The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge problems for airlines, most of whom have had to ground most or all of their fleets. Etihad is no exception. These decisions have resulted in millions of passengers wanting refunds for their cancelled flights.
What should I do?
Bear in mind that that all airlines are overwhelmed by the current situation, and so will be working through hundreds of flights with tens of thousands of passengers.
If your flight is not for this week or next week, it may make more sense to wait a few weeks until the airlines have sorted our resourcing issues in call centres and also improved their online refund procedures. Many airlines also spent much of March sorting out urgent repatriation flights.
For general advice on claims, including EU261 claims, see
Etihad has cancelled my flight. How do I get a refund?
Etihad has suspended all departures from Abu Dhabi International airport for an initial period of 14 days. This comes after the UAE government’s directive to suspend all inbound, outbound and transit passenger flights in the region was brought forward by a day.
From March 23, only UAE citizens are permitted entry into Abu Dhabi. If you are booked on a connecting flight via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on the carrier’s network, you will not be able to travel.
Customers are advised to visit this webpage if impacted.
Am I entitled to a refund?
Etihad has stated:
“If your booking was affected by the Covid-19 situation, the refund would be as per fare rules.”
This means that passengers are likely to have to pay a cancellation fee even though Etihad cancelled the flight.
Passengers who used Etihad Guest Miles to pay for their travel will be able to get a refund in miles if the customer cannot find a suitable future travel date.
Etihad is offering me a voucher instead of a refund.
Some airlines will offer a voucher for future travel instead of a refund. Obviously airlines would rather you rebooked with them, and this is one way of encouraging it. A voucher also has the advantage for the airline of allowing them to keep hold of your money and so help their cashflow.
Etihad has launched Etihad Credit, a voucher system which gives passengers the option to cancel their flight and get the original value of their booking as credit for their next trip. The trip must be booked before September 30, 2020, and taken before July 31, 2021. Fare differences will still apply, but you can pick a new destination and cabin.
To further convince passengers to use Etihad Credit, the airline is offering an additional bonus of up to 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles depending on the booked cabin class.
The carrier is also waiving change fees for customers rebooking flights for travel on or before 30 June, 2020.
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