When airlines were offering ticket flexibility only for new purchases, Qatar Airways offered flexibility for all tickets and didn’t just do it for a couple of weeks or a month but for travel through end of June. Several readers though complained they were having a hard time getting agents to honor the policy.
With several airlines refusing to honor refunds for cancelled flights, and in the process appearing to break the laws of the U.S. and also of the E.U., Qatar is offering something a little bit more innovative.
Airlines are worried about surviving. They have your cash. It may not be legal to keep it when flights are cancelled, but most customers will take what they are offered (future travel credit) and very few will complain to authorities.
They’re simply not worried about government fines or a class action lawsuit if they survive. That’s all in the future, and right now they are worried about making it through to that future. So carriers like Lufthansa and JetBlue are giving themselves a risky interest free loan with customer cash.
Qatar Airways though has a better approach. They, too, want your cash. They want your future travel purchases when travel is again in the cards. They are honoring refunds but if you’ll take a credit instead they’ll give you a 10% bonus for taking a voucher. That’s creative and honors the customer.
“Qatar Airways has amended its ‘Travel with Confidence’ and flight disruption policies to give customers even more flexibility. Customers who choose to receive a travel voucher for future use will receive the full unutilized value of their ticket plus an additional 10% of the fare cost as an added value offer. Customers also have the option for a refund back to the form of payment they used when purchasing their tickets – the administration of this refund will take up to 30 days to process. Vouchers for future travel continue to be the most expedient way of helping customers while we manage the backlog.
Hopefully working with them to take advantage will turn out to be straightforward. For most people I’d recommend still taking the cash – I’d need more than a 10% bonus to give a loan even to an airline I expect to still be flying. Nonetheless it’s exactly the kind of thinking airlines should be using since it doesn’t just respect the customers they’ll need later, it creates an incentive for future business too.