I hope you find this email in the best of spirits. As we go through this difficult time of uncertainty regarding the hajj details, I hope you, me and all of us may find content in the Qada (qadar) of Allah the Almighty.
InshaAllah, we pray that all of us who are intending to go this year gets a chance to go and may He make it easy and may He accept it from us. This brings us to the most important issue that concerns all of us which is how to make a payment once we get selected. Most of the amount that people have saved up for Hajj were deposited to the Agents and we need to ensure that we get the refunds as soon as possible.
It would be redundant to mention that the decision by the Saudi Government to cancel all the travel agents 3 weeks prior to the travel date is unfair to say the least if not borderline criminal. In order to prepare for Hajj and to secure rooms and transport, us agents had paid huge sums of money to hotels for deposits and had issued airline tickets for many.
AIRLINE TICKETS: As far as the airline tickets, we’ve been fighting with the airline companies, mostly Turkish & Saudi airlines to have these canceled without any penalties and refund us the amounts. So far, we haven’t received any encouraging response from them, but we will keep on fighting until the last day (which is 9 days from now). I completely agree with the sentiment that most of the people have shared with me that a last-minute change of policy by the Saudi Government should not mean that a hajji is responsible for this mess.
Travel Credit: In case the Turkish Airline ends up not budging and issue a travel credit, what it means is that this credit will be offered only to the person whose name was on the original ticket issued. The traveller will have some limited time like 1 year to be able to use this credit and fly somewhere else.
HOTELS: As far as the refunds from the Hotels, a good portion of our money that was with them will be returning to us very soon. (The transfer was initiated few hours ago today 6/17/2022) – ALHAMDO LILLAH RABB AL AALIMEEN. The remaining money that we paid to them this year we are hoping will be returned to us within a month, InshaAllah. The money we paid in 2020, credit of which we were hoping to use this year is completely lost at this point. Alhamdolillah ala kull e haal.
WHAT DOES THIS MEANS FOR YOU?
TOTAL AMOUNT PAID – AIRLINE TOTAL CHARGES = BALANCE OWED
We can start making some refunds starting this Monday 6/20/2022. You will be receiving around 70% to 80% of your balance owed in the next coming days.
By 27th of June, we will have a resolution for the airlines Insha’Allah. That would be the next payment sent to you guys.
In 1 month, when we receive the remaining from the hotels, around 10% to 20% of amount owed will be returned.
At that point, you might have 2% to 5% balance remaining with us which may take some time to be returned (few months). We may be doing some umrah packages to make up for some of that lost money.
I completely agree with the frustration that you have to deal with, and I also understand the sentiment that most of you need your money right away in order to get things in order. Unfortunately, we agents are in a very similar situation and sometimes dealing with overseas vendors have been quite difficult. All this could have been prevented if the Saudi Government would have announced this change even 3 months prior to the travel date.
HOW WILL THE MONEY BE REFUNDED? The quickest way for me to return the money on Monday will be by depositing into your bank directly.
If you can fill out the below form with your bank name and account number, I can go to the bank (granted there is a branch in New York), make a deposit, get a receipt and send it over to you.
FINAL REQUEST: We request if you feel that we have been a help during this whole process to pay a “Administrative Fee” of $150 per person. This is a completely optional fee but will help us tremendously to cover a portion of the amount that we have lost within this process. If you decide to pay this fee , this will be deducted from the last installment and you can always change your mind until that time.