Philippine Airlines (PAL) passengers weren’t spared when the airline industry was forced to stop operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the longer the lockdown in the Philippines persists, the more questions have been raised with regard to delayed PAL refunds, one of a few options offered by the airline for flight cancellations.
Days after the country’s largest low-cost carrier spoke about the same issue, the Philippines’ flag carrier took to social media to address their passengers. “We assure our customers of Philippine Airlines’ commitment to fulfill all refund obligations, and we sincerely apologize for the long processing time many of you have experienced,” PAL told the public.
What the airline is doing about PAL refunds
“We are doing all we can to cope with the massive deluge of refund requests that we received after the global pandemic forced us to cancel more than 60,000 PAL flights since March 2020, affecting over 1.3 million passengers,” they also shared. “The loss of revenues deprived us of liquidity to make prompt refund payments, even as lockdown restrictions posed serious staffing and logistical limitations.”
To keep up with the growing demand, PAL has adjusted their refund system and successfully returned the payments of their passengers. “We have progressively stepped up our processing capabilities to address the system backlogs [and] have so far refunded about 80% of the more than US$300 million (PHP15.9 billion) COVID-related refund requests.”
As of September 2020, PAL has continued reopening select routes adding more flight schedules as the Luzon-wide community quarantine eased down. “PAL has now restored nearly 15% of our regular domestic and global network, and we intend to ramp up to more flights and more routes in line with an expected easing of travel and quarantine restrictions”, they added. “We recognize that this has taken some time, and we greatly appreciate your understanding as we continue to resolve these challenges over the coming months.”
Options for PAL passengers with flight cancellations
Should PAL passengers experience further flight cancellations due to COVID-19, the airline is offering three options, among them being a PAL refund.
One can also opt to convert their ticket to a PAL travel voucher, which is equivalent to the unused ticket value, plus 10% of the unused base fare. Take note that this option only applies to passengers who have not availed any other changes in their bookings. Submission of requests for COVID-related flight cancellations is until 31 Mar 2021. The PAL travel voucher has a validity of one or more years.
You may also rebook or reroute your flight for an unlimited number of times. Rebooking for the first time comes with no fare difference, as long as the new flight is of the same cabin class and will take off by 31 Mar 2021 or until its validity expires, whichever comes first. Succeeding rebookings may require fare difference and taxes, a no-show fee if not cancelled at least 24 hours before departure, and other conditions.
Featured image credit: Aero Icarus | Wikimedia Commons