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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Comments

  1. I have managed to get a full refund for the 3 flights Iberia has canceled. It has been painful, with lawsuit mentions, request to speak with the manager and so on, but got my money back.

  2. Sorry, this is OT, but it relates to another middle eastern airline, Emirates.
    I have just spoken to Emirates about the cancellation of my itinerary to Singapore and then on to Thailand before returning to the UK. They insist that the cancellation is not voluntary (ie on Emirates’ part) and so they are insisting on charging the cancellation fee of £100 pp….or I get the full value if I agree to accept the voucher. Seems like a cynical ploy to keep business – but does their insistence to charge the cancellation fee seem correct?

    • Lady London says:

      Even if you bought a ticket with a deduction If you cancel there is no deduction if they’ve cancelled or amended it on their side and you are using your ec261 right to demand all your money back.

      Call them again and request all your money backcash no voucher no deductionz

      If they still refuse tell your credit card co and ask for refund under s75 or chargeback

      • Many thanks Lady London – I will call back and see what they say.
        RB

      • Lady London says:

        If it’s you cancelling because you want to and not following a change by them then yes you have to lose whatevers in the conditions you bought on
        That’s why people are letting things run and watching till the airline changes or cancels then calling to demand a complete refund without defuctions

        • Yes, for that reason I waited until EK cancelled the flights, which they have now done. I think it’s incredible that they still insist on charging the cancellation fee – in fact what’s worse, in a way, is that their website form states that refunds of non-refundable tickets will be for unused taxes only..
          I would have thought such cynicism was practised by these “5 star airlines”…but that was until I had to do IT skullduggery with BA’s Refund Travel Voucher Form!!

          • Lady London says:

            Go for it. EC261 is a statute (law). this means it overrides the terms and conditions you bought your ticket from the airline under. You are entitled to choose- you not the airline – if you have your whole ticket refunded, take a close-by rerouting, or if you choose to have the same ticket but at a later date that suits you.

            All these will suit people at different times and situations.
            Currently you do not have to take a voucher – the airlines are trying to get this made possible at their wish. So if you think you want a refund and if your case qualifies, now is the time to do it

            If they refuse again then straight to your credit cardco..

            Let us know how you get on.

          • UPDATE: So the Emirates call centre, and their Budapest-based supervisor refused to back down and insisted that the ticket conditions would apply even in the event of EK cancelling the flight. An interesting admission from the supervisor was that this was the policy that had been agreed by “UAE-based management” and regardless of any EU regulation.
            I spoke to Amex and gave all the details – I was a little disappointed that the member of the relevant department wasn’t as clued up as I would have thought. I have lodged the claim and for some reason managed to agree to sending them a copy of the EC261 Notice that is on EK’s website to substantiate my claim.

            Anway, one clear advantage of going straight to your credit card company in this instance, is that they will credit your account within 48 hours (and make any adjustment should their investigation merit it in due course) which is about a ZIllion hours less than having to wait for the refund from EK.

            Thanks Lady London and all for your help!

    • Credit card charge back. Amex are particularly good at this.

      • Stuart says:

        Not for me, they wont. Had separate trips booked with LH and KL. Both has flights cancelled. LH will not answer any request. KL will only give a voucher. AMEX will not do any charge back. Spoke to 2 AMEX people and both will do nothing.

    • Riccatti says:

      This is a funny argument on the side of Emirates: turning things upside down.

      In that case, next time you call an airline you can request fare conditions/cancellation fee to be waived — because your cancellation is not voluntary and was imposed on you by some life events… such as missing a bus.

  3. I called QR’s Doha number on Sunday and got through in less than 5 minutes. Had a helpful agent who changed our dates to January 2021, kept the ARN-DOH-SIN itinerary identical in terms of flight numbers/times. New e-tickets arrived while still on the phone. Zero cost, even though the new flights were around £200 per person more. Seat assignments carried over. I’d been worried as QR’s Facebook & Twitter feeds were amass of disgruntled customers saying they couldn’t get through to anyone! Very happy now but think I was lucky!

  4. @alastairtravel says:

    From a corporate perspective this is becoming a huge issue as endorsed by snorks travel above.

    Once some airlines have others refusing refunds they are all trying it – numbers increasing every hour.

    AF/KL not even considering a manual refund process right now.

    • Lady London says:

      Go straight to credit card for s.75 or chargeback if you can prove you’ve made a reasonable attempt.

      this is important in case the airlines take advantage of the general panic by getting legislators to agree they can force you to take vouchers when they are obliged to give you a cash refund if you choose.

      I understand and sympathise with the situation the airlines are in and especially sympathise with their staff. But we’re all in this together, we will all have to get through this togehter and IMV the airlines are in a better position to get finance than many of their customers. They will survive this. Many of their customers may be wiped out and never recover.

  5. Emirates are refusing refunds even under EC261!

  6. I need to know if my flight is cancelled for the 23rd of April. And where do I claim and find another flight on that date

    • Shoestring says:

      is this with BA? go to Manage My Booking to check status

      if cancelled, use the Workaround thread above to get a full refund or ask BA to re-ticket you

    • Lady London says:

      If your flight isn’t showing on your booking as cancelled and you think it might be, it’s a good idea to try to book a seat on your same flight. If the flight is full or if it’s not showing in the schedule, watch very closely as that will probably mean it’s cancelled, just for some reason the airline isn’t able to advise you it’s cancelled yet, perhaps due to their staff being overloaded.

      If you don’t want to pay whatever the terms of your ticket said about cancellation, which means you lost everything in some cases, then you hve to wait until the airline cancels any part of your ticket or changes something significantly on your ticket. AT that point you can invole your EU261 rights torequest a full refund, or a reschedule of your same itinerary. Which option you pick is your choice, not their airline’s.

  7. Sam Collins says:

    This information is what they they are advising the travel industry.

    QR is not offering full refund as per their current policy.

    I hope this is not a case of one rule for direct bookings, and one for those who book through Tour Ops / Travel Agents.

    • :Lady London says:

      Go to your card company and request s.75 or chargeback if they have cancelled or changed something significantly on your booking and you want to refund the booking. Make a reasonable effort to have them refund first – date, time, who you spoke to, what they said, and Ipersonally would try up to 3 times as some agents are stressed and less well trained. If you get nowhere then don’t hang around contract your credit card comapny. (Charge cards may possibly do chargeback but not s.75).

      Think carefully if you really want to refund the whole booking, or did you get a veyr good price that might increase in the future. If you still want to travel in that case, think about exercising your right to take the whole ticket on a later date same itinerary instead.

      If you booked through an agent then likely you shoujld pay their admin fee for any changes and personally I wouldn’t have any problem with this.

      • Sam Collins says:

        Nope, I work for a travel company trying to get refunds from QR for our clients!

        I’m just hoping that the updated policy is winging our way and will be valid asap!

        • Lady London says:

          Btw: the EU261 rule only applies for Qater tickets, if the ticket departs from UK/Europe.

          If the ticket departs from outside of Europe, then as QR is not a European airline, EU261 doesnot apply.

          I would advise any customer of a travel agency whose ticket on QR does depart from Europe/UK, if they get this answer from their travel agency, go straight to ctheir cdredit card company fors.75 orchargeback as they have been refused their right to a refund under EU261.

          However think carefully if you do have a good itinerary at a good price, would you not want to just take a much later date on the same itinerary instead? It might costa lot morethan you paid in future, and if you just move the date now instead of taking a refund, you’d not pay any increase inthe fare. Soif you were to travel in April or May, on a lot of routes Decemberwouldmostly be more expensive, so you could choose to switch your dtae to December instead of taking a refund and you wouldnt pay the norrmal December higher price.

  8. Reeferman says:

    To follow-up on my Qatar issue
    A cancelled flight on the return leg resulted in a 6.5 hour delay and my request for a full cash refund. I phoned Qatar who refused to provide this and told me to email the request.
    This I did. They have just replied with a “cut and paste” job that pretty-much ignores the question but certainly doesn’t give the approval for the refund.
    I’ve gone now to S75 as Qatar is behaving appallingly – and illegally!

  9. Rob et al, thanks for putting QR related article up. 10% seems not much for economy but something to consider. I might not mind the voucher now as long as it can be refunded quickly honestly.

    I’ve got question as in my case, my credit card was charge £0.87 and the rest of the flight ticket was charged to a gift card from lastminute.com. I am not sure if I can do anything with s75 via my amex? As so far there is no response back from both airline and agency (understandably they are both very busy) but I also need a bit of clarification as well. Any advices are much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Vit

    • Yes, in my situation my outbound flight has been cancelled (as the flight number has been changed) even it was marked as “changed to date/time of travel” by agency.

    • Charlieface says:

      Yes no prob, but the value of the total return ticket must be more than £100 before the voucher is taken off.

  10. Anybody know how to get a cash refund from KLM? Have a flight cancelled that leaves next week. They will only give a voucher, as said on KLM webpage and calling the Flying Blue Platinum Service Line.

    If BA are giving a refund when calling them then they are treating customers better than KLM.

    • Charlieface says:

      Credit card S.75 claim

    • Harry T says:

      I hope you get a refund. I can only advise emphasising your legal right to a full cash refund.

      Ironic that BA isn’t exactly playing nice (online system duping people into voucher refunds) but still appears to be one of the more fair players right now.

  11. Ben Edwards says:

    Hi

    I have gone onto the QR website and I cannot see anything about getting a full refund if my flight is cancelled , it’s only offering a credit . The statement in your topic above advises you can get a full refund

    Can u share the link to this as my flight has been cancelled but there saying u have to have a credit , I want to refer them to the statement / link to help my case

    • Lady London says:

      Read posts here and you will undersatnd.
      Airlines’s ticket conditions and refusal to give a cash refund ifthey’ve changed a flight significantly on your ticket or cancelled anything on it, are overridden by EU261/EC261 law. That law says *you* not the airline can choose if you take a refund or if you accept a schedule change etc.

      Your credit card under UK law is co-responsible with the airline for fulfilling what you bought and its conditions (and statutes governing that). That means as you have a right to a refund, if the airline refuses and they are a European airline or any airline if you ticket departs from Europe, then if the airline refuses a refund that you’re entitiled to you can ask your credit card com;pany under s.75 for the refund instead.

      look on moneysavingexpert.com for details – orjust call your credit cardcompany but you must have made a reasonable effort to get a refund from your airline or travel agent first.
      You would still owe any travel agent admin fees if you bought via an agent though.

      • Lady London says:

        PSEU261 only helps you get a refund if it’s the airlineschanging things, not you. If you’re changing because you don’t feel like travelling etc. or your plans have changed then the terms of the airline apply. If however the airline makes a changes form their side, that’;s when your EU261right to accept their change, reschedule your date of travel to a later date ahead that suitsyou, or your choce to have a refund ofthe whole ticket instead(only part of the ticket has to be changed for this) , kicks in.

        • Charlieface says:

          @LL: technically not correct as the credit provider is jointly and severally liable, so legally you can go straight to them at the first instance. But all credit cos will kick up a fuss if you do.

    • Kenand says:

      The statement from Qatar about refunds is on their Twitter feed. @qrsupport.

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