Foreign airlines agree to refund bucket tickets

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Foreign airlines agree to refund bucket tickets

Singapore Airlines and Australia’s Qantas Airways are now issuing refunds for bargain-priced seasonal tickets as the nation’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) deemed their no-refund policy unfair.

Such seasonal tickets are issued sporadically to lure early-bird consumers to travel in the off-peak season in advance.

Both airlines decided to refund the balance after cancellation fees are deducted, the FTC said yesterday.

Singapore Airline has already begun deducting 120,000 won ($111) and paying back the rest, while Qantas Airways said its refund policy and cancellation fee of 300,000 won will take effect from the next batch of discount sales next year.

Other airlines, including Korean Air, Asiana Air and Air France, issue refunds after knocking up to 30 percent off for the inconvenience, according to the FTC.

A basic fare for Singapore Airlines’ early bird discount ticket from Incheon to Singapore is 366,000 won, about 15 percent cheaper than the original price. This excludes the fuel surcharge and tax.

While those who bought the bargain tickets were not eligible for any money back after canceling, purchasers of the same ticket at its original price were granted refunds minus a 120,000 won charge.

The FTC’s decision comes as the number of complaints filed with the Korea Consumer Agency regarding airlines’ refund policies tripled to 124 last year from 40 in 2010.

“We are monitoring whether any other local or international airlines are violating the [consumers] policy law,” said Lee Yu-tae at the FTC.


By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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