Howdy all. I thought I would talk about the three airlines I booked for my now aborted trip to the Philippines which I was due to take on the first of May. I had booked flights with SCOOT, Cebu Pacific and the regional Air Swift (in the Philippines) to get me from Melbourne to the island of Palawan and back. The cost? Well I never really added it up by north of $2500AUD or $1600USD for two people.
I should say that in this time of crisis, not just with Covid-19 but also the unseen consequences, people and airlines are both doing it tough. If you have to cancel a trip, and this time there was no option (although I did cancel before lockdowns were introduced) you’re almost certain desire is to get your money back. It’s a lot of money for which you will see nothing. And I was incredibly lucky with my hotels and travel insurance. My hotels I usually like to pay in advance (may not be doing that next time!) but as it happened I got deals which had me paying in mid-April, free cancellation up until that point. So I cancelled those without laying out a cent.
Travel insurance – well I had only just taken it out and there is a 14 day cooling off period with that, so that was easy enough to get refunded. So I was left with the airlines to see what I could get back.
And I know that people have been increasingly frustrated with the airlines, because getting money back has been hard and so many people have had to cancel travel plans. So, despite my frustrations, I want to take my hat off to SCOOT, because they appear to have really come to the table here. I had two SCOOT bookings – from Melbourne to Singapore on SCOOT Plus – their new ‘Business Class’ and then Singapore to Cebu in regular economy.
The first flight was the highest booking class. And I was entitled to a full refund for that already, the second flight I was offered travel vouchers, which I accepted. However, last week I was offered a full refund OR travel vouchers to 120% of the ticket’s value, which I thought was exceptional, especially for a budget airline and I was really impressed. Now, the caveat is that with a full refund they require up to 14 weeks, which is an awfully long time. Why it should take up to three months to process this, I have no idea. But as long as it comes, I’m going to be pretty happy with that.
Cebu Pacific. I booked a flight back from Palawan to Manila to home with this budget airline – one without a business class. I have taken the offer to put the value of the tickets into a travel fund. That’s around a thousand bucks. Just over (AUD – Maybe $620 USD). The only other option was rebooking. I’m not sure I will be able to use this. I have to check it was unclear whether I had six or 12 months to use it. I will see how I go I may have the chance to use some of it next year.
Thirdly, and most disappointingly, Air Swift. So, I emailed Air Swift on the 6th of March requesting a refund. The fare I selected was their top fare (as it was the only one available) and I have not had a reply. I have tried to call over a few days and no-one took my call. I need to get back onto this. Air Swift I think I spent around $600AUD for our two tickets from Cebu to Palawan. SCOOT actually approached me (via email) about cancellations. Air Swift have ignored me – they are a small airline comparatively – and so that’s made me somewhat annoyed.
I will try again with Ait Swift and see how I go. Hopefully I get some response! I should say that I’m not adverse to the travel fund idea because we are going to see a lot of airlines disappear from the skies over this, but at the same time I am running on reduced shifts at work – whilst others have lost jobs. So, it’s tough times for all. I was really hopeful for 2020 and in a few short months it all went to… well you know, and I know so many people feel the same right now. No-one can afford to just ‘lose’ this kind of money though. Rather than a travel fund I would have rather lost 50% and got 50% back.
UPDATE: And within 24 hours of writing this post, Air Swift have responded and I am getting a full refund! Will take 75 to 90 days. But it’s good news, just getting in contact has been a real challenge!
Anyways. These are the times we live in! Have you had to cancel flights this year? Please comment below! May the Journey Never End!