We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide.
United Airlines are holding money for 365 days, consumers due a refund within 14 days, it doesn't take a mathematician to understand why travel companies CANNOT refund at this moment in time with these type of circumstances - it's bankruptcy in 24 hours - consumers money is protected no matter what (ATOL) and the PTR law needs changing to to allow for delayed refunds within a 13 - 24 months of departure date. Consumers forget that travel is the second largest industry in the world and that their patience will allow for MILLIONS to keep their jobs and if they were to demand therefore refund and put companies out of business they will have to wait the same amount of time to get a refund. Patience and understanding is what we need - no ones stealing anyone's money.
...and travel companies also need to understand that some consumers need their money as the virus has an an adverse impact on their lives in a multi due of ways. Most consumers want the government to pay the refunds - not the travel Companies to go bust.
Either everyone gets a credit note, or everyone (bar a lucky few at the head of queue) gets nothing. "Which?" would they prefer?
Perhaps the organisations holding the ‘money’ need to be transparent. I don’t understand where the money is? ABTA is saying the law requiring airlines to payback is enforceable. If that’s enforced then why won’t the refund be passed onto the customer? I understand the majority of accommodation suppliers don’t receive payment for the stays until after the stay. So in effect the operators will then hold onto the money and still have it? Why can’t a 50% cash and 50% voucher scheme be an option. Meet the customer half way instead of all on your terms. As a consumer - I obviously want my money back but what is really annoying me more is the operators and airlines actually now misleading the consumer in their responses, some blatantly lying or saying to customers - you need to book within 3 days or lose everything! Honesty should prevail - tell the customer that you are waiting to see if the changes to the law are put in place - don’t lie to us and say it’s a voucher or nothing. Honesty and integrity are important. If we are really in this together then be honest, clear and upfront and offer options.
Unfortunately whilst "someone" has the money, "no-one" has enough cash. So the end result is the same.
As someone who has just lost their job in the travel industry (days before the recent government interventions) due to the impacts of COVID-19, there are a number of things we should all be clear on.
1) Some travel companies are trying to persuade their clients to rebook travel for future dates because most airlines and cruise lines were and still are refusing refunds, but clients are still expecting all of their money back, if not more.
2) The majority of ground arrangements, if you have booked a package holiday, are in fact paid for at least 2 months prior travel, so the travel company you booked with are not holding your money. Suppliers have already been paid and each one has its own policies with regards to refunds, even under these circumstances.
3) People like me have spent more than 5 hours on hold trying to get through to an airline, supplier or hotel for a handful of customers, and no matter how much we do to get answers for our clients, they are still unhappy that they couldn't have already been refunded.
4) Believe it or not there are hundreds of thousands of other people in the same situation as you, if not worse. While travellers are stranded in countries where borders have been shut and hotels are closing under unfolding lock downs, phone lines are completely jammed while everyone is panicking about their individual situation.
It's a complete nightmare and there should be more clarity. It would be a dream if things were more calm and straighforward.
I completely agree that customers should be able to be refunded before all funds are returned from each supplier, ground handler or hotel, airlines should be refunding companies where a package airfare has been used, and these refunds shouldn't be putting travel companies in a position where they feel the only thing they can do to keep customers on side (and avoid going bust) is fire the majority of their staff to afford the huge losses they're facing.
The biggest problem travel companies who tailor and sell package holidays are facing is that everyone (hoteliers, car rental companies, airlines, cruise lines and DMCs) is trying to look after their own interests and stay afloat, regardless of the impact it's having, instead of supporting their partners. It puts your travel agency in a really rocky situation. It's shameful to be frank, and will reflect really badly on the industry as a whole once all of this is over.
I hope the government steps in with a way to right this wrong. If they can't do anything then the question is "What is the point of package protection?"
I've always approached my work in the travel industry with honesty and integrity, and I genuinely care about my clients. But, at times like these I can't help wondering whether I'm in the wrong profession.