‘s has been refunded and extended 6 months. The other 241 still shows as used but despite this has been extended 6 months also. I was advised the refund would take 10 days (I assume 14 calendar days) – does this match the timescales others have experienced with an Avios flight only refund? I’m checking my Amex account daily and although still early days will heave a big sign of relief when the money is refunded – Especially given speculation over BA’s future and ownership.

    • I cancelled my F flight to MIA by phone last Wed and was told both Avios and cash would take up to 10 days to refund (not appeared yet). My cancellation options had been greyed out and the CSA said she could not refund either herself and would have to send it to another dept. However, quite a few people have now said they got the Avios & voucher back very quickly so I am now wondering if I will have to chase this again. I need the voucher back as it’s only valid till Feb 2021 (showing as used but extended in my account).

    • Annabel says:

      Cancelled an open jaw 2-4-1 on 13/3 by phone. 6 days ago got companion voucher back and Avios for outbound flight but still no sign of card taxes refund or return journey Avios. Didn’t want to clog up the phone lines unnecessarily. Hoping it’s in the pipeline.

  9. Genghis says:

    I cancelled a work QR booking nearly 2 weeks ago for a £600 or so loss. Still waiting for the refund. They did say 30 days or so but still. BA was two days.

  10. Sunguy says:

    Just had the most uninspiring saying nothing emails from Iberia – pretty much saying they are stopping flying long haul – except for a few repatriation flights and only flying internally where they are allowed to…..nothing about refunds, or what to do when canceled or anything!

    You just gotta love Iberia Customer Service/Support (or lack there of!).

    • Lady London says:

      Who would book with Iberia unless no choice, or if they had an amazing bargain and you were willing to take the risk of them leaving you in the much and simply saying Iberia procedures mea they are not going to fulfill their legal obligations?

  11. British airways have been great with me. Not even had to phone, they’ve just emailed with cancellation details and advised my CC will be refunded
    Even had Expedia refund hotels that were booked on non refundable rates

    • Lady London says:

      You would have been booked as a BA Holiday then and not as just a flight. Different law for Holidays that punishes them if they don’t refund.

      Fewer or more delayed penalties for denyi g refunds on flights which is why BA’s attempts to deny refunds on flights

      That’s why I know you booked as a Holiday.

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