Air Asia – from bad to worse

After my blog post about Air Asia‘s treatment of its customers I received a email from the company telling me that the USD 3000 that they have been sitting on since January will be paid back to me in 30 to 60 working days! Worst case that means an additional 3 months of waiting to get my money back. Ain Izzaty, a customer support staff at Air Asia sent me the following explanation why it takes ‘some time’ to pay me back the money they owe me:

I will explain to you why it takes some time to process it. Once the agent place the queue for refund in the systems it will escalated to their manager on duty to verify and approve then the manager will escalate it to the finance department, and once finance department received the report they will check with our accounts department and then they will send the report to the bank. Kindly take note that Air Asia finance department is not based in Kuala Lumpur, its based in Thailand.

Bank will take some time to process it and transfer the fund to your bank, all this process normally takes 30 – 60 working days to process from the date your booking placed on refund queue excluding Saturdays and Sundays. The process get delayed sometimes if there is any problem between bank to bank transfer however the problem will be solved by the bank. We have escalated this matter to finance department to check with the bank and speed up the process. Thank you so much for your patience all this while, kindly check your credit card statement from time to time. We will email you the status once we get the reply from the finance department.

Thank you for flying with Air Asia.

Air Asia, this is total bullsh*t. I used to work for a multinational in finance and know exactly how these procedures work. They can be done in hours or maximum a few days, not months. Do you really think that it makes any difference that your finance department is in Thailand and not in Malaysia? Or do you transport your payment instructions by bicycle from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok?

You are just delaying the payment as much as possible and the customer is obviously not important to you. I hoped the issue would be solved after the long phone call on Friday, but you’re only making it worse. I know you are a low-cost airline but that’s not a justification to treat your customers like dirt. Short-term thinking will hurt your long-term results. The end result is that you lost a customer and that I do not mind spreading the word about this.

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  1. Your mistake, and you know that, was to contact the airline. I do have several experiences about double bookings, but never had problems to get the money from the credit card companies I used. So you may set the credit card comp. under fire. I booked a Hotel at Bali, they charged double. Normaly the card company will contact me as they ever find out the double bookings themself. But my phone was off coz of holiday. 2 days later at home a mail was waiting for me from Amex. I confirmed that the Hotel made a mistake, 2 days later the money was booked back and the Hotel invited me for one free night in any of there hotels. Kick your credit card company. I can for sure say that Amex or Visa ever handle such problems very customer-friendly. Why did they not inform you about double booking? They do not need to press only 1 key as most systems will alert automaticly and it is the work for the credit card company to investigate if someone charged double or not.

  2. Good point. I realize I made a mistake by contacting the airline, I just assumed that they would refund me the money right away like a credit cards company would. I was very wrong there. Lesson learned.

    I used a Visa card and nobody ever contacted me about the double booking. I noticed it myself on my credit card statement. Wish I would have given Visa a call right away, would have saved me a lot of trouble.

  3. Thx to share your experience with us. I was about to book a flight with them for my next trip to Thailand, but I think I will choose Thai Airways (which I took yesterday from Taiwan to Hong Kong, the service was excellent and (it’s maybe a coincidence) the whole TV system was already set in French).

  4. Marc,

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with AirAsia. I used to fly extensively with AirAsia during my expat time in Kuala Lumpur and was very happy with their service.

    One strategy which often works for me is to escalate an issue using Do a search on ‘AirAsia’ and look for senior people in the customers service department. Send them a mail and explain your issue, it can help a lot.

    A few months ago I had a serious issue with a Belgian telecommunications company, for weeks I tried to get it solved by calling their helpdesk, but after being cut off from internet/fax/voice for more than three weeks, I decided it was time to mail a VP at the company. I mailed him on a friday night at 8pm. He immediately responded via Blackberry and the issue was solved in a matter of hours!

    One more thing, your ‘alternative’ Malaysia Airlines provided me the worst customer service experience ever, so be careful with them! (rude staff, bad airport lounges, lame reward program, etc..)
    One example, I had collected enough miles to book an Amsterdam-KL return ticket. I noticed on the MAS website, rewards could only be redeemed by calling MAS. I gave them a call and guess what, if you want to book a ticket which has an origin airport outside Malaysia, you can only book the ticket by going to a MAS service center… in Malaysia… so to book an Amsterdam-KL ticket, you need to go to KL first?!? Well, that’s a great way to avoid foreigners to redeem their miles!

  5. @Bart Good idea, I don’t really use my network on LinkedIn, but that may be a useful strategy to accelerate the solution to a problem.

    So far I never had any bad experiences with MAS, but I only flew them twice I think. With regards to rewards all airlines are the same I am afraid, but going in person to a counter in KL to book a ticket is a trick I did not hear of before!

    KLM is also good at ripping off its loyal customers: I have hundreds of thousands of KLM miles and always when I want to use them, there are no eligible seats. Now they have a new regulation that you can use additional miles to ensure you get a seat with miles. They dare to call that a service, but it’s just a rip-off.

  6. Another terrible money-eating airline is Cebu Air, be cautious with their phone service, they might promise a lot of thing via phones which you cannot trace back. I am still waiting for the refunding of two flights I cancelled last year to Boracay.

  7. Air asia is a worse company, their sistem is bad, i order a ticket via android apps and it was from bali to surabaya suddenly after i input everything like my CC number it was reset by it self, my destination change in malaysia, what do i need it for?! Im in indonesia. I complain to the company in surabaya they said i have to wait for 5 days i waited, but they didnt give me anything but to ask to wait again, i call my CC company from my bank and its look like they need a report from this suck company, i even tweet them, i complain the next day and the next untol 5 times, and what did i get they still charge me for the ticket that i didnt bought, and the most f**k thing is air asia said yhad i cannot had my refound, cos it was flihht ticket in malay, even it was still 7 days again, and this airasia also said to my CC comp that i didnt file any complain yhis airasia is realy a worse company dont fly with it, i hope it will go down sooner, its happen with my friend to this kind of case, yhey had no responsibility to their cust

  8. On 20 March 2014 I booked a flight with AirAsia (SUB-BKK) scheduled for 16 July. In May I was informed the route would be cancelled effective 1 July, so I promptly applied for a full refund (listed among the compensation options). That was approved in an e-mail I received 19 Jun. In September I contacted my bank (after seeing that no refund had been registered) and was asked to provide the ARN and date of transaction. I have contacted AirAsia several times with no success, they simply turn down any of my requests to provide any proof of refund. At this point, I am finally aware of having been cheated by a gang of thieves and liars.

  9. I am still waiting my refund for a cancelled booking .It passed two and half months and after several calls and emails asking for my refund I am still waiting .
    I was a regular customer and I will never again use this airline .