(28 July 2020) Peak industry body, The Australian Federation of Travel Agents said Etihad’s decision to offer refunds to all consumers who purchased tickets directly and through travel agents for flights which were then cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a welcomed development.
The decision follows engagement between the ACCC’s COVID-19 Taskforce and Etihad. Qantas also took a similar position in June and began contacting customers to advise they were entitled to a refund for flights cancelled or suspended due to travel restrictions after the ACCC’s COVID-19 Taskforce raised concerns that only credits were being offered.
Quotes attributable to Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO:
"Since the pandemic began, travel agents have been working around the clock on behalf of their clients using their experience and connections to navigate the complex and often frustrating process of refunds and credits.
Each of the 150-plus airlines operating in Australia have their own Terms and Conditions and many of them no longer have on-the-ground support. It can be an overwhelming process that can take 8 to 12 hours even for a professional travel agent. Add in the fact that this applies to every third-party supplier from hotel to tour operator, and the time and patience required amplifies whether you’re a travel agent or a consumer trying to sort this out directly. This is a process that travel agents are predominantly not being paid for.
Travel Agents are grateful for this development. Our member travel agents continue to work extremely hard to support their clients through these challenging times".
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