Refunds offered after MH17 crash

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 17:10 18/07/2014

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Malaysia Airlines will fully refund passengers wanting to cancel their tickets until Thursday next week.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine this morning killing all 298 aboard.Malaysia Airlines told Fairfax Media passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non refundable tickets.

The policy is effective immediately until Thursday next week.The waivers apply for travel between July 18 until December 31, 2014.

"Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets the loss of MH17 and is very much appreciative of the support from our passengers," a statement from the airline said.

MH17 was hit by a missile and crashed on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

One New Zealand passport-holder is believed to be among the dead, along with 27 Australians and 154 Dutch people.

The crash comes just four months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard, including New Zealanders Paul Weeks, 38, and Ximin Wang, 50.

An Auckland man, who did not want to be named, booked a flight with Malaysia Airlines at the start of the year before flight MH370 vanished.

He said after this morning's MH17 crash he was looking to cancel his tickets and book with another airline.Malaysia Airlines told him it would fully refund the ticket, he said.

"I'd rather be somewhat relaxed on the flight there and back," he said.House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said the MH17 incident would not deter New Zealanders from flying.

''The New Zealand public are resilient travellers,'' he said.

''They recognise that air travel is one of the safest ways to travel.''

Immediately after aviation disasters concerned customers asked whether their travel situations were affected but no customers had made cancellations today, he said.

''I'm not expecting that we will have significant, if any cancellations at all today or over the next few days,'' Thomas said.

In a statement Flight Centre general manager Simon McKearney said it had received a number of customers inquiring about disruptions and flight changes to upcoming travel bookings.

"The situation is changing rapidly and we are monitoring it closely," McKearney said.

Flight Centre recommended anyone concerned about their travel or leaving within the next couple of days to contact their travel consultant.

Thomas said travel insurance would not cover any booking cancellations.

Aviation disasters did tend to have a small impact on booking patterns and it usually took about six weeks for bookings to return to normal, he said.

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''This is just one of those tragic incidents. It won't stop people travelling today, tomorrow or next week.

''People would continue to fly Malaysia Airlines because it was ''a respected and long-standing airline'', he said.

Its capacity out of New Zealand was small but its flight routes suited some travellers, Thomas said.

Malaysia Airlines flies daily between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland.

Auckland Airport corporate affairs manager Simon Lambourne said the MH17 incident had no impact on airport operations.

 

 

- Stuff

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