Despite clear guidelines from the European Union, major airlines are still not paying out refunds for flights cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.
When COVID hit Europe in the early 2020, airlines tried hard to keep passengers’ money to themselves. Instead of paying out full monetary refunds for cancelled flights, they offered only airline vouchers, which is not in line with the European regulations. In the event of a cancelled flight, air passengers in the EU have a right to choose between a monetary refund and a voucher.
Although some of the flights have been cancelled more than 2 years ago, passengers are still waiting for their money. The Dutch radio channel BNR reported that only in the Netherlands there are around 5000 air passengers still awaiting their refunds.
European courts and officials have clarified the rules of flight refunds on multiple occasions throughout the last 2 years. In September 2021, the European Commission announced that 16 major European airlines agreed to pay out flight refunds within 7 days from opening the claim.
‘Unfortunately, from what we see, some airlines still ignore this promise. According to our analysis, across the whole EU, there are still tens of thousands of air passengers waiting for the money to be paid out’, said Tom van Bokhoven from Flight-Delayed.co.uk
There are multiple reasons behind the delays. Some airlines simply don’t want to pay out despite the regulations, others claim they have already sent the refunds — but not directly to the passengers but rather to the travel agencies that the airline ticket has been purchased through. However, in October 2021, a Dutch court ruled that airlines, not travel agencies, are responsible for making sure passengers get their refunds.
But even if the airline denies the refund, getting the money back is a possibility. You can also exchange your unused travel voucher for a monetary refund. In some cases, a court case might be needed in order to force the airline to comply with the regulations — and you want to have an air passengers rights expert in your corner in such a situation.
For example, at Flight-Delayed.co.uk we handle the whole process of obtaining a refund for you. We contact the airline, follow all the necessary procedures and if the airline still does not want to pay, take them to court. You just need to spend a few minutes providing us with all the important details and documents regarding your flight. You can do it straight from your phone or your computer!
We can also help you get flight compensation if your flight is delayed by at least 3 hours or cancelled for reasons other than coronavirus.
Keep in mind though — if you still have not submitted a COVID flight cancellation refund claim, the clock is ticking. In some European countries, air passengers have only a year or two from the original flight departure date to submit a refund claim. After the deadline, the money is lost.