Published on : Monday, August 24, 2020
Qatar Airways has paid more than $ 1.2 billion in refunds to nearly 600,000 passengers since March, demonstrating its commitment to passengers who changed their plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry restrictions imposed around the world to limit the spread of COVID-19 are confronting airlines around the world with an unprecedented flood of refund requests. Against this background, Qatar Airways has made considerable effort to process 96% of the refunds requested since March 2020. The airline now processes all new applications in less than 30 days, taking into account the original form of payment.
In addition, Qatar Airways has introduced a unique flexible booking policy that has proven extremely popular with passengers: Qatar Airways tickets are valid for two years from the date of issue. Passengers can change the travel date or destination as often as necessary free of charge, relocate their place of departure to another destination in the airline’s network (within 5,000 miles of the original place of departure), exchange their ticket for a future travel voucher with a 10% surcharge on Exchange the original ticket value or have your ticket exchanged for Qmiles *. Over a third (36%) of Qatar Airways passengers preferred either of these options to refunds.
Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Simon Talling Smith said, “Due to the impact of COVID-19 on global travel, passengers had to change their plans at short notice and it was difficult for them to plan with certainty. What you want and deserve is flexibility and reliability, and we hope that in Qatar Airways you have found an airline that you can trust. The amount we paid out in the form of refunds has undoubtedly had an impact on our bottom line, but it is our duty to do the right thing for our customers and trading partners and as an airline we are strong enough to mitigate the impact. “
Qatar Airways took a number of important steps to ensure it could handle the large number of refund requests from passengers – over 10,000 a day at the height of the crisis – who had to change their travel plans due to COVID-19. First of all, Qatar Airways optimized the digital service offering: customers could submit reimbursement applications online so that they were largely processed automatically. The airline also automated the application process for travel vouchers so that passengers received a voucher within 72 hours.
In terms of staffing, Qatar Airways has transferred employees from other areas of the company – for example cabin and ground staff – to one of the global customer contact centers in order to handle the large volume of online inquiries and customer calls.
The airline has also worked hard to make the refund and rebooking process as easy as possible for its trading partners by continuing to rely on the industry-standard global distribution system (GDS) – a largely automated system that is easy for travel agents to use – for the Withdrawing refunds. Although Qatar Airways is now experiencing a decline in refund requests, the airline remains determined to continue to meet all obligations towards passengers and trading partners.
Qatar Airways is one of the few global airlines that never stopped flying during this crisis and continues to operate its full fleet of 30 Boeing 787s and 49 Airbus A350s. The variety of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft means the airline can continue to fly by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel demand, the airline has decided to keep its fleet of Airbus A380s on the ground as it is neither economically nor environmentally feasible to operate such a large aircraft in the current market
With entry restrictions being relaxed around the world, the airline continues to lead the way in rebuilding global travel, offering more than 500 weekly flights to over 80 destinations worldwide through the best airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport (HIA) on.
Safety measures on board include the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the cabin crew as well as a free hygiene kit and disposable face protection for the passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with the Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy that this award-winning one offers