A Dubai-based retail sales manager at Airlink International explained concerns on refunds and rebooking fees as many Filipinos complain about flight cancellations.
“[A] travel agency relies on airline circulars and guidelines most importantly on refunds and rebooking policies,” Geoffrey Salatan told The Global Filipino Magazine.
He added that in most cases, rebooking fees and refund charges are waived during cancellations due to the global pandemic Covid-19.
However, some situations depend on the airline’s discretion or circular they release.
“Take for instance, an airline may impose a waiver on rebooking fees but fare difference to be charged if any, or no charges at all. A travel agency cannot waive rebooking fees nor refund unless with airline’s approval,” Salatan explained.
The retail sales manager further added that each travel agency has their own sets of policies and strategies on how they run their respective businesses.
“Therefore, service fees or transaction fees differ per travel agency. Ticket fare varies too, due to seasonality, availability, as well as on the special rate given by the airline to selected travel agencies,” Salatan said.
In his company, Airlink normally relays to their clients what has been stipulated on the circular from the airline.
“If it’s refundable or change is permitted, then relay the same with corresponding charges. On the contrary, if it says no charges at all, then we don’t see any reason why we have to charge the passenger extra. We can’t even say non-refundable to a passenger if airline policy states otherwise,” he added.
Meanwhile, if a passenger voluntarily decides and makes changes in booking, then normal ticket restrictions may apply.
“Due to Covid-19 [situation], all airlines face an inevitable challenge in processing refunds on time, affecting the travel agencies and especially the passengers. Airlines like any other business at this time needs also to stretch its means to make both ends meet. Still, refund airline approvals must be taken action immediately, so many are waiting,” Salatan added.