Travel Innovation Group Bulletin 5 from Michael Edwards, Managing Director - 22 April 2020
A slightly delayed bulletin this week I’m afraid, please accept my apologies. We have been working to find the best solution for your bookings due to depart in May and I wanted to be able to give you a full update before communicating. Full information in section 2 of this bulletin.
I am delighted to have had the chance to speak to so many of our operators over the last few days, so thank you to those who have spent time talking with me. If you would like to have a call with me to discuss feedback on bulletin content, what you would like me to cover in future bulletins or your experiences during this current situation you can request one here. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss individual queries, these should be pursued via the usual channels.
New issues are more intermittent lately. Therefore, I have decided to publish these Bulletins once a week each Wednesday until the situation stabilises. If something significant occurs in the meantime, we will communicate with additional bulletins when required.
Managing Bookings originally scheduled to depart up to 17 May:
As the Coronavirus lockdown is further extended, airlines are now starting to cancel their services for May, however the situation for the whole month is unclear.
Should you already know that your customer’s flight will not be operating, or that they will not be travelling, you can start the reissue/refund process by using the Disruption Cancel function as detailed below.
Please ensure you review the relevant airline policy before you take any action to ensure you are acting within it.
For British Airways bookings, if the flight is not yet cancelled, then should your clients request a Refund, we recommend you wait and monitor the situation in case the flight subsequently does get cancelled. If your clients would like to rebook and use a BA Exchange Travel Credit then you can process these when you wish (please note once an Exchange Travel Credit on BA is processed it is not then possible to revert to a refund at a later time).
Please note, at 48 hours prior to departure, on all airlines we will check each booking due to travel up to and including Sunday 17th May. If you have not already performed an action on the booking (reissue, refund, Exchange Travel Credit) then we will place the e-ticket in an Open status and keep the pnr/booking Live. This will allow you to subsequently update the booking (reissue, refund, Exchange Travel Credit) in line with your customer’s instruction and airline policy.
We will advise on bookings post 17 May in a subsequent bulletin.
Will my customer’s flight be operating?
Some airlines have announced their schedules for May. Where Aviate are advised in writing by the airline, these will be posted on Aviate’s Tour Operator Help & Advice Portal. British Airways flight schedules can be accessed via a link provided on Lime’s Coronavirus Information page For forthcoming flights with Virgin Atlantic you can check here.
Not all flight cancellations are being updated into pnr/bookings in good time. Where they do, we are endeavouring to update you with this information. Galileo, Worldspan & Sabre bookers should monitor their Schedule Change Qs.
The Flight Status section of airlines’ own websites are often the most up to date if in any doubt.
For bookings made via our Flights systems and via Amadeus:
You can manage your booking by using the Disruption Cancel option within each booking. This option will remove flight sectors but keep the booking live to convert to an Exchange Travel Credit, or allow a Refund in line with airline policy.
Advice on how to use your Exchange Travel Credit, or apply for a Refund was detailed in Bulletin 4 of 17 April you can read in full here.
For bookings made via Galileo, Worldspan or Sabre:
You must manage the booking through your own GDS. Full instructions can be found here.
Aviate Airline Policies
As you are probably aware, airlines are publishing two types of policy ‘Covid-19’ policies and ‘Book with Confidence’ policies. We are aware that so many policies can be quite confusing, so I wanted to take some time to clarify.
‘Covid-19’ policies are there to cover your existing affected bookings that were created and ticketed before the outbreak to travel during the disruption period.
‘Book with Confidence’ policies are published by airlines to help encourage passengers to book during this challenging period to travel later in the year (or next year) giving the flexibility to change dates without a charge.
What we are finding is that airlines are now combining the two types of policy, therefore we are now only publishing ‘Covid-19’ policies for Aviate airlines and they can be found here.
Air Mauritius goes into voluntary administration
The Board of Air Mauritius took the decision to place the airline into voluntary administration on today (22 April) ‘in order to safeguard the interests of the company’.
We are working with Air Mauritius in the UK to understand the impact on existing bookings with the airline, and will update further in due course. At this time, we recommend you look to protect future Air Mauritius bookings on alternative airlines so that your future departures are protected to Mauritius.
System Enhancement – disrupted bookings
Within the next week we are due to enhance functionality across our Flights systems to enable you more control over redeeming Exchange Travel Credits (ETC). This follows our previous system enhancement on 24 March which enabled you control over creating/accepting an Exchange Travel Credit.
We will post a notification to the Lime, Aviate and Virgin Atlantic Flightstore websites once this functionality is live and provide an updated guide on how to redeem ETCs.
Key Topics for Bulletin 6
- Refund progress
- Air Mauritius further update