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Would You Still Ask a Refund? (COVID-19 Outbreak)

Updated: May 17

Who could imagine our skies would be full of ghost flights?

Did you know? Why planes are flying without passengers?

“50 Million jobs are at risk in travel and tourism worldwide” - says, World Travel & Tourism Council.

Employees from travel companies and hotels are sitting at home without pay. With virus stays invincible the span of effect is as yet obscure.

“Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the travel industry to recover” - says, World Economic Forum.

COVID-19 has affected majority of sectors (with exception to healthcare and pharma), however the hardest hit and most likely the longest effect of the pandemic would be on the travel industry. The fear of wellbeing among travelers would hold a more drawn out effect and that is something beyond anybody’s control.

Airlines are burning through their cash reserves as they try to stay afloat. The airline finances are so fragile, they may not be able to afford the refund customers. In addition to that, certain airlines are still operating planes with no passengers, burning fuel at huge losses only to hang on to their take-off and landing slots at the airports. As per the aviation industry rules, airlines must use at least 80% of their allocated slots to stay in the game. If you are not from the aviation industry, it is simple for you to understand that carriers are still paying colossal cost to serve you well in the future.

In a recent article on BBC Travel, frustrated customers were demanding refunds from the airlines instead of travel vouchers. Someone filed a class-action suit in US against the airline to refund claims. It also appeared on a Facebook community of travelers, how they are trolling the airlines on social media for being unable to refund the cancellation due to COVID-19 outbreak and customers refusing to accept the vouchers in place of refund. The financial situation is very grave for the aviation sector, from the low-budget carriers to world’s leading airlines, all are financially bleeding at this moment. Isn’t this our responsibility to protect the airlines to be able to fly in future?


The effect of coronavirus has taken away all the business for the 1st quarter of 2020 and its profoundly unlikely for the business to return anytime soon. As per the experts from the tourism industry, the leisure travel may take another 6 months to be active again. Situation being how it is, what are they suppose to do until then?

Travel operators, hotels, restaurants, cruises, airlines, tourist attractions, are the front-line businesses who endured the first hit from the coronavirus and it is terrifying to measure the longevity of the impact of this pandemic on the lives of individuals who comprise the travel industry.

Already one month passed since some of my associates in the travel trade have been asked by their companies to go on leave without salary and stay on leave until further notice. How are they suppose to sustain without an income?


As we are talking about the travel industry crises, let’s take a look at the operations of a travel company. I have wanted to say this to people who book or inquire tours through travel agents.

Travel Agent: Hi! Thanks for calling ABC travels, how may I help you?

Customer : Hi! I am looking for a package to Switzerland & Paris for 6 nights in the month of May for 3 Adults and 2 kids. Can you please send me a quote?

Travel Agent: Thanks for contact us, we will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours with the best possible price.

Customer: Thanks, I’ll look forward to hearing from you at the earliest. Please try to reply ASAP.

Now, what do you think this travel agent do in the next 24 to 48 hours?

STEP 1 : Check the price of your ticket on their travel systems, comparing flight prices of different airlines to offer the best deal.

STEP 2 : Contact the hotels, search the best location, compare prices of hotels on different booking systems

STEP 3 : Contact the DMC (DMC - Destination Management Company, that organise the local tours in your destination) in Switzerland & Paris to suggest an itinerary for 6 days for this family

STEP 4 : The DMC will work on a suitable itinerary and cost for all attractions, guide and car or bus service

STEP 5 : Travel agent will follow-up with the DMC for the earliest response to satisfy the customer’s expectation

STEP 6 : Travel Agent sends a proposal to client via email and follow-up

After certain days.

Customer's Reply (Possibilities):

  1. Sorry I found a cheaper quote from someone else

  2. We have decided to change the destination

  3. Can you please work on another destination package that falls in our budget.

  4. Sorry, We cannot travel now

Do people realize the effort goes into answering their query? It’s a pity that Tourism companies do not ask for a consultation fee for the time spent by the travel agent on the inquiry.

This is the awakening, please support and save tourism. These are hard times for everyone around the world, but tourism industry is sinking already. Once the epidemic is over, we trust the world will come together and bolster those front-line fighters in recovering from crisis.



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