Is Emirates Paying Promised Refunds?

August 9, 2020
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In the past two months, Emirates has processed nearly 650,000 refund requests, returning over AED 1.9 billion to its customers and making good on its promise to expedite refunds after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel plans for millions of customers around the world.

In April, Emirates had announced that it would ramp up its refunds capabilities and committed to clear its backlog by August, which at that time stood at nearly half a million requests. The airline had crossed that target by early June, after expanding its processing capability from an average of 35,000 requests a month, to nearly 200,000.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer said: “This pandemic is a black swan event no-one expected, impacting travellers and hitting the airline and travel industry hard. At Emirates, we’ve earned our customers’ trust over the years and we value that greatly. It is tough times for everyone, but we are committed to doing what’s right by our customers. That’s why we ringfenced cash to honour refunds, and invested resources to expedite processing. Our average processing time for refunds has reduced from 90 days to 60, and as we see lower volumes of new requests we expect this rate to further improve. We still have over half a million refund requests to manage, and expect to clear these within the next 2 months. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and trust, and to those who have opted to hold their ticket or rebooked to travel at a later time – we look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.


I believe that this refund promise from Emirates is merely lip service, and they are waiting to get some cash in from ticket sales before they process refunds. Why would it otherwise take 5+ months to issue a straight non-complicated refund?

How do I know this? Well. Emirates canceled my flights back in February, Orbitz promised to refund in March, and here were are in August. Agents from Orbitz cannot call Emirates, but need to email the trade desk.

I did a credit card dispute too, but Emirates provided documentation from their side that I would have voluntarily canceled the ticket (utter lie and I have emails to prove it).

I have always said that all the ME3s (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways) are lovely in the air, but god help if you run into any issues with them on the ground such as trying to get a refund.

There is just no customer service culture (or protection if this had been a local purchase) in any of these countries. Companies think that they can treat customers with utmost disrespect like what Emirates has done here with refunds.