Emirates has completed an intensive programme to clear its backlog of refund requests which was caused by pandemic-related travel disruption.
Over the seven-month period starting April, Emirates received, validated and processed nearly 1.7 million refund requests resulting in the airline returning AED 6.3 billion refunds to its customers.
Of this sum, AED 4.7 billion was refunded to customers who had booked directly with the airline, and the remainder was returned via travel agencies.
In a statement, Emirates said the airline had managed over 130,000 refunds-related queries from customers and travel agency partners and made status changes to nearly four million flight coupons.
At the peak of its project, Emirates had 110 personnel dedicated to validating and processing refunds, massively increased from the 19-person team pre-pandemic.
The airline managed this by internally moving personnel from other functions to assist in this endeavour.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “In the early months of 2020, COVID-19 massively disrupted travel around the world and led to an unprecedented volume of refunds requests across the aviation and travel industry, including at Emirates. It was not a situation any airline wanted, particularly while also facing a cash crunch from drastically reduced operations. Through those difficult months, as we dealt with the impact of the pandemic on our business, we’ve never lost sight of our commitment to our customers.
“Thanks to the efforts of our refunds and customer service teams, the support and co-operation of our partners, and the understanding of our customers, Emirates has now cleared our backlog of refunds. We still have higher volumes of refunds and flight coupon change requests compared to pre-pandemic times, but we now have the capability to manage these within a 7-day turnaround.”
Sir Tim added: “In addition to honouring refunds, Emirates offered our customers flexibility to travel at a later date, and we also helped our frequent flyers to retain their tier status and introduced other ways for them to earn and burn their Miles. For those of our customers who continued to fly, Emirates offered the industry’s first free global COVID-19 cover for their added peace of mind, we put in place rigorous bio-safety measures on the ground and in the air, and we ensured that information on the latest travel requirements was easily available on our website.”
Emirates continues to lead the way in providing its customers with travel assurance and confidence.
Early this week, the airline announced that it will offer its customers another industry-first: a multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, at no charge, on all tickets bought on or from December 1, 2020.
In addition to COVID-19 medical cover, this new generous offer from Emirates also has provisions for personal accidents during travel, winter sports cover, loss of personal belongings and trip disruptions due to unexpected air space closure, travel recommendations or advisories, similar to other multi-risk travel insurance products.
Emirates’ booking policies offer customers flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket for travel on or before March31, 2021, can enjoy generous rebooking terms and options, if they must change their travel plans.
Customers have options to change their travel dates or extend their ticket validity for 2 years.
Emirates has also implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers.