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Emirates Airline promises to pay all refunds - in full - by August

Wendy Knowler Consumer journalist
With almost half a million refund requests pending to process, the airline is now handling 150,000 refunds a month.
With almost half a million refund requests pending to process, the airline is now handling 150,000 refunds a month.
Image: Emirates

Good news for those who booked and paid for Emirates flights, only to have Covid-19 destroy all their travel plans — Emirates Airline has beefed up its promise to issue full refunds by the end of August.

While many airlines which have been crippled by the pandemic have limited their recourse to ticket holders to a postponement of their flights or a credit voucher, two weeks ago Emirates announced that it would issue full refunds on request.

The airline had cautioned that given the numbers involved, those refunds would take a long time to process. But on Wednesday, Emirates announced that it had boosted its “back-end procedures and resourcing” in order to clear the refunds backlog by early August.

With almost half-a-million refund requests pending to process, the airline has restructured its back-end procedures and boosted resourcing in order to ramp up from handling 35,000 refunds a month pre-Covid-19, to 150,000 a month.

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said: “It is a difficult time for us, as it is for all airlines. We are dipping into our cash reserves by being proactive in processing refunds, but it is our duty and responsibility.”

“We would like to assure our customers and trade partners that we will honour refunds, and that we are doing our best to speed things up,” said Clark.

“The situation was dynamic in the early weeks of the pandemic, but we have since rewritten our Covid-19 waiver policy into a simple, globally-applied approach that puts customers first.

“We sincerely hope that our customers and trade partners will choose to book and fly with Emirates again at a later time. For those who have opted to hold their tickets or exchange it for travel vouchers, we look forward to welcoming you on our flights again soon. Announcements will be made whenever we are able to resume services.”

Customers who wish to request travel vouchers or refunds can do so via an online form on Emirates’ website, or contact their travel booking agent for assistance.

Emirates offers three options to its customers affected by flight cancellations and travel restrictions:

  • Keep their existing ticket for up to 24 months, and call to reschedule their flight when they are ready to fly. Emirates has extended this option to apply to any ticket booked on or before June 30 2020, for travel on or before November 30 2020.
  • Exchange the unused portion of their tickets for a travel voucher equivalent to the amount paid for their original booking. The travel voucher can be used for any Emirates product or service, with no change fees, providing customers more flexibility to reschedule when they are ready to travel again.
  • Customers who have opted to keep their ticket or opted for a travel voucher can still apply for a refund, if they are unable to travel. There will be no refund penalties.

Customers who have booked through travel agents should contact their agent for assistance. The same options will apply.

GET IN TOUCH: You can contact Wendy Knowler for advice with your consumer issues via e-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za or on Twitter: @wendyknowler.

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