I am a Sri Lankan currently working in the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) based in Islamabad, Pakistan since October 2014. In December 2014, I was supposed to go on my vacation back to Sri Lanka. Whilst based on a UN colleague’s recommendation I sought the service of Omar Travels located in Blue Area in Islamabad. My itinerary was to travel 1st from Islamabad to Colombo, 2nd from Colombo to London Heathrow and 3rd London to Islamabad for which I was offered a fare worth USD 1530. Before booking I visited the agency personally and paid the amount in cash. I also stated that there is a possibility my travel from Colombo – London may get either changed or postponed and enquired of the refund status. They replied that I need to complete my journey and inform them so that they will send the request for refund. I received the following itinerary:
1st series: 18th December 2014 – ISB-DXB (EK 615)
2nd series: 18th December 2014 – DXB-CMB (EK 652)
3rd series: 29th December 2014 - CMB-DXB (EK 651)
4th series: 29th December 2014 – DXB-BHX (EK 037)
5th series: 06th January 2015 – LHR-DXB (EK 008)
6th series: 06th January 2015 – DXB-ISB (EK 614)
Based on this itinerary I could not make the travel series 3 and 4 as planned and I duly sent an email to either postpone or cancel the booking on 24th December 2014 to Asma Travels. They said it is cancelled and rebooking is not possible due to unavailability of seats. Hence I made a booking just for CMB-LHR via Sri Lankan airlines and flew London on 02nd January 2015. Subsequently I used the 5th and 6th series of the previous itinerary with Emirates Airlines as per the previous booking. As per the travel agency’s initial instructions, I sent a mail on 07th January 2015 to the local travel agency notifying my return and to provide a response for the refund. They replied me saying that the request has been sent to Emirates airlines and definitely refund me upon their response. Subsequently I sent reminders to the travel agent on 12th and 17th January 2015 to follow up on this. For my 3rd reminder sent on 02nd February 2015, I received a reply from the travel agent that they have got a response from Senior Sales Support Assistant of Emirates in Islamabad saying that this ticket is used out of sequence, hence it cannot be refunded. Whilst replying back to the travel agency I also put an online complaint with emirates. As a response I got the following message from customer sales and service representatives of Emirates:
Dear Mr. Mohamed,
Thank you for contacting Emirates.
I'm sorry to know about your disappointment with the refund restriction of your ticket.
I'm unable to comment on your travel agency's offer to refund the tickets after you had informed him that you intend to use the ticket out of the order that it was issued in. I can only confirm that we are unable to refund the value of unused flight coupons when the ticket was used out of sequence.
Please check with your travel agency if he can offer a solution in this case.
For any further query, please let us know.
Also I got a call from the travel agent saying that they have nothing to do with this situation. They tried to convince me that they didn’t mention about the refund situation for which I have the email communications with them.
Generally speaking of, it is very unfair to reject a passenger a refund due to a new terminology called Out of Sequence Travel. Which means the airline charges the passenger including all taxes and duties from the passenger for a travel itinerary he/she has not made. They need to give more priority to passengers traveling multiple destinations.
In my context, I was kept a while from the very beginning of the booking, with a hope to get a refund. Neither the travel agent, nor the airline, failed to provide information on time to avoid disappointment. Both entities are now blaming each other. So I ended up paying 1530$ for Islamabad-Colombo and London-Islamabad. Regardless of the 700$ I paid for the Colombo-London trip with another airlines.
Both entities should take up my complaint seriously for the fault of not providing information on the existence of policy of non-refund in case of this so called out of sequence travel, the travel agent acting as the representative of the Emirates when it comes to passengers who are authorized by Emirates to issue tickets.
I hereby request to provide me justice.