Cancellation charges

I request the help of Gulf News in finding a solution to an issue I have with Etihad Airways. I booked a ticket for two people (for myself and my wife) on June 25, 2012 in Etihad Airways to travel between Abu Dhabi and Calicut in Kerala, India, which was subsequently cancelled on June 26, 2012.

I am a member of the Abu Dhabi Government Employee Travel Program, which entitles me to five per cent discount on the fare, no cancellation charges and no rescheduling charges. Despite my membership in that programme, while cancelling the ticket I was told that I will be charged Dh250 per ticket (Dh100 as service charge and Dh150 as cancellation charge). I objected to this charge and sent an email to on June 26 highlighting the details of the Abu Dhabi Government Employee Travel Program benefits. Since then I have made numerous calls to their toll-free numbers and sent three reminder emails to their Call Centre. Unfortunately I am yet to receive credit for the cancelled tickets (total of Dh6,642) even after five weeks from cancellation!

I suggested to them over the phone to credit the ticket fare minus the deductions immediately and decide on the cancellation charges — whether to honour the Abu Dhabi Employee Travel Program or not and whether to pay me the cancellation charges later or not. As my calls and emails to Etihad Airways have no effect, I request Gulf News to help me solve this issue.

From Mr Puthiyaveettil Karuvachery Suresh

Abu Dhabi

Mr Lee Shave, Vice President Guest Experience, Etihad Airways, responds:

The booking made by Mr Suresh was for personal travel, rather than for corporate travel, and therefore normal fare rules regarding changes and cancellations apply.

We have spoken with Mr Suresh and in this instance we will refund the ticket and charges.

Mr Suresh has accepted this offer and also our apology for not responding to him sooner.

Mr Suresh responds:

Thanks for the mail and for the efforts of Gulf News in solving my issue with Etihad Airways. Until very recently my issue remained at the call centre employee level. But thanks to Gulf News the issue was escalated to the senior level in Etihad Airways who have solved it. Three people from Etihad Airways called me and promised to refund the money (without any cancellation charges) in approximately 10 days.

They explained to me that the listed benefits of the Abu Dhabi Government Employee Travel Program are only applicable for corporate travel. However, I have pointed out to them that the wording in their Terms and Conditions is ambiguous. It states: “...range of exclusive rewards and benefits for government employees when they fly Etihad Airways – for business or leisure”. The word leisure does not give the impression of corporate travel only. They agreed to this and informed me that the text would be modified suitably.

Once again I thank Gulf News for taking up my issue with Etihad to find an amicable solution.

Editor’s note: The follow up letter was forwarded to the management of Etihad Airways for further comments, but they said that they have nothing further to add.

Delayed transfer of funds

On August 9, 2012 I had approached HSBC, King Faisal Street Branch in Sharjah, to transfer equivalent to Dh70,000 to my son, who is studying in North Dakota University in the US. These funds were transferred for his fees for graduation. My account was debited and the funds were sent by HSBC on August 11 by Swift. Thereafter, I went to India for two weeks on vacation. However, I kept checking about the funds by calling HSBC and I was always assured that the same has been done. My son called me on August 20 informing me that he has not received any fund in his account and his bankers were not able to trace the same. He was also warned by the University of the consequences if he did not pay his fees. Naturally he was extremely stressed and we were chasing the bank with a valid complaint as to where the funds were and why there was no information about the same. We were not notified of any anomalies in the transaction. We have also not received any proper information on the whereabouts of the money for except that they will send a reminder, and those so-called reminders went nowhere. I request the concerned bank through Gulf News to immediately resolve the issue as it is the question of my son’s future.

From Mr Ashok Kumar Sharma


Mr Ahmad Othman, Regional Manager, HSBC, responds:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Please note that we have contacted Mr Sharma and an amicable solution has been reached to his satisfaction.

Thank you once again for bringing this matter to our attention.

Editor’s note: If you have similar consumer complaints and wish to raise them with the newspaper, contact us via e-mail at