Sixteen European airlines pledge to make amends for required refunds within a week of flight cancellations. KLM and Air France, among others, also want to inform better-affected passengers about their rights and the options for cancelled flights, the European Commission reports.
According to European Commissioner Adina Vălean (Transport), the airlines have now eliminated most of their backlog incurred during the corona crisis in refunding booked but cancelled flights. “They have all committed to resolving any remaining issues. That is crucial to restore traveller confidence,” she says.
As a result of dissatisfaction with corona vouchers and refunds, the committee has sat down with European consumer organizations with the companies about which the most complaints have been received. In addition to KLM and Air France, these include Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Ryanair and Vueling.
Shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, thousands of flights worldwide were cancelled due to travel restrictions. Many airlines then gave a voucher to injured travellers without being asked to, instead of refunding their payment. Under EU rules, airlines may only issue a voucher for another flight if the consumer expressly wishes to do so. They must refund the costs of cancelled flights within seven days. In connection with the crisis, this obligation was extended to 60 days until October last year, but that is no longer the case.
European Commissioner Didier Reynders (Consumer Protection) calls it “good news” that the companies involved are cooperating and say they will improve their communication with customers. However, in most cases, last year’s vouchers can still be exchanged for cash, he says, without mentioning the names of companies where this is not possible. “I call on the national authorities to ensure that this actually happens.”