Air Asia, a regional carrier that specializes in budget air travel within Southeast Asia, has an unusual way of dealing with air ticket refunds. About a week ago, I booked a RSVNS on Air Asia and purchased a one-way ticket online from Hat Yai, Thailand to Bangkok for travel on December 27, 2009. The cost of the ticket was 2115 Baht ($62USD).
Within thirty minutes after buying the ticket, I discovered that I had already purchased the same ticket on July 25. The cost of the original ticket was 1185 Baht ($35USD). After my blunder, I immediately sought to contact Air Asia to request a refund in full on the duplicate ticket.
Based on my experiences with airlines based in the USA, I thought that the refund would be straightforward as I caught the mistake right away and I wasn’t really taking anything out of Air Asia’s pocket. Maybe that was a little presumptuous on my part. If I had read reviews from disgruntled Air Asia passengers, I would have discovered that Air Asia’s refund/cancellation policy is not very consumer friendly. In short, it is downright awful - in essence Air Asia has a “No Refund Policy”.
Because Air Asia doesn’t have a Call center in the USA, I was resigned to the fact that I had to call their ticket office in either Malaysia or Thailand. After getting through to Air Asia in Malaysia, I appraised the agent about my unfortunate blunder. The agent told me that Air Asia could refund my first ticket (the lower priced one) and I could keep the 2nd higher priced ticket.
I told the agent that was unacceptable as the higher priced 2nd ticket should be the one that is refunded. Upon hearing this, the agent immediately reversed direction and told me, Air Asia could give me a refund on the 2nd ticket less a 850 Baht penalty. Even though I wasn’t totally thrilled with the cancellation penalty, I told the agent if that was the best she could do, I could live with it.
The agent further explained to me that the refund would not be issued to my credit card, but it (the refund) would be available as a travel credit which must be used towards a purchase of air travel on Air Asia by November 26, 2009. Putting aside my disenchantment with Air Asia’s refund policy, I accepted the terms and thanked the agent for assisting me.
I waited for 24 hours to pass – because I didn’t see the travel credit in my record, I decided to call Air Asia again. This time around I reached the Air Asia ticket office in Thailand. Explaining my situation to the Air Asia agent, she advised me that I would be issued a travel credit for the full amount of the 2nd ticket (no cancellation penalty) and that I must use this travel credit by November 26.
I confirmed with the agent, that the issuance of travel credits was Air Asia’s official policy on air ticket refunds and thanked her allowing me to get a “refund in full” on my duplicate ticket. Fortunately, I was able to use most of my air travel credit towards a purchase of air ticket for a friend of mine in Thailand. LOL, I still have 500 baht left over.
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Bottom Line – Air Asia has a “No Refund Policy”. Once they have your monies, they are going to keep it!