Some countries have introduced special legislation which in practice cancels EU legislation.
Several countries have begun to disregard the EU rules, which would otherwise give air passengers the right to receive cash settlement if the aircraft is canceled.
Instead, unlucky consumers get a voucher for a new trip with the airline in hand.
But otherwise, the rules of the EU Flight Regulation clearly state that consumers themselves should be allowed to choose whether they want money, rebooking or a voucher for future use when a departure is canceled, says Anja Phillip, President of the Consumer Council Think.
This problem is huge. We are left with such questions in our advice at the Consumer Council Think. Of course, we get a lot of questions during the corona era, and the vast majority are about cancellations, she says in P1 Morning.
It’s no secret that, like so many other industries, the travel industry is also forced to kneel because of the Corona crisis.
Therefore, there is nothing in the way for the customer, for example, to give the airlines and travel agents a helping hand by taking a credit certificate instead of demanding the money back, Anja Phillip points out.
But the opportunity to get the cash back just has to be there, she stresses.
The airlines are under pressure
At Consumer Europe Consumer Center, which guides consumers who have been shopping across EU borders, manager Lars Arent reiterates that there is not really much to find out: The airlines have to offer a refund.
There is nothing wrong with offering alternatives. This must be agreed with your airline. But one cannot make a type of offer that disqualifies the rules that apply under the Aircraft Regulation.
Dutch KLM is one of the airlines trying to offer vouchers.
When we are contacted, we try to be a little balanced to also be in line with reality. We tell you how KLM’s voucher scheme applies for 12 months and that you will get the money back if you have not used it, says Lars Arendt.
But conversely, we also say that you need to be aware that you have some rights under the law. You just have to be aware that you have to be ready to take the fight, and then we refer to the grievances available. But we also recognize that companies are, to some extent, more difficult to communicate with than is currently the case.
In a written statement, KLM explains that it is facing an extraordinary situation due to the corona pandemic.
Our aim is not to deprive our passengers of their rights. But when departures are canceled due to the unique circumstances of the time with global travel restrictions, vouchers ensure more flexibility for our passengers in this uncertain time, it sounds.
In addition, KLM notes that the money is returned after 12 months.
Ministerial meeting in the EU
Countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands have introduced special legislation that allows airlines at national level to disregard the regulation.
The EU transport ministers will discuss this issue this afternoon. Here is a proposal from the Netherlands to suspend the rule on the agenda.
On the Danish side, Benny Engelbrecht (S) will participate, and he has said in advance that he and the rest of the Scandinavian countries are very skeptical.