Customers Rage as Emirates Refuses Full Refunds on Cancelled Tickets

With business going down and the responsibility of feeding the employees amid global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airlines across the world have had to rethink their strategies.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest airlines, Emirates has resorted to cheap tactics. As per public reports, Emirates is forcing people to have their booked tickets for suspended flights to be converted into vouchers for use within 12 months rather than offering a full refund.


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A user revealed that he tried raising the matter on Twitter, however, he was surprised to see there were many like him waiting for a positive response from the airline.

I posted a rant on their twitter account, calling them out for being greedy. Surprisingly, their twitter feed is lined with many asking them to refund them and stopping this nonsense.

Here are some of the tweets where the users are saying the same thing:

The company has avoided issuing a public response. However, people have been contacted in private chats. Some of the customers have shared Emirates’ official response on the matter via screenshots.

However, anyone who uses the link to get a refund has to pay a cancellation fee even though it was the airline that canceled the flight due to unforeseen circumstances.

While everyone is in desperate need of cash and supplies during lockdown days, not returning the money to the people is backfiring big time for the UAE-based airline.


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A ticket worth a few hundred dollars won’t mean anything to the multi-billion dollar company, however, it can help an individual stock up the necessary items at home during these testing times.


Do you think Emirates should refund the tickets instead of offering vouchers to be used later? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Writer


  • The writer of this article doesn’t have any knowledge of aviation industry and his lack of knowledge is what has made the language of the article quite demeaning. It is a practice of almost all major carriers and LCCs across the globe to issue a voucher to be used for a booking later. Even Saudi Airlines right now is doing the same. If you want to lash out at Emirates, then for the sake of your ignorant journalism, include Saudi Airlines in your article too.

    • First read the article properly. Emirates was initially issuing refunds but has now started issuing vouchers that can be redeemed in the next 12 months. This isn’t acceptable. Just because Saudi Airlines is doing it too doesn’t mean it is A-OK.

      The customers didn’t purchase their tickets with money that expires in the next 12 months. When you travel to another country your itinerary is time-sensitive; visa, employment, education, etc. a lot of variables factor into it. Emirates can’t just say, “Would you mind travelling 8 months later?” They should have the money returned to the customers at least.

      • I have read the article properly and responded accordingly. Nowhere in the article has the writer provided any proof that Emirates refunded the tickets to any customers, he only took time out to quote tweets of people who had issues with the voucher policy.

        As for the travel plans, I agree with your perception but again this is a perception of anyone who doesn’t understand airlines business models. And it’s not only about Saudi Airlines, it’s a global policy followed by almost every carrier. Even in their advertisements, all regional carriers have mentioned that “do not worry if your flight is cancelled due to Covid-19, your tickets can be used later with us”.

        Also, do keep in mind that these airlines have also not cancelled the flights willingly, they have been forced as well and they also need support to help their employees who are again people like you and me.

        • I have regularly traveled by Emirates in the past and got shafted this time around and it losses me off to end. Don’t you go around telling me there’s no evidence of refunds happening because I specifically bought refundable tickets and got zilch.
          Your beloved Emirates is not the only bunch of people facing the effects of this crisis. This good for nothing greedy airline is lining it’s pockets with our hard earned money.
          You can stuff your support for the rich.

          • Right. Go around with senseless lashing and finger-pointing cuz that’s gonna help. You arguments, again respectfully, are around the fact that you are a consumer and you should get what you think is right and honestly I don’t blame you for that cuz may be I would’ve done the same had I not worked in aviation. While everyone will argue that Emirates’ actions are greedy, I argue that it’s a necessity and a usual one.
            You have the right to disagree with me but you don’t call me bias just because you have a different opinion. Learn to disagree respectfully.

            • I would respectfully ask you to shove your aviation logic. Down with Emirates, down with greedy rich organisations and their supporters.

            • So you can only “think” you should get what you pay for as a consumer? Dude, gtfo here. People are being forced to buy this stupid ticket voucher, which is clearly against Emirates own terms and conditions, and you are conveniently advocating these this greedy organisation’s case here. Shame on you!

              • Again, Hammer or Asim whichever you prefer, I am not advocating for anyone. Why is it this hard for people to accept someone else’s opinion here? It’s just my opinion of the article and that is it but clearly some people simply can’t handle difference.
                You have every right to disagree with what I say but again; present your opinion with dignity and respect and not by asking me to GTFO. You don’t have to come down to this level. I am sure you must be better than this.

    • At least some of these people will end up with expired visas, unemployment, issues at their university due to prolonged leave, etc. They won’t be able to travel within the next 12 months which means their money basically goes to waste.

      Highly unethical and a cheap practice by Emirates.

    • Once the airline is not able to provide the services for which she has been paid, they should return the money in full. Stop being a cheap intellectual or posing as a highest mile flyer in the world. END OF STORY

    • You ask others in the comment section to learn to disagree and treat others with respect, yet you do the complete opposite yourself. Sweeping statements like “The writer of this article doesn’t have any knowledge of aviation industry and his lack of knowledge is what has made the language of the article quite demeaning.” are disrespectful towards the writer.

      According to EU law, an airline is bound to issue a full refund within 2 weeks. In this case, even if Emirates wants to issue vouchers, these should not have come with an expiry date and there should have been an option to cash them out (if not now then later).

      Only after this story was published has Emirates shown some leniency towards their new policy. Emirates is one of the top airlines in the world with an account balance that could keep them going for years, so holding on to customers’ money cannot be justified. If they have to pay their employees, then it shouldn’t be done at the expense of someone else’s hard-earned money.
      These are international corporations and they can get loans that can be paid off later if the situation becomes that bad that they can’t pay off salaries. Airlines like Emirates have enough resources to pay off salaries on their own.

    • Muhammad, its not about reading the article properly, it’s about Emirates abiding by the terms and conditions that their customers signed up too when booking their flights, and under 10.2.2 of the conditions a full refund with taxes and charges applies.

  • To M. Ali
    Once the airline is not able to provide the services for which she has been paid, they should return the money in full. Stop being a cheap intellectual or posing as a highest mile flyer in the world. END OF STORY

  • Well in this crucial time they should not use these kinds of tactics, but if the vouchers worth it then they should do that.

  • Yes, if they have cancelled flights they should refund passengers, not ask passengers to give them interest free loans for up to 12 months. We are a family of 5 who paid Emirates for flights from Durban-Dubai-Paris and then Barcelona-Dubai-Durban. They have cancelled all but the Barcelona-Dubai leg of the ticket so, theoretically are saying that they haven’t cancelled our reservation. If we cancel, all charges will apply. We have already lost money on BnBs, hotels and car hire deposits, transfers and small airline connecting flights. Why should we subsidize one of the biggest airlines in the world?

  • When the Coronavirus is over everyone should remember the behaviour of these airlines and boycott them in the future- this is the only way to hurt them

  • On Thursday, 19th March we spent the best part of a full day at Adelaide airport attempting to have our Emirates flights brought forward & re-routed as a consequence of the Corona virus. We were booked on flight EK412 from Sydney to Christchurch on 2nd April & subsequently 7538 from Christchurch to Auckland, 451 from Auckland to Dubai & 021 from Dubai to Manchester on 14th/15th April – very clearly none of these flights would have been feasible due to government restrictions in the respective countries at that time (all of these flights have been subsequently cancelled by Emirates).

    After many hours of being passed from airline desk to office to email to telephone we eventually spoke to Emirates & despite our protracted remonstrations they were not interested in helping us in any way, simply referring us back to the travel agent we booked our tickets with (GoToGate) for any flight amendments.

    Accordingly we attempted to contact GoToGate via telephone, email & booking site link, all to no avail. After many hours of frustration, & with the very real possibility of being stranded in Australia as airlines cancelled flights & governments progressively tightened travel bans we had no option but to book entirely new flights from Adelaide to Manchester with Singapore Airlines at a cost of over $11000.

    We emailed GoToGate on 26th March expressing all of the above & requesting a refund, & have today received a response from them offering to re-route our flights (albeit almost 2 weeks too late!) or accept vouchers – both offers totally unacceptable in the circumstances – both companies having failed miserably, with non-existent customer service when it was most needed!!

    We are both pensioners, & having saved hard for these flights to see our son & daughter in Australia (which alas, we didn’t) will not be in a position to use vouchers at any time in the future.

    We are currently over $11000 out of pocket as a consequence of this scandalous failure to provide an acceptable & timely service, surely the only right thing to do do in the circumstances is to offer us a full refund?

  • First of all, you as a traveler are responsible for cancellation charges IF YOU CANCEL. An airline cannot cancel a flight for which you have no control, provide no alternative, and then tell you that since you, the traveler, are canceling so you can book another flight you have to pay an obscene cancelation charge. Sorry, that has nothing to do with the airline industry that is plain highway robbery. I have disputed my charge to Emirates through my credit card company as services canceled and thus not provided warranting a refund of my charges. Visa agrees. Interestingly, so does the US and the EU which made it clear that airlines must refund passengers for flights that are canceled involuntarily by the airline. I would encourage more of you that can to file disputes with your credit card companies.

  • Want to get your refunds immediately without delay. Here’s what l did to get my refunds. Stop wasting your time on those Customer Rep. They trained not to respond to these situation. Reach the top higher. Email each executive team. Their details are below. You’ll thank me later.

    Executive Contacts
    Primary Contact
    Andre Fick
    Head of Customer Strategy
    55 East 59 Street
    Floor 5
    New York, NY 10022
    [email protected]

    Secondary Contact
    Mostafa Karam
    Senior Vice President of Customer Affairs and Service Audit
    55 East 59 Street
    Floor 5
    New York, NY 10022
    [email protected]

    Mostafa’s Profile
    linkedin.com/in/mostafa-karam-ba101226
    Nigel Hopkins
    Executive Vice President of Service Departments
    55 East 59 Street
    Floor 5
    New York, NY 10022
    [email protected]

    Chief Executive
    Sir Tim Clark
    President
    55 East 59 Street
    Floor 5
    New York, NY 10022
    [email protected]


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