Having a Hard Time Rebooking Your AirAsia Flight Owing to Calamity? Here's What You Should Do!

Have you ever been stranded at a location due to a calamity and can’t make it to your flight? If you answered yes, you probably have requested to rebook your flight by calling your airline of choice’s customer service. If you were able to rebook it hassle-free, then lucky you.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, read on. This is pretty long but, it is worth reading as this may help you in the future. 

As I was vacationing in Dumaguete, the weather wasn’t really cooperating. In fact, guests of my couple friend’s wedding on December 16 weren’t able to make it to the ceremony as they got stranded in Cebu. All maritime vessels were suspended at that time due to Typhoon Urduja. The weather was fine after that day so I was able to visit some beautiful spots located an hour away from my hometown.

Come December 21, another typhoon, named Vinta, also struck the Visayas region, prompting authorities to suspend all activities from maritime vessels on the evening of the same day. I was hoping that the weather condition would improve the next day as I had to fly back to Manila from Cebu.

Apparently, the condition did not improve the next day, so I had to call the AirAsia customer service to request a rebooking of my flight to December 26, at the same time.

Stressful Rebooking

I was advised on my first call to secure a certificate from the Coast Guard and send it to paa_helpdesk@airasia.com and call them back after the said certificate was sent. I called them back after around two hours, informing them that the certificate was already sent. The representative processed my request, confirming that there was an available flight on December 26 and that my request was still subject to a rebooking fee. I was then told to call back should there be no confirmation email after two hours. I checked my email after the said time-frame but did not receive a confirmation so I called back. This time around, I was advised to wait until evening for the confirmation email. I was told that my concern would be tagged as URGENT and that I could call them back before 11 p.m. (the hotline’s operating hours were from 7 a.m.to 11 p.m.).

I decided not to call back that evening -- despite not receiving any confirmation email -- and waited for the next morning.

I called back on the morning of the 23rd of December.  Again, the same excuses: they were very sorry for the inconvenience it had caused me and my concern was tagged as urgent.

Screenshot of the email sent to the executives

Christmas Eve and I still had not received any email. I followed up again. I even asked to speak with a supervisor but I heard the same lines. Needless to say, he was of no help at all. LOL!

Escalated to the Executives

After talking with that supervisor, I realized that the customer service would not be able to process my rebooking request. So I decided to escalate my concern to the airline’s executives on the same day. I sent an email to these executives, narrating my concern. I even messaged the airline’s Founder and CEO Mr Tony Fernandes’ FB page. I also researched for the email Dexter Comendador, the airlines’ CEO in the Philippines, but couldn’t seem to find it.

                                                                      Screenshot of Mr Tony Fernandes' reply

After sending an email to these executives, I was beginning to feel hopeless as it was the holiday season. For sure, these executives were busy spending the holiday season with their loved ones and my email would only be read by January.

By 12 noon on December 25, I still had not received a reply. Desperate, I began browsing for the lowest fare on December 26. Luckily, after refreshing my email, I received a reply from the Founder and CEO himself. Yes, you read that right, Mr Tony Fernandes replied to my email. His email was addressed to Katrina Mae Coro, a Guest Services Manager.

Lo and behold, someone called me minutes after the CEO sent his email, confirming that my request had been approved without a rebooking fee. Yes, they did not charge me. HA! That quick!

So you will need to direct your rebooking concern to the AirAsia’s executives should you have a hard time getting it approved through their hotline.

On a good note, this experience was a blessing in disguise I was able to spend the Christmas with my loved ones and was able to explore another tourist spot an hour for my hometown after the typhoon weakened.

Things I noticed

The hotline’s representatives aren’t synced. One said the rebooking requests are processed after two hours, another said until the end of the day, while yet another said 24 to 48 hours. When calling the hotline, you will need to listen to the voice overs for around two minutes before being redirected to the options to choose from. So you have no choice but to listen to their ads (new flight routes, etc). You need to allot 10 minutes per call since you will be placed on hold for about 3 minutes because they will process your concern. Yes, you need extra phone credits when calling them though your mobile. And if you’re outside Metro Manila, your landline call will be tagged as long distance. Tagging concerns as URGENT doesn’t help in expediting it. So if you are advised that your concern will be tagged as urgent, be prepared to call them back, like four times.

This also led me to wonder what happened to those who were also stranded and requested their flights to be moved to other dates? What if they didn’t have access to the executives’ email addresses?  Were their concerns resolved? Were they able to fly on their preferred dates? Only AirAsia knows!

I would like to reiterate that this blog post is not intended to whine. This has been published to educate, somehow, passengers who may be stranded one of these days.

And oh, maybe you are wondering how I got the executives’ email addresses? A simple Google search helped me with this. :)  

Would I still fly with AirAsia after this experience? Sure I will. It has been my airline of choice every time I visit my hometown as it offers low fares even if you book a day before your flight.

Feel free to share your AirAsia rebooking experience in the comments section. 

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