Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds

Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds 

The trade responded to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy by offering clients reassurance and alternative flights.

The airline offered full refunds, including for tickets classed as non‑refundable, up to the end of this year, and waived fees for itinerary changes made by Thursday this week.

Agents and operators immediately contacted clients after Thursday’s disaster, when an Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Travel Designers managing director Nick Harding‑McKay said some clients had requested not to fly with Malaysia Airlines on new bookings. “This is such a shame,” he added.

Derek Moore, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said some members had clients who asked to cancel holidays.

Abta has taken calls from operators about the cost of changing airline or cancelling accommodation. It said: “Operators can pass on these extra costs to clients.”

But Travel 2 managing director Andy Freeth said: “We’ve had very few calls on this. I think consumers are aware it’s not the airline that has been targeted.”

Claire Hunt, operations director of Journeys A La Carte travel agency, had three future bookings for Malaysia Airlines, but clients chose not to switch airline. She added: “It took a morning to sort out, but this is what we’re good at.”

David Moon, head of business development at Advantage, was not aware of any members who had issued refunds.

Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan added: “In reality people know security will now be at its tightest.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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