SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

European airlines pledge to refund costs of cancelled flight tickets in 7 days

Sixteen European airlines have agreed to reimburse passengers fully within seven days in the event of future flight cancellations and clear the backlog of refunds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission has announced.

European airlines pledge to refund costs of cancelled flight tickets in 7 days
16 airlines, including Air France and easyJet have agreed to refund passengers within seven days. Photo: Joel Saget / AFP

After talks with the Commission, the airlines – including popular budget carriers Ryanair and easyJet – also agreed to better inform travellers when companies would cancel flights – and to only offer vouchers as an additional option for passengers.

The other European airlines that have signed up to fully comply with EU rules dating back to 2004 are Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Aegean Airlines, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Iberia, Norwegian, TAP, Vueling and Wizz Air.

“In the early phase of the pandemic, some airlines pushed vouchers on passengers,” Didier Reynders, European commissioner for justice, said in a statement. “They were acting against EU consumer protection rules. That was unacceptable.

“It is good news for consumers that airlines have cooperated (…) and are committed to respecting passenger rights and improving their communication.”

The Commission welcomed news that the most of the Covid-19 backlog of refunds ‘ha[s] been dealt with, and that all airlines concerned have undertaken to resolve remaining problems’.

The Bureau européen des unions de consommateurs (Beuc), which led the original complaint against the airlines to the EU in July 2020, called on the Commission and national authorities charged with enforcing EU consumer protection laws to ensure that these commitments are respected. 

The association’s director Monique Goyens said in a statement: “Airlines have breached European consumer rights on a massive scale during the pandemic.

“It’s time for airlines to clean up their act … Many consumers across Europe are still waiting for their money back, for flights cancelled during the first lockdowns in 2020.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

SAS

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”. 

SHOW COMMENTS