In 2020 we planned a trip to Japan. The plan was to leave on the 1st of April to Osaka and hopefully experience the Sakura Season. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and finally it was about to happen!!! Yes! A few more weeks to go and then we would leave from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka. Everything was booked and paid for. Awesome!
But the trip never happened… Because of Covid-19 all flights were canceled and we couldn’t leave Borneo. What to do now?
Well, Airbnb made sure that if you had booked an accommodation before 16th of March (I think this was the date) you were eligible for a full refund. Phew! That saved us quite a bit of money, but what about our flights? Well that was a completely different story.
I booked 1 flight with Air Asia and 1 flight with an Indonesian company (can’t remember the name). I emailed both of them and asked about the possibility for a refund, or travel voucher. The Indonesian company said they could issue a travel voucher, but you had to use it within 3 months. What?! Are you serious? How is that possible when no companies are allowed to fly? Okay, say goodbye to that money. Fortunately this wasn’t the biggest amount. The biggest amount was the money we paid for the flights to Osaka.
I went to the website and had to talk to one of those bots. Good luck with that! It felt like they sent me into an infinite loop, where I would never end up with the right answer.
Then after 9 months, after I gave up, an email appeared in my mailbox. It was from Air Asia (you have different ones, and this was the one that arranged flights to Japan)! Fingers crossed!
They informed me that they would file for bankruptcy and that it would be very unlikely that they could refund us. Pfff, that was a tough pill to swallow, because this wasn’t the only money we had lost. Then a year later, I received another email. They were in the middle of a formal debt restructuring exercise and the people that didn’t get their money back could leave their details and maybe, after the bigger companies got their money, we would be able to get some back. So I entered all of the necessary details, but didn’t really expect much of it.
You’re starting to guess where this is going… Yesterday I received another email. It said that they would give the people with canceled flights in that time travel points for the amount that was owed. The points would be valid for 5 years. Wow! I never expected that this day would come, but it did. I have to be honest that I didn’t receive anything yet, but they said it will be transferred within 3 months, and I like to think positive.
Also, we are planning on going back to Asia at the end of next year, and finally go to Japan (hopefully in 2024)! So these travel points will definitely come in handy when booking our next flight. I feel hopeful, because in the beginning I was positive, that feeling turned into frustration, into not expecting anything anymore, and now into hopeful again.
Did you lose any money on flights or bookings during Covid-19? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to hit the ‘like’ button if you enjoyed reading this post. Thanks!