MANILA, Philippines—Several passengers bound for Singapore early Wednesday were irked over a policy by an airline company, which refused to honor their tickets that were paid for online with credit cards owned by either their companies or by their travel agencies.
A ground team manning the Jetstar Asia check-in counter had informed passengers on Flight 3K78 about the budget airline firm’s “no physical credit card, no accommodation” policy that required them to present the credit cards used to make the payments before they could be allowed to board the plane.
Apparently, this is a policy that applies only to passengers from selected countries, including the Philippines.
This despite the fact that the bookings were made online, after the airline firm’s system had accepted the payments made through these credit cards, and after photocopies of the credit card were presented to the crew for verification.
Joanne Llavore, Inquirer.net’s sales and marketing director, who was booked on the 6:20 a.m. flight for an advertising conference in Singapore, was forced to shell out cash for a two-way ticket because she could not even transfer flights on another airline back to the Philippines as she was told by the same staff that payment has been made for the entire trip.
Making matters worse for Llavore was that her money could be refunded only in 15-20 days—another airline policy. She had brought along her husband and child in the hope of spending a short vacation with them after the conference.
Quoting the ground crew, Llavore said she was told that if she wanted to have the credit card payment cancelled, she could do so when she reached Singapore.
Llavore’s official trip was booked a week ago and paid for by Inquirer.net under a corporate account. Inquirer.net is the news website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Other passengers who were unable to make the cash payments were forced to cancel their flights.
Jetstar Asia of the Qantas Group was launched in 2004 in the Asia-Pacific.
The Inquirer tried to get a comment about the policy from Jetstar Asia Airways’s Makati City office but officials there referred all queries to the airline’s main office in Singapore.
One airline official, who asked not to be named due to lack of authority to speak to the media, said Jetstar’s rule on credit card payments has been enforced for some time for selected routes, including the Philippines.
“It’s the airline’s protection against those who use fraudulent credit cards or unauthorized credit card use,” the source said, adding that the rule is provided on the online and hard-copy booking forms for passengers and their agents to see.
The official said a similar rule is observed by many foreign airlines operating in the Philippines.
The rule is posted on the Jetstar’s website (http://www.jetstar.com/ph/en/planning-and-booking/booking-with-jetstar/payment-methods), the source added.
On the website, the rule states: “On selected routes, it is a condition of sale, check in and boarding that the original, physical credit/debit card used to purchase the ticket(s) must be presented by the credit/debit card owner for verification at the airport.
“Where you book travel on these selected routes, you will be informed the need for verification during the booking flow. Prior to check-in, the credit/debit card owner must take the credit/debit card used to purchase the tickets together with his/her government-issued identification (such as a passport, identity card or driver’s license) to the Jetstar check-in counter.
“This requirement applies irrespective of whether the credit/debit card owner is or is not a part of the traveling party. If the credit/debit card is not verified as required, the passengers whose tickets were purchased with that credit/debit card may be denied check-in and boarding at Jetstar’s sole discretion. One verification is required for each return journey.”—With Jerome Aning
Originally posted at 07:24 pm | Wednesday, June 12, 2013