Nga works for an international travel magazine as a freelance writer. Last week, she was supposed to fly to Hanoi then to Halong Bay from Danang. Unfortunately, because of the resurgence of new COVID-19 cases and travel restrictions, she decided to stay put and cancel her flight and trips.
“Even before receiving the official cancellation of domestic flights, I already canceled mine for safety and immediately requested for a cancellation refund”, she said.
Upon her request, the airline representative gave her two options: one is a travel voucher valid for 12 months and the second is a cash refund that’s only 65% of the original ticket price and can only be released after three months.
“I booked with Vietnam Airlines. The process was smooth and fast. I took the voucher and will just use it when all things are back to normal.”
Like Nga, those passengers holding Vietnam Airlines tickets, except for Economy Class, valid from May 1 to 31, 2021 are allowed to change the flight date once for free, or avail of the refund.
Because of the latest coronavirus outbreak, Vietnamese airlines have announced refunds and airfare exchanges in many localities preventing people from traveling by air.
Moreover, passengers who have booked flights on routes affected by COVID-19 are eligible for a ticket refund or a voucher with a value equal to the price of the ticket if they use the voucher to book tickets later. Vouchers are redeemable for one year from the date of issue.
Vouchers can be also used for Vietnam Airlines’ other services such as airline tickets, luggage, seat selection, and travel upgrades. Meanwhile, those who don't want to exchange tickets for vouchers can instead opt to request a refund with a fee along with terms and conditions.
The options do not only apply to the passengers of the national flag carrier, Bamboo Airways and Vietjet Air also offer the same flexible booking and refund policies.
Bamboo Airways are giving assistance to its passengers to get ticket refunds wired to the reservation account or change flight before the year ends. As for the tickets issued by agents, the refund will be transferred to the agent’s account within 90 days from when the agent sent the request to the airline. Refunds will be free of charge after the airline confirms the passenger is within the isolated or epicenter of the outbreak.
Additionally, budget carrier VietJet Air has also implemented a plan to support customers with online refunds for flights departing from May 8 to May 31, 2021, Hanoitimes reported.
“If passengers cancel the ticket, the refund will be deposited into the identity reservation account so that they can pay for other flights and other services of Vietjet in the next 365 days with a fee of VND200,000 (US$8.74) per passenger for a flight (VAT not included).”
Increase in ticket prices
To further improve on their service quality, airlines under the Vietnam Airlines Group and Bamboo Airways are raising their respective system administration fees by VND100,000 ($4.37) per flight, which will be incorporated into the current air ticket fares.
Moving forward, passengers buying flight tickets from Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and Vasco, will have to pay a system administration fee of VND350-450,000 ($15.3-19.66) per flight, VAT included.
Bamboo Airways also confirmed that it will issue a raise in the system administration fee for single and group tickets from May 10 by VND90,000 ($3.93) to VND320,000 ($14) and VND460,000 ($20), respectively.
In the second quarter of 2020, VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways, Vietnam Airlines, and Pacific Airlines have raised fees by around VND100,000.
As for the overall safety of passengers across the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has urged airlines to strictly observe the Prime Minister’s policies on COVID-19 prevention and control.
Airport staff must wear face masks at all times and keep their hands sanitized regularly. Checking the temperature of the passengers coming in is also a priority. Moreover, for the traveling public, all are required to closely follow health regulations before boarding the plane and during the flights, and keep their masks all the time.