The Ministry of foreign Affairs urged all citizens who stayed abroad, to return to Ukraine until March 27 due to the outbreak of coronavirus. To do this, they can use the special flights, which the government organized after the closure of the borders. But the price of the evacuation was not to everyone’s pocket, reports the Chronicle.info with reference to RBC.
Ukraine from March 17, stopped the flights from other countries, pre – to 3 April. For those who did not return home on their own, authorities sent special flights.
For the evacuation of citizens came from the Ministry of infrastructure and the Ministry of foreign Affairs. Joint efforts on March 24, they managed to return to Ukraine almost 79 thousand people.
First, the foreign Ministry said that some hubs Ukrainians will be able to get home “for free or at subsidized prices”. But in fact the price that had to pay passengers for the return to Ukraine, were not low.
All at your expense
The Maxim Stankovoi was forced to pay 53 thousand for five tickets to a special flight with UIA from Dubai to Kiev for himself and members of his family. Moreover, at the time of closure he had purchased tickets the same airline in both directions, for which he paid 36 thousand UAH. But the return flight to Kiev, which was included, was canceled.
“Instead, the UIA has launched a Charter on March 24. To exchange our tickets did not happen. Had to buy a new one. If such funds were not, so I had to borrow. UAE March 26, closes borders. The Embassy urged me to fly this flight,” – said Maxim.
According to him, as their money back for the canceled flight in MAU he was not informed, and “support not working”.
Barely took off from Dubai and Oksana Sweetie. It is a small company went from Ukraine to Budapest by car. And from there March 10 flight from WizzAir to Dubai to visit her daughter.
The same route they were going to come back, arriving in Budapest on March 21. Tickets cost from Budapest to Dubai and back was about $ 200 for one.
About where to go in Budapest no longer possible, the travelers learned only at the airport of Dubai. Before boarding, they were told that Hungary closed its borders to foreigners. Allowed only those who had a transplant in Budapest on another flight. But because they were forced to fly directly to Kiev.
“The Consulate in Dubai was closed from March 15 to quarantine. Once we managed to reach there, we were advised to register on their website. But then to get through there was unreal. Then at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi, we were told that additional flights will have to wait a bit. But no further recommendations or attempts to contact us or the Consulate or the Embassy was not” – said Oksana.
Soon on the UIA website appeared tickets from Dubai to Kiev for $ 375. But in the meantime, Oksana’s daughter, Roxolana, learned that in Kiev sent another flight of the Azur Air through Sharm El Sheikh. The Embassy was given the contact Roksolana Anex tour, which is booked a Charter at Air Azur to pick up their tourists.
“In Anex tour we were told that there are tickets you can come to the office and buy them at $ 300. We were ready for anything. First we were given tickets for March 21, then sent us new tickets for March 22. So we’ve been able to return to Kiev. Then a question arose: how to get to Lviv. At the exit of the airport, we immediately offered to take us four for $ 250. But our friends helped to find beads through BlaBlaCar, which took us to the city for 700 hryvnia,” – said the interviewee.
Individual tickets to Kiev we had to buy and Olga Dovbush. The woman traveled with a group from the tour operator GTO. This tour is included and paid for the flight there and back. Olga bought it last year. And when the situation with coronavirus escalated – neither to cancel nor get the money back was impossible.
A tourist had to return to Ukraine from Vietnam on 19 March, with a stopover in Istanbul. To fly to Kiev, the group managed a day later, paying for 4480 hryvnia for a special flight from Istanbul from SkyUp. Olga admits they are still relatively lucky because the return of the band engaged in tour operator.
When they announced the termination of air links with Ukraine, the group was able to fly from Ho Chi Minh city to Istanbul at the tickets that were provided on the tour.
“From Istanbul, Turkish Airlines offered us free of charge to replace our tickets to Kiev for a flight to Minsk, as the hospital in the Ukraine at the time was already discontinued. But soon came a special flight to Kiev from SkyUp, which we returned in the evening of March 20”, – said Olga.
However, the price for this flight is definitely not “grace”, she said. In her opinion, now the airlines are able to capitalize on the Ukrainians who are trying to return home.
“This is my subjective opinion, but probably the airlines understand that due to limitations in connection with the coronavirus they very soon will stop flying. For this reason, they gladly offered us tickets are more expensive because I understand that in the near future they will earn nothing,” said the woman.
Besides, to buy tickets panic demand and have time to go back to Ukraine until the cessation of flights was almost impossible, said Olga.
What about those who do not have enough funds for the return flight home – is unknown. When one of the remaining Vietnam groups appealed to the Ukrainian Embassy about how to be, if they have no money for additional tickets, Secretary for consular Affairs said: “it is Recommended to lend and pay, because further stay in Vietnam until April 3, will cost more”.
A separate problem is how from Borispol to get directly in their native locality, in the absence of any communication between the cities of Ukraine, except automotive. The plane is recommended to go to the information window at the airport. But when Olga after arrival at 10 PM she came back, she said that I can’t help you.
“At the airport, you immediately approach the people who offer to drop off at different regional centers, saying, “You can do more no one to ask, we’re only one and you are on the go, one thousand hryvnias to Kharkov and we will take it”. And there is no escape – had to go. It was zero degrees, and in the bus Parking does not work, we are in light clothing. When I arrived home, I didn’t feel my feet,” – said a tourist.
All in the red
A special flight of MAU returned to Kiev and Ayna Mamedova. The company wanted a ticket for $ 508, but eventually lowered the price to $ 240.
Initially, the Ainu were scheduled to fly from tel Aviv flight from SkyUp on March 26. According to the woman, a one-way ticket for three people without Luggage cost 7000 USD.
The evening of March 15 SkyUp aine replied that the tickets cancelled in connection with the closing of the borders in Ukraine. She was offered only to postpone the date of departure after April 4. The result had to look for and buy new tickets to return to Ukraine.
To contact the Consulate after the President’s statements about the closure of borders was not possible until Monday 16 March, noted ain. After all, Saturday and Sunday. However, due to the influx of calls line the Consulate on Monday was overloaded.
“The next day we got a call, posing as from the Consulate, although this number is not listed on their website. We were told that the tickets could be on March 19 at $ 500. We refused. The next day we offered on March 20 tickets at $ 508. At the same time on the UIA website appeared the same flight for the same price. I took a picture of this flight and its price and with an angry letter sent to mail of the Consulate,” he told ain.
Then the flight disappeared from the site, and the price of tickets from tel Aviv to Kiev fell to $ 400. In the “Other” all these flights were offered, but it was noted that ons do not evacuation.
“Then in the program we received the message that the cost of the flight on 20 March will be $ 240. And we already bought the tickets. Most were outraged by these auctions with the tickets of MAU,” added the traveller.
In most of the airlines say that the prices on the flights is not higher but rather lower than regular tickets. These prices are the same for all passengers and is calculated by the cost of the chair, said MAU.
“For example, a ticket for a flight from Brussels to Kiev is $ 225 including all taxes and one piece of Luggage. You need to understand that even if a passenger is flying one-way, the cost of transportation calculated on the flight there and back. It should be noted that the company organizes and performs flights solely for its own account,” – said the press service of the airline.
In SkyUp also said that “not making the special flights”. “We cooperate with government – provided by our aircraft, flights performed by our crews, which the company pays for on their own. Passengers only pay for the organization of flights”, – said the carrier.
Airlines and UIA, and SkyUp, Azur and Air – now operating at a loss, told the publication in a press-service of the Ministry of infrastructure.
“First, they should compensate the people tickets for those flights which were cancelled as of March 17. And secondly, they are now sending people empty planes. We agreed with the carriers on a special flight, hoping that in the future the government can support the airlines. It is important to maintain the industry”, – explained in Department.
In the Ministry of Infrastructure said that now passengers are actually only pay for your flights and expenses for that part of the journey, when the plane is empty to pick them up are the responsibility of the airline.
As for 4.16 million dollars from the budget reserve Fund, which the Ministry of infrastructure recommended the government to allocate “the evacuation”, these funds want to aim for compensation to the airlines. However, the press service of MIT said that while no payments from the reserve Fund of the airline had not received.
“We understand the discontent of the people, and sorry about the caused inconvenience and costs, but be aware that a pandemic is a global phenomenon, so light and comfortable solutions in such a situation almost never happens. Our goal is to provide a return of Ukrainians, and airlines today are doing everything possible, incurring losses, so that people come back,” commented the Ministry of infrastructure.
It was explained that in extreme circumstances the carrier must refund the cost of the cancelled flight or to suggest changes to the route. But to do this, passengers should contact the airline.
To address the issue of cancelled tickets in the MAU advised to send a request via the feedback form on their website. However, because of the many canceled flights this can cause delays. Due to a flight cancellation, passengers have several options told in a press-service of the airline.
The first option is to postpone the trip after 4 April on the same route in the same class. The second – “to cancel the trip and refund the ticket or the part of it that was not used due to flight cancellations”.
The third solution is “to exchange the unused ticket or the unused part on a personalized promotional code with an added bonus of 25% of the value of unused ticket”.
But replace the flight with a special flight of Ukrainians can not, because the cancellation of the regular flight “it is derived from the book disappears from her.”
“A special flight for the export of Ukrainians home is entered into the system on a different algorithm. The system sees no connection between the cancelled scheduled flight and special flight and rebooking is technically impossible,” – said the press service of the UIA.
All of these stories, arguments and counter-arguments is a clear indication that neither the world nor the Ukrainian institutions in particular are not ready to fully operate in extreme conditions.
Often, the decisions and approaches have to change on the go. But ultimately hostage to this situation were the citizens, who are forced to urgently look for ways and means to return to Ukraine, standing on the threshold of the epidemic.