My wife and I had planned two separate return trips to England for 2020 - both of them home exchanges and each 6-7 weeks in duration. One trip was to have been March/April, and right now we would have been still away on the second one. (We’re not Brits but love the place and the two opportunities came up).
We booked and paid for the two trips directly with Emirates on their website in February this year. One was Economy both ways, the other one Business Class both ways - but in both cases we did not pay extra for flexi fares.
Of course COVID screwed all this up and Emirates cancelled the flights. They offered us two-year credits and we thought ‘oh well, better than nothing’. Because we hadn’t paid for flexi, we thought we were not really entitled to anything. We weren’t covered by our travel insurance either due a pandemic force majeure clause (but we did get our premiums refunded because we didn’t travel).
Later, about two months ago, while I was talking to Emirates on the phone about the credits, the CSR almost casually mentioned something like ‘of course you could ask for refunds’. Hang on .... what?
We were unaware that, for whatever moral or business reasons, Emirates had made a voluntary corporate decision to refund all fares caught by this situation. However it appears that they didn’t spontaneously advise their customers of this - it seems you had to apply. But if you weren’t advised, you didn’t know to apply - bit of a Catch-22 there.
We applied about seven weeks ago and this week we received a series of emails confirming that all of our fares had been approved for full refunds - about $23k in total. The first of these funds has arrived in our credit card account today.