Air ticket change, refund policy for infected areas showing inadequacies


Due to the recent unexpected outbreak of Covid-19 in the Northern region of Vietnam, many air passengers have to cancel or change their trips. However, the current ticket change and refund policies of many airlines might make them lose their money if they become quarantined or isolated. State agencies and airlines, therefore, are advised to adjust these policies to provide the best support possible to the unlucky customers so as to ensure their right.

Air ticket change, refund policy for infected areas showing inadequacies

A month ago, N.T.T.H. (located in Sao Do Ward of Chi Linh City in Hai Duong Province) bought a ticket of Vietjet Air to fly from Hanoi to Da Nang City on February 14. However, because of the Government’s lockdown order for the whole Chi Linh City, she cannot go anywhere now. She has already contacted the ticket agency for an involuntary ticket cancellation and refund, yet received no response.

Similarly, V.Đ.Q. (living in Hai Duong Province) bought 4 tickets of Vietnam Airlines for the trip from Hai Phong City to Ho Chi Minh City on February 7. He contacted the airline to change the flight time since he now has to observe the stay-at-home order by the Government. Sadly, he received no support at all.

These cases are typical examples of customers getting no help regarding ticket refund from airlines because the mentioned routes are still in operation.

Pham Anh Tuyet from SeA Travel Co. (in Hanoi) shared that many ticket buyers who are in Hai Duong Province have asked her company about air ticket cancellation and refund. The only action her company could offer at this time is to send a request to corresponding airlines for ticket refund or free flight time adjustment. Nevertheless, this request has no feedback yet.

Ms. Nguyet commented that the response time of airlines is unsatisfactorily slow, intensely annoying customers.

In some cases, after receiving a greenlight for ticket change, passengers have to pay an unacceptably high sum of money for the gap between the old and new tickets, sometimes nearly as high as buying a new one. Therefore, those ticket buyers decide to forget it and simply buy a new one for the sake of convenience.

Admittedly, there are certain rare cases when airlines give a ticket refund when customers are able to provide all necessary documents. Yet in most situations, ticket purchasers are left uncared for by both airlines and ticket agencies.

Representatives of Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways all confirmed that there is no policy at all as to support for cases when passengers living in lockdown areas cannot fly but the route is still in operation.

However, Vietnam Airlines representative promised to offer financial support to those who can provide sufficient proofs so that they can change to other flights with a more suitable time.

Similarly, Vietjet Air shared that it is now considering each particular case to deliver the most appropriate help.

Head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam Dinh Viet Thang clearly stated that his organization has requested related state agencies to deliver timely instructions to airlines in order to ensure customer’s right.

An expert in the aviation field commented that buying ticket in advance is the encouragement of airlines to help them easily schedule flights accordingly, while staying at home is the observance of citizens to the Government’s order to stop the pandemic outbreak.

Thus, it is not fair if airlines now deliver no aid at all to their unlucky clients. Be it budget airfare or not, it is still money loss when tickets are not refunded. The Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, and related state agencies are advised to quickly issue a proper guidance to airlines to protect consumer’s right.

By Minh Duy – Translated by Thanh Tam

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