Stranded travellers offered options

PETALING JAYA: Airlines are making quick alternative arrangements for their stranded passengers in the wake of the Hong Kong International Airport shutdown.

AirAsia issued a travel advisory alerting its passengers that it had cancelled its Hong Kong flights yesterday. This was done following advice from Hong Kong's Airport Authority.

"AirAsia is also advising guests travelling to or from Hong Kong to prepare for delays and to monitor their flight status at," the airline said on Twitter yesterday.

Affected passengers, it added, had been notified via email or text message.

The airline said it was offering a few options to those whose flights had been delayed more than three hours or cancelled.

This, it added, applied to those who were scheduled to travel to and from Hong Kong yesterday or today.

The options are to change their flights to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days at no additional cost or to fly a different route via Macau, Shenzhen or Guangzhou, also at no extra cost.

Other options are for passengers to obtain a full refund or have the fare value credited to the passenger's AirAsia BIG Loyalty account.

"AirAsia is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong and will continue to provide information on the latest developments," it added.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific said the cancellation period for departing flights would be extended to today.

"Customers are advised to postpone non-essential travel from Hong Kong both (for Monday) and (Tuesday) and should not proceed to the airport," it said on Twitter yesterday.

"Additionally, in-town check-in services have been suspended."

The airline said certain fees would be waived for ticketing changes and advised passengers to
view the special ticketing guidelines and flight status on its website for further details.

"While disruption events like these can change significantly and at short notice, rest assured that we are doing everything we can in advance to minimise the impact on customers," it said.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesman said flights to and from Hong Kong were cancelled yesterday and today, adding that the airline would be "closely monitoring" the situation.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang advised Malaysians intending to travel to Hong Kong to exercise caution.

"Travellers should defer travelling as of now until the political unrest is resolved and the situation is normalised - we hope - in the near future.

"For now, Malaysians should drop Hong Kong from their radar," he said when contacted. Hong Kong's Airport Authority cancelled all flights that were not yet checked in by yesterday afternoon as anti-government protesters continued their demonstration at the airport.