An Australian Frequent Flyer forum moderator, recently witnessed a bizarre refund incident by Qatar Airways. The airline refunded worth approximately $20 million in exchange of a business class flight from Jakarta to London which was canceled due to COVID-19.
Mistake made with currency
An Australian Frequent Flyer forum moderator, JessicaTam, was expecting approximately $2,000 to be reimbursed following a request for a refund for the canceled flight. What she received instead was $19.6 million.
Australian Frequent Flyer, said, “This may seem like a bizarre amount of money to refund when the ticket only cost around $2,800. But the amount wasn’t quite a coincidence. As the first flight on this ticket departed from Indonesia, the fare was originally paid in Indonesian Rupiah. The total airfare, converted into Indonesian Rupiah, was IDR 28,179,000.”
This could have been a costly mistake for the airline. It seems that somewhere during the refund process, the refund was mistakenly quoted in Australian Dollars for the amount in Indonesian Rupiah. Fortunately for Qatar Airways, the mistake was noticed by either the bank or the airline, and was corrected the following day.
Qatar Airways provided with the following statement:
“Qatar Airways is aware of a story regarding the overpayment of a refund. The airline processed the refund correctly and was not involved in the transaction between the bank and the passenger. We are glad to learn that the matter was swiftly corrected.”
These refund errors are usually rectified pretty quickly. However, most of the time, the airlines honor mistake fares. Unluckily for JessicaTam, the error by Qatar Airways was too big to ignore.
COVID-19 refunds by Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is offering refunds or flight credits for its customers until December 2020. As flights continue to be canceled due to COVID-19, many customers are locked into a battle with airlines that refuse to give refunds.
Some airlines have issued refunds, but many are refusing to and have instead decided to issue flight vouchers that can be used as credit for travel in the future.