82 passengers from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam had since come together seeking a total of RM300,000 in refunds.
International passengers unite to demand AirAsia refunds
Passengers from a number of countries say they have waited in vain for two years.
Apr 23, 2022 9:00 AM
AirAsia X passengers from a number of countries have voiced disappointment over the lack of ticket refunds for flights cancelled as far back as two years ago due to the border closures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, coming together as part of an organisation to hold the low-cost airline accountable to its customers.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they said they and their rights as consumers had been ignored as they were unable to even speak to a staff member about their complaints. Instead, they said, they were forced to convey their problems through AVA, an artificial intelligence-based chatbot.
Katherine O’Brien, 62, said she had been a loyal customer since AirAsia X began its operations in Sydney. For years, AirAsia X was her airline of choice whenever she travelled to Japan, Malaysia or any other country.
But she told MalaysiaNow she had been left disappointed by the airline’s treatment of its passengers after spending A$2,010 (RM6,352) on two return tickets from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur on a flight scheduled for June 2020.
“I am very disappointed,” she said. “We have been left in limbo, not knowing whether we will receive our refunds or not.”
AirAsia shut down its flight operations during the movement control order implemented by the government as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in mid-March of 2020.
Many passengers had requested refunds for their tickets, but two years later, a large number of them are still waiting.
Glenn Bruce Andrew Priere, also from Sydney, said he was shocked to discover that his case had been marked as “resolved” as he was still waiting to be refunded for the six flight tickets he had bought for A$1,600 or just over RM5,000.
“As far as I know, when a case is labelled as ‘resolved’, it means the person who complained has been refunded his or her money,” he said, adding that this had been his first time using AirAsia’s services.
Within a year, he had received a refund of A$3,400 (RM10,745) from Philippine Airlines for his tickets from Sydney to the Philippines.
“But we are still waiting to receive our money back from AirAsia,” he said.
Rose Marie Jane Rementina, from the Philippines, was confused as well when she was told that she had been refunded 12,500 pesos for a ticket from the Philippines to Taipei although the balance in her bank account showed otherwise.
Harmeet Singh of Sydney, who began the initiative, said 82 passengers from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam had since come together seeking a total of RM300,000 in refunds.
Of these, 74 said they wanted to be refunded instead of being given credit.
“All of them have been doing everything that they can, but have failed to get their money back,” he said.
Harmeet also questioned AirAsia’s business ethics as well as Mavcom for allowing the issue to continue until today.
“It doesn’t matter what channel we use to raise the issue of refunds,” he said. “We are always referred to a link which talks about the proof of debt practice.
“There has been no response of any real help for passengers looking to resolve this issue.”
Harmeet expects more passengers to join the group in time to come.
“I don’t think they will want to give up,” he said. “It’s not just the financial factor, there’s also the moral factor at play.
“It’s as if someone has taken our money, and we are powerless to do anything about it.”
MalaysiaNow has contacted AirAsia for a response.