Updated Thursday, 30 September 2021 – 19:25
Brussels has reached an agreement with the companies to proceed with these payments of the vouchers that the customers did not request
Iberia plane parked in Barajas
The European Commission has reached an agreement with the large European airlines, including the Spanish Iberia and Vueling, so that refund the amount of the vouchers they imposed on passengers who suffered cancellations during the first months of the pandemic, when the airspace was closed, and they have not yet been redeemed.
In other words, the bonds that passengers were forced to accept at the beginning of the crisis and they are still unused, they can be reimbursed with money if the passenger requests it.
This was one of the main demands of consumer associations, who denounced delays in these returns and even cases in which the companies were not returning the money, thus violating the rights of consumers.
When the pandemic broke out, the airspace was closed and the airlines had to massively cancel flights. Then, the European Commission authorized the companies to offer travel vouchers for later use. This was optional, but customers could, however, always request a ticket refund within seven days.
Some, however, were not informed that they had this option, according to consumer associations and the Ministry of Consumption itself, which accused the airlines of not properly informing affected customers. They offered the voucher as the only alternative, without explaining that they had the right to claim the money.
The air sector, for its part, then defended itself by ensuring that it had neither liquidity nor human resources to face this avalanche of claims.
A year and a half later Brussels welcomes that “most of the delays in reimbursements have been eliminated and that all the airlines involved have committed themselves to solving the pending problems, “said Transport Commissioner Adina Vlean on Wednesday in a statement released after the announcement of an agreement between Brussels and the companies.
This agreement is signed Iberia and Vueling, from IAG, Aegean Airlines, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Easyjet, Eurowings, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP and Wizz Air.
In addition to returning the money, the companies also undertake to inform passengers more clearly that they suffer cancellations. In addition, passengers who booked their flights through intermediaries (travel agencies, for example) and still have problems can go directly to the airline to request a ticket refund.
Iberia has explained that in case of cancellation has always offered its customers “all the options that the regulations require and that are: change of date, refund in the same form of payment or refund through a voucher, at the customer’s choice “.
“Applying current regulations, the airline has already processed and is up to date with all reimbursement requests for flight cancellations during the pandemic,” he says.
The commissioner responsible for Justice, Didier Reynders, insisted yesterday that the companies that imposed the coupons instead of the refund “They acted against the consumer protection laws of the European Union.” The Community Executive “to continue monitoring” the behavior of the companies to ensure that, in effect, they comply with the agreement and has urged the national authorities to do the same.
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