From January, booking an award ticket for air travel during peak seasons would become easier in South Korea after the government and the aviation industry have agreed to offer more reward seats and relax refund restrictions.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday airlines have agreed to allocate 5 percent or more seats of a flight to bonus seats that can be purchased with frequent flyer miles during peak seasons.
The 5 percent reward seat allocation during peak seasons is not mandatory, but all carriers are obliged to disclose the ratio of bonus seats to total starting from the first quarter of next year, a move that is expected to make it easier for passengers to book bonus tickets with airline miles.
So far, an award ticket has been available mostly when there is an empty seat. As carriers have no duty to provide reward tickets, it has become almost impossible for customers to buy seats with their travel points during peak seasons or for popular destinations.
In response to growing consumer complaints, the government has stepped in to encourage airlines to improve their loyalty programs.
Under the agreement, customers won’t pay any fee for cancelling reward seats purchased with airline miles if cancellation is made 91 days or earlier before the departure date.
Carriers are also planning to expand perks for passengers with a small amount of miles below 5,000 points in partnership with other industries.
By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Ha-yeon
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