In May 2018, I experienced my first flight cancellation on AirAsia, which resulted in an overnight stay because there was no other flight scheduled on that day. In the below article, I describe AirAsia handled the flight cancellation and how I made claims against my travel insurance with Allianz and AirAsia that could pay me as much as RM 700.
This is my full ordeal and lessons learned, and I hope that readers too will obtain some understanding and insights into their rights as a passenger when experiencing such an event.
Why did I buy travel insurance for this trip?
I travelled to Gold Coast, Australia from Kuala Lumpur in May 2018. The currency exchange rate at the time was almost 1 to 3, i.e. 1 Australian Dollar (AUD) was worth RM 3. That meant that everything in Australia was at least 3 times more expensive than in Malaysia. A normal lunch that costs RM 12 in Malaysia costs AUD 12 in Australia. But that AUD 12 is RM 36 after conversion. Expensive for me.
The trip was a big investment (flight, hotel, food and park visits), hence I did not have much extra money if something were to go wrong. I couldnot imagine how much a visit to the doctors would cost me in case I got sick during my travel, so I decided to buy Travel Care from Allianz. Why Allianz? Because I wanted to go for scuba diving while in Australia and Allianz covers for that particular extreme sport whereas many travel insurances do not.
Here’s what happened on the way home from Gold Coast, Australia:
May 27th @ 18:00
My flight was scheduled to fly out at 20:25 local time and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 17:10. That was the plan.
I arrived at the airport almost 3 hours earlier because I needed to check in my luggage, but also I looked forward to go home. I checked in my luggage and waited at the gate.
May 27th @ 20:25
We still did not start boarding the plane. Finally an announcement was made that the flight would be delayed.
May 27th @ 21:40
We were informed via the PA system that our flight has been cancelled and that there will be no more flights tonight to Kuala Lumpur. The next flight will be tomorrow morning. We were instructed to leave the gate.
This was not my first flight delay nor cancellation so I did have a little bit of experience. I knew that I had to find the AirAsia service desk to get a hotel paid by the airline.
Here is the rule that airlines follow:
If you are leaving for your trip from your home country and the flight is cancelled, the airline will not pay for anything. You are expected to just go home and come back later when the flight is scheduled to take off again. However, travel insurance will pay you some money, but more on that topic later.
But if you are already on your trip when the flight is cancelled, then the airline will provide you with food voucher and accommodation. You might wonder how can they tell if you are on a trip. If you have a travel visa to Australia, then you are clearly on a trip away from home.
Many people do not know that the airline will provide accommodation for travelers, so many end up paying for the extra night stay out of their own pocket – good for the airline because they save money, but bad for you, if you did not know and paid for the hotel on your own.
May 27th @ 22:00
At the AirAsia counter, we were informed that our new flight will go early next morning and that hotel and breakfast will be provided. The buses were waiting outside to bring us to the hotel.
I was really fortunate that I had booked AirAsia’s Premium Flex for this flight. The main reason I bought it was because of the luggage and hot seat selection. I needed to have luggage for the trip, so either the Value Pack or the Premium Flex were an option. I decided with the Premium Flex because of the extra hot seat. The flight time was 8 hours to Australia and 8hr and 40 mins back to Malaysia, so the extra leg room was important, especially since both flights were overnight flights.
How did Premium Flex help?
With the flight being cancelled, hundreds of people were lined up at the AirAsia counter to change their flight and get accommodation. Only a few people had booked business class or Premium Flex like me, so we were able to use the much shorter VIP line. Yeahhh. Lucky me. Not an advertisement for AirAsia, but this was really convenient.
May 27th @ 22:20
I arrived at the Mantra Hotel. Since I exited the bus very quickly, I was able to check in quickly. The staff was friendly and informative. Unfortunately, when I asked them about dinner option, they informed me that everything was closed. Even Domino’s Pizza stopped delivering at 22:00. So, no dinner and food since I was planning to have dinner on board of the airplane. Also no breakfast the next morning since the hotel starts serving breakfast at 6:30 and the bus leaves at 6:30. I went to my room, which was very nice and spacious, showered and went to bed hungry.
May 28th @ 6:00am
I woke up at 6:00am to get ready and headed down to the lobby. The bus was already waiting to go to the airport. I looked and found a nearby pastry shop, where I could buy myself some croissant and a coffee.
While waiting for the others to board the bus, I checked out the hotel a bit. The place was really nice, but unfortunately, I did not get the chance to enjoy the facilities. It was too late yesterday and too early today. I took a picture of the swimming pool as a memory.
May 28th @ 7:00am
I arrive at the airport, but no one from AirAsia was there. Everyone was a little grumpy and not happy with AirAsia because why have brought us to the airport so early if no one was going to be there. Also, many of them did not have breakfast, because the staff told us earlier that breakfast would be provided.
May 28th @ 7:21am
Luckily the wait time was not too long. 21 minutes later, an AirAsia staff finally showed up and started changing our tickets. However, once I received my ticket, I did not get any breakfast voucher. Only after I followed up and asked for it did the AirAsia staff provided me with food vouchers of AUD 10 each.
Later, I found out that the AirAsia staff did not provide food vouchers to everyone. Only when you ask for it, would they give you the voucher. If you do not ask, you do not get the voucher. Well, I do not think it is good practice by AirAsia. I understand that this method saves the company probably thousands of ringgits, but a normal traveler gets cheated by it. Not a practice that I would have expected from AirAsia.
I asked the staff if I could get a confirmation letter for the flight cancellation/delay, but she kindly informed me that we would need to go to the service counter in Kuala Lumpur to get it. It makes sense because the new flight could still experience further delay. This way the actual delay time could only be safely recorded in Kuala Lumpur.
May 28th @ 19:40 KL time
Many hours later, I finally arrived back at the KLIA 2 airport. Once I got my luggage, I headed straight to the AirAsia service counter. I needed to get written confirmation from the airline that my flight was cancelled and rescheduled in order to claim from my travel insurance. Also, I needed to find out how many hours the flight was delayed. This took quite a while as they were only 2 counters for the whole airport. But I knew it was important to claim from the travel insurance, so I waited patiently.
May 29th @ 12:00pm KL time
After I finally got home and rested, I went online to do the claim. Below is how I did the claim for AirAsia and Allianz Travel Guard. So for this flight, I had two travel insurances. One from Allianz and one from Tune that came automatically with the Premium Flex when we upgraded to Hot Seat.
What can we expect from our Travel Insurance?
The Tune Protect insurance came with a 1-hour On-time Guarantee which we definitely qualified for because the flight was delayed for more than 12 hours. Looking at the fine print, Tune Protect pays RM 100. It is not much, but it is something.
Allianz Travel Care
Looking at Allianz insurance fine print, we should get RM 300 for every 6-hour delay up to a maximum of RM 2,000.
Now you might wonder, why are we looking at flight delay when the flight was actually cancelled? The reason is that AirAsia has provided a replacement flight the next day for us, so the flight cancellation became a flight delay of more than 12 hours. So in total, I expect to get paid the amount of RM 600 from Allianz. That’s quite a lot of money that would pay for some of the travel inconveniences I had to endure.
How to make a travel insurance claim from Tune Protect insurance?
Claiming from Tune insurance was really easy. I went to the webpage https://claims.tuneprotect.com/
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There I had to just enter the flight booking number and all my information showed up automatically. I selected the “1 hour On-time Guarantee” that I would like to claim for. It also prompted me for my address and bank account information where the money should be transferred to. Once I clicked submit, I received a confirmation email with my case number.
Wow. I was impressed. This was so easy. All I had to provide was the flight booking number and some personal information. No paper document were needed. Not even the flight delay confirmation letter that I collected from the airport was needed. This is really easy and makes me comfortable to buy travel insurance from AirAsia. I guess it is simpler for them because the flight was on AirAsia and they could easily check internally for the flight delay.
The next day, I received a confirmation email from Tune Protect stating that the claim has been approved and that I will receive the RM100 via bank transfer and that if I don’t receive it in the next 14 days, then I should contact them again. I checked my bank account and in actual fact the RM100 was banked in on June 11th. In total it took Tune Protect only 8 working days to pay out the claim.
- May 29th, 2018: Submitted claim
- May 30th, 2018: Confirmation that claim is approved.
- June 11th, 2018: Claim paid out.
I am really happy with my experience with Tune. Now let’s see how Allianz is doing.
How to make a travel insurance claim from Allianz?
So first, I went online to look at the claims procedure for travel insurance. It basically says to download the claims form and send it to the insurance company. It did not say that you can send it via email, but want to give it a try via email to see if Allianz would accept it. Here is the link to the form in case you also need to make a claim: Allianz Travel Care Claims Form
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Since this was for a flight delay, I also had to fill out the following section.
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I filled out the form online with a PDF editor and sent the claims form together with the AirAsia flight ticket and boarding pass to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
There was a reason why I didn’t send the written confirmation letter from AirAsia to the email address. I believe that many travelers do not know that they need to collect it so I wanted to test if Allianz would still pay out the claim without this document. If they do, then it would be awesome and very customer oriented by Allianz. If not, we will send them the letter that we have already received.
After we submitted we received a generic acknowledgement email together with a Reference ID.
June 14th @ 10:00am
I received a call from the Allianz claims department, saying that the claim has been approved and that we need to submit an e-payment form to Allianz to receive the money. The full instruction from them was to send the e-payment form as well as the header of the bank statement so that they could double check that the details in the e-payment form were correct with the bank information. Allianz claims that there have been many cases where people sent in the wrong information.
To make things easier: Here is the Allianz E-payment Form that you can download and send together at right from the beginning, so hopefully your claim can be handled faster than mine.
Until today I still have not received the payment or feedback from Allianz regarding my travel insurance claim. Below the timeline up until today:
- May 29th, 2018: Submitted claims form online via email
- May 14th, 2018: Request for e-payment form
- June 11th, 2018: Follow up email to email@example.com. No response.
- June 26th, 2018: Still no update or payment from Allianz. Follow up email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- June 27th, 2018: Still no response from Allianz. Called the call center under 1-300-88-1028 to find out what the status of the claim is. The staff informed me that the payment was made just yesterday and that the payment should be in by 3 working days.
- June 30th, 2018: Payment of RM 600 has been made to my bank account. It is great that the claim finally has been paid out, but besides the bank deposit, I did not get any notice from Allianz. I did not get even an email. Hopefully, they can improve on it in the future.
It was fortunate that I thought about buying travel insurance for this trip to Australia. The whole incident cause a lot of inconvenience as well as additional cost to me. And because the flight cancellation happened at night, I did not have the chance to enjoy the extra day in Australia. This incident had cost me:
- One day less vacation, because I had to take the extra day off
- More than 14 hours of inconvenience without dinner
- Vending machine dinner and extra breakfast at the hotel
On the plus side,
- I was able to record this Flight Cancellation / Flight Delay article with AirAsia and Allianz as the Travel Insurance company.
- Received RM 100 from Tune and potentially RM 600 from Allianz this week.
In the future, I will definitely buy travel insurance for flights outside Malaysia. After this experience, I feel that claiming against a travel policy by Tune on an AirAsia flight will be much faster and more convenient. So thumbs up for their convenient online portal and speedy service.
Allianz Travel Care is still good, because it is one of the few companies that offer cover for scuba diving. I am glad that they accepted the claim via email and without the Travel Confirmation letter. This is really customer-oriented. They still need to improve on their communication with the customer because I did not receive any update on the claim. Also, the claim surely can be paid out faster than 30 days. AirAsia has proven that it can be done.
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