Qatar Airways has already paid out over $1.2 billion in refunds for passengers since March 2020, while 4% of compensation claims remain to be processed. However, the record payouts could have been even higher and reached almost $2 billion.
During the peak of COVID-19 crisis, Qatar Airways was processing a record number of refund requests, over 10,000 per day, which resulted in a record sum to be paid out to travelers, the airline said in a statement on August 18, 2020.
The Gulf carrier said it already returned $1.2 billion to passengers and processed 96% refunds requested since March 2020. Besides the payouts, Qatar Airways has been offering passengers alternative options. The move presumably helped to save millions of dollars, as the airline said 36% of its customers opted for an alternative option over a monetary refund.
In particular, under the airline’s new flexible booking policy, flight tickets are valid for two years from the date of issuance. Travel or destination changes are also free and limitless, while a flight’s origin city can also be changed for another on the airline’s network within a 5,000-mile radius of the original. Tickets can also be exchanged for Qmiles or future travel voucher worth 110% of the original ticket value.
As of August 18, the Qatari airline operates 500 weekly flights to 80 destinations. Its Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets are already in service, while the Airbus A380 superjumbos remain grounded.