Airlines obligated to provide cash refund for flight cancellations, says MATTA

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents
(MATTA) has expressed concerns that many passengers and travel agents may not be getting refunds from flight cancellations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MATTA Vice President Air Transportation Shazli Affuat Ghazali said, “Airlines should make cash refunds as their top priority and not issue credit notes which may have little or
no value should they go insolvent. While they are being bailed out or given loans to resume operations post pandemic, they must first pay out cash refunds to restore public confidence.”

“It is a matter of principle to return payments collected from customers for services not rendered due to the current extraordinary circumstances.”

“We are disappointed by the silence of the authorities that include the Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOT) and Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM),” he stated.

The vice-president also stressed that one of MAVCOM’s functions is to provide a mechanism for protection of consumers and the Commission should have stepped forward to announce clearly what measures are in
place or will be introduced for customers to get their money back.

“Airlines should give full refund for payments made by passengers and travel agents without applying standard terms and conditions, which are applicable during normal times but not in a pandemic. Also, airlines should not differentiate between group bookings for Group Inclusive Tour (GIT) and individuals travelling as Free Independent Travellers(FIT),” he said in a statement.

He also pointed out that the same treatment will hasten refunds across the board and recovery post pandemic. Shazli also pointed out that the country needs a strong and decisive leadership to resolve the issue.

“For example, in the United States, airlines have been warned by their Department of Transportation (DOT) that passengers should be refunded promptly when their scheduled flights are cancelled or significantly delayed. Airlines have long provided such refunds in the aftermath of major but localised disasters, and they should continue with the precedents set in handling this pandemic,” Shazli said.

MATTA is looking forward to MOT issuing a directive to airlines that includes:

• Notifying passengers and travel agents that normal cancellation and rebooking
charges do not apply from the time of Covid-19 outbreak until end of pandemic.

• Granting customers the option for cash refund or available credit can be used within
three years. Rebooking allowed within two years from original date of travel.

• Refunds for flight cancellations must be made in full, including ancillary fees paid.

“But if refunds due to travel agents are unfairly withheld, affected passengers will not be getting back their money. It could trigger unnecessary lawsuits which do not auger well for the tourism industry”, concluded Shazli.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Halal Street UK and Alliance Islamic Bank sign MOU to offer tailored programmes to SMEs

Halal Street UK,  an online store for Malaysian products in the United Kingdom has signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding with Alliance...

Shopee and Visa sign five-year strategic partnership to offer MSMEs more digital opportunities

E-commerce platform, Shopee and Visa has announced a five-year regional strategic partnership that will encourage greater participation in Southeast Asia’s digital economy,...

MADX Panel selects IBM Cloud to offer enhanced digital services to Malaysian enterprises

IBM has announced that MADX Panel, the leading Malaysian fintech software solutions company, is implementing IBM Cloud solutions to improve digital services...

AirAsia Digital partners with Google to launch Redbeat Academy

AirAsia Digital, in partnership with Google, has launched the Redbeat Academy as part of their continued digital transformation journey.

Better e-commerce service for higher consumer spending

By Farhan Kamarulzaman, As the usage of e-commerce platforms by Malaysians is on the increase during the Covid-19 period,...

Must read

Unprecedented times with Covid-19, business decision makers prepare for a soft landing and focus on employee retention

By Andrew Seow, Regional General Manager, Rimini Street Southeast Asia and Greater China, The Covid-19 pandemic is attacking health...

Caring for young hearts

By Dr. Marhisham Che Mood, Head of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Centre (PCHC) & Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist, While heart...

PropTech and the pandemic

By Adrian Un, CEO, SkyBridge International Digitisation and PropTech (property technology) have been buzzwords in recent years, but following...

Empower local agility to unlock new business models post-Covid-19

By Scott Hensarling, Senior Client Partner and Tobjorn Karlsson, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry, 2020 has challenged many assumptions...