I recently purchased a return ticket with QR from Johannesburg to Sydney via Doha. I made use of a promo deal via Skyscanner although the actual ticket was bought from Qatar Airlines.

I was due to fly on Fri 16 March 2018. Unfortunately 3 weeks ago I developed pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism and was hospitalised (with 9 days in ICU) until 6 March. The consulting pulmonologist and specialist physician both agree that due to the potential threat of further embolism I should not travel for at least 6 months.

QR have refused my refund request stating fare conditions although I cannot find any such clause. I would be happy with an extension to travel dates in order to postpone my travel once my doctors feel it is safe to fly.

How can I put forward my case?

  • 4
    Did you buy a refundable ticket? Did you have travel insurance? Otherwise, it's rather up to you to find a clause in the conditions that says the ticket is refundable in the event of a medical crisis, not their job to point to a clause that forbids it.
    – MadHatter
    Mar 19 '18 at 10:50

Hope you are feeling better, recovery is going to take a while.

When you purchased your ticket, the airlines must have sent you an email with the conditions: fare, taxes, airport charges, dates, seats, luggage allowed and conditions for the change of dates and refund. That's your contract. Read it and make sure that customer service got conditions right. It is not unheard of that the first line of customer service is under the instruction of not giving any refunds although the contract says you can.

Note that sometimes you are allowed no changes, or changes only before the date of departure, and pricier tickets can be changed after the flight.

If in reality, your conditions allow for changes or refunds after the date of the flight then you can go to or call an airline's branch and ask for the refund or change.


  • To add to this, in general, cheaper fares are nonrefundable and non-changeable or only semi-changeable; more expensive fares tend to have fewer restrictions on cancelling and rescheduling. The most expensive flexible fares are often fully cancellable without penalty, but may cost several times what a relatively inflexible ticket costs, so they are not very popular. Mar 19 '18 at 17:44

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