DOHA, Qatar, 20 August 2020: Qatar Airways says it paid out USD 1.2 billion in refunds since March to almost 600,000 passengers who needed to change their plans due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It claims to have process 96% of all requests for refunds since March and is now processing all new refunds in less than 30 days.
In response to the crisis, it introduced a flexible booking policy, and Qatar Airways tickets are now valid for two years from the date of issuance.
Passengers can also choose to change their travel date or destination free of charge as often as they need, change their origin to another city within the same country or any other destination on the airline’s network within a 5,000-mile radius of the original, exchange their ticket for a future travel voucher worth 110% of the original ticket value, or swap their tickets for Qmiles.
Over a third of Qatar Airways passengers (36%) selected one of these options over a refund.
Qatar Airways managed over 10,000 requests per day at the height of the crisis mainly from passengers that needed to change their travel plans as the pandemic closed borders. Firstly, it increased its automation capabilities that enabled customers to request refund online along with automated travel voucher requests, usually completed within 72 hours.
Despite the airline’s assertions, Facebook groups still log posts from passengers claiming they faced refund and voucher issue delays.