Airlines Change Ticket Refund Policy

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Shanghai Daily July 10, 2007

Chinese airline passengers may get more money back when they cancel domestic flight tickets as some carriers adopted new service fees.

The fee for returning airline tickets is now determined by discounts rather than when the ticket is returned, said operators on customer service lines with China Eastern Airlines and Air China. Both carriers adopted the new standard on July 1.

Beijing-based Air China charges five percent of the ticket price for its tickets with less than a 20 percent discount. Passengers may get 90 percent refunded if they buy a ticket with a 25 to 40 percent discount. The company will charge 30 percent for returned tickets bought at a 50 to 60 percent discount.

Shanghai-based China Eastern, the country's third-largest carrier, charges similar fees as Air China on canceled tickets for domestic flights.

The move will ease passengers' losses especially if they miss a flight. Under such circumstance, only a 50 percent refund was offered.

But tickets with more than a 70 percent discount can not be returned, China Eastern said.

Operators with China Southern Airlines said the company is charging fees on canceled tickets based on both when they are canceled and the discounts.

For example, passengers may get a 100 percent refund for tickets with less than a 20 percent discount if it's canceled at least 24 hours before takeoff. 

While tickets purchased at more than a 40 percent discount will be charged 50 percent as a service fee after takeoff.

Airline companies formerly charged five percent of the ticket price when a passenger wanted to cencel the ticket 24 hours before takeoff. A ten percent fee applied when the ticket was canceled between two and 24 hours of takeoff. The fee rose to 20 percent of the ticket price when a ticket was canceled within two hours of takeoff.

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