Several AirAsia X passengers expressed frustration at the difficulties they encountered trying to use travel vouchers given to them by the low-cost airline instead of cash refunds.
The vouchers were credited to its passenger accounts after the airline completed its debt restructuring process in March, a move that was said to have been approved by creditors and the High Court last year.
However, speaking to MalaysiaNow, passengers said they were unable to take full advantage of the coupons because they came with a number of conditions and limitations.
EeMay Low, a Malaysian working in Singapore, said she was outraged to learn that the credit expiration date on her account had changed without her knowledge.
The credit was given to him when his flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on April 8, 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although he had two credits in his account, only one was converted into a travel voucher.
The most annoying problem for her was realizing that the coupon could only be used for travel to certain destinations.
According to the FAQ section on the AirAsia website, the travel vouchers are only valid for travel to three places: New Delhi, Seoul and Sydney.
These will be joined this year by Tokyo, Sapporo, Osaka, Hawaii, Perth, Melbourne, Auckland, London, Istanbul and Dubai.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Low said. “I only have a credit of S$160 in my account, if I want to use the coupon to travel to any of these destinations, I will have to shell out more money.”
She added that she was very disappointed in the decision to change the expiration date of her credit, as this meant that she would not be able to use the credit in full for future trips.
Low attempted to raise the matter with AVA, AirAsia’s chat line, eventually managing to contact three agents.
However, you have not yet received an explanation as to why your credit expiration date was changed without your knowledge.
Another Malaysian passenger, Fara Aadilla, was told that she could not redeem the full value of her voucher which was RM3,728.92.
Fara, who plans to go on vacation to Seoul next May, considers herself lucky that her travel destination is on AirAsia’s list of allowed places.
However, the coupon can only be used to cover the basic fare. This means that you will only be able to use RM3558 of your credit, leaving RM170.92 still in your account.
“What can I do with RM170.92? It’s too little to use for anything,” Fara said.
Fara, who also took to social media with her complaint, questioned AirAsia’s decision to issue refunds in the form of vouchers with a number of conditions in a Twitter post.
His post sparked outrage among Twitter users, some of whom shared their own experiences with the airline handling refunds and flight cancellations.
Rodel Dumasig Jardin, a passenger from the Philippines, is still waiting for a refund after AirAsia canceled his flight in May.
Rodel had purchased 12 round-trip tickets on four domestic bookings from Clark to Tacloban, paying a total of $1,107.
The flights were scheduled to depart between April 8 and May 18.
However, all were canceled a week before the first flight took off.
Rodel was not offered replacement flights.
“They only offered me credit that came with an expiration date,” he said.
“I asked AirAsia to return the money to me through my bank account, but until today I have not received a response.”
Rodel was forced to buy new tickets for other flights, but was only able to get three tickets for himself, his wife, and their daughter.
“The rest of my family is very disappointed that they will not be able to travel with us back to Tacloban,” he said.
He said that AirAsia should give him all his money back as the airline had not given him any concrete reason to cancel his flights.
“If the cancellations had only involved two or three tickets, I couldn’t complain,” he said.
“But we’re talking about 24 tickets total.”
MalaysiaNow is still waiting for a response from AirAsia.
MalaysiaNow also contacted Mavcom, the authority in charge of civil aviation and airline-related passenger complaints.