ALTHOUGH the flight schedule has been reopened in accordance with Minister of Transportation Regulations (Permenhub) No. 25 of 2020 concerning Transportation Control during the Idul Fitri Homecoming, where domestic flights are permitted to operate again by complying with the prescribed health protocol.

However, this did not show a significant increase in the number of people traveling using air transportation because the schedule was still not optimal flight in each region and the existence of several requirements that must be met by prospective passengers.

According to Jeffry Darjanto, Ticketing Coordinator for ASTINDO (Indonesian Travel Agent Association) recently said that the requirements include having a healthy certificate, a certificate from the company, conducting a rapid test/PCR, where it is felt burdensome to consumers and makes them reluctant to travel using transportation air.

“In view of there many of requests for plane ticket purchases before the pandemic and now many travel agents have received refund requests from February to the present. Almost all airlines experience liquidity problems due to the lack of sales figures and are also still burdened with operational costs,” he said.

He affirmed that so the airlines decided to return tickets using a voucher/credit refund (international airline) or top up deposit for domestic airlines. But in this case, travel agents and consumers are the disadvantaged parties, because both travel agents and consumers must pay in advance to the airline when the ticket is issued by the airline, so it can be said that the airline operates with money owned by consumers and travel agents .

“Indeed, the travel agent’s business on bad conditions. Not only have to bail out in advance the purchase of airline tickets, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic until now, almost all travel agents do not get income but they are still obliged to pay all operational costs for their offices,” he noted.

He pointed out addressing this condition, ASTINDO has successfully negotiated with several airlines that provide refunds in the form of vouchers/credit refunds to be given a time limit on the use of vouchers/credit refunds, which previously could only be used until December 2020, but could be used until December 2021, so consumers still have enough time to plan their trip again.

ASTINDO hopes that all consumers who have submitted a refund process through a travel agent will understand that even under normal conditions the refund process takes 2-3 months. Especially in conditions like now, where almost all airline offices also apply WFH so that the refund process will run longer than normal conditions.

“Besides that we also ask all consumers not to demand a fully refund, given the existence of some costs incurred by travel agents before the refund process is carried out,” Jeffry concluded.

He emphasized that it is very natural that travel agents charge service fees or administrative costs to consumers as services for the refund process, moreover there has been no income for travel agents due to the absence of flight ticket sales transactions lately. [ special]