Virgin Australia Pauses Refunds, Travel CreditsIf you have a cancelled Virgin Australia flight, the airline says that you can still request a travel bank credit. If you bought a refundable ticket, such as a Freedom fare, you can also apply for a refund. But Virgin Australia is not currently processing any new refunds or flight credits. In fact, it hasn’t done so ever since the business entered voluntary administration on 21 April.

Last Wednesday, Virgin Australia advised customers with outstanding refund requests that the airline has “temporarily paused issuing new travel credits and refunds while we wait for direction from the administrator”.

If you have an outstanding Virgin Australia booking that you need to cancel, you can still request a refund or travel credit at this time. But Virgin won’t say when this will be processed. It may not happen until Virgin Australia is out of voluntary administration – which could take months.

In a statement, a Virgin Australia spokesperson confirmed that there is currently a “temporary pause” on issuing new travel credits or refunds, as directed by the administrator. The spokesperson pointed to the Customer Care Hub on the Virgin Australia website for information about travel credits and refunds.

“There is no change to the validity of travel credits that have already been issued,” the Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

Virgin Australia has finally updated its website

For the past weeks, the Virgin Australia website has been advising customers that they can “cancel and request a travel credit”, with the following notice appearing:

If you a hold a ticket for travel up to 30 September 2020, you can change your booking or request a travel credit without a change or cancellation fee. Fare and tax differences may apply.

But, until yesterday, there was no mention anywhere on the Virgin Australia website that refunds have been paused by the administrators – just that there would be a “delay” and the credit “will be processed to your Travel Bank soon”. When we contacted Virgin Australia on Thursday evening, this what the Travel Credit Request form looked like:

Virgin Australia Travel Credit Request page on Thursday
Virgin Australia Travel Credit Request page on Thursday

 

By Friday afternoon, Virgin had updated the page with this crucial information:

Virgin Australia Travel Credit Request page on Friday
Virgin Australia Travel Credit Request page on Friday

 

Yesterday, Virgin also updated the “frequently asked questions” on its website. For the question of “Why haven’t I received my travel credit yet?”, this is what Virgin Australia was advising customers on Thursday:

If you have already cancelled your travel either online or via our Guest Contact Centre, please note that there is currently a delay in the processing of travel credits. Rest assured we will have received your request and will be in contact soon.

On Friday, Virgin finally updated its website to mention the crucial detail about not currently processing any new refunds. Here is the updated answer:

If you have already cancelled your travel either online or via our Guest Contact Centre, please note that we have temporarily paused issuing new travel credits and refunds while we wait for direction from the administrator. We will provide further information shortly.

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said that the airline would stop processing any new refunds on 21 April, the day that the airline entered administration. It’s hard to understand why Virgin didn’t update its website to reflect this until 8 May.

What options are available to Virgin Australia customers?

If you have booked a Virgin Australia flight that you wish to cancel – or your flight has been cancelled by the airline – you can still request a travel bank credit. But this will not be processed immediately.

Virgin Australia’s policy since the COVID-19 crisis began has been that it will not provide refunds – only vouchers – for flights cancelled by the airline. This may be a contravention of Australian Consumer Law, and is the subject of a class action lawsuit currently being proposed by Slater and Gordon.

Some AFF members with flights that were cancelled by Virgin Australia have initiated credit card chargeback requests.

In the past, Virgin Australia hasn’t taken too kindly to credit card chargebacks. But it could be a possibility if the services you paid for haven’t been provided, no suitable alternative flights were offered, and the airline won’t refund your money. Keep in mind that you will need to provide supporting documentation when requesting a credit card chargeback.

Virgin Australia did not address our question about credit card chargebacks.

If you have travel insurance, including through the credit card that you used to purchase your flights, you could also check whether it’s possible to claim any costs incurred via insurance.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: VA no longer issuing credits to travelbank (or anywhere else)

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]