Old Mar 17, 2020, 1:00 pm
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Last edit by: oliver2002
Air France's rebooking policy: https://www.airfrance.nl/NL/en/common/page_flottante/hp/news-air-traffic-air-france.htm?_ga=2.60869669.82286185.1584471569-101309917.1487618201 KLM's rebooking policy: https://www.klm.com/travel/nl_nl/prepare_for_travel/up_to_date/flight_update/index.htm

Worksheet/flowchart for Travel Agents: http://image.email.bluebiz.info/lib/fe9013727c62017f75/m/4/575524f1-d29b-4548-b393-eb5ab0eee26b.pdf

European Commission EC261/2004 guidelines in context of COVD-19 dated 18 MAR 2020 US DoT Enforcement Notice regarding refunds dated 3 APR 2020.

Some additional information:
1) North American ticket holders can typically request chargebacks from their banks.
2) Furthermore, for flights that touch US soil, they may also file complains with the US DOT.
3) American Express in France and in the Netherlands reportedly refuse to open chargeback disputes for cardholders. Unclear whether other banks are following this policy.
4) At this stage, 14 EU member states out of 27 support amending EC261 regulation (which mandates airlines give the consumer the choice of a refund) for the duration of the crisis. Some of these member states have already suspended the enforcement of the regulation with respect to the obligation for a refund. Air France/KLM supports the proposed amendment.

Statement by 12 of these 14 EU member states: https://www.aviation24.be/miscellaneous/passenger-rights/coronavirus-twelve-eu-member-states-ask-commission-to-amend-regulation-ec-261-2004-to-allow-issuance-of-vouchers-in-lieu-of-refund/


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COVID-19: AF/KL rebooking/refund policy

Old Mar 21, 2020, 12:55 am
  #196  
 
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And I think Air France fulfills its obligations, they just try to preserve cash at a maximum.
In my situation, they indeed came back with the voucher option in their email response, but said "please confirm that you accept".
Once I wrote back "no, I want cash", they sent the reimbursement note immediately, with credit card reimbursement within 14 days.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 3:49 am
  #197  
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Originally Posted by ranskis
EU rules do not mandate to have bank notes handed over to you, it mandates you get the ticket refunded, and a refundable voucher is a suitable refund since you can get it paid to a credit card or a bank account of your choice as far as I understand.
https://servicehub.amadeus.com/c/por...-refund-an-emd
???
A cash refund has to be issued within 7 days - not 9 months. That is mandated by EC261/2004.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 3:59 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn
???
A cash refund has to be issued within 7 days - not 9 months. That is mandated by EC261/2004.
Yep, but... Force majeure
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 4:00 am
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They have.7 days, after that the chargeback should be done.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 4:09 am
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Originally Posted by NickB
Actually, no: under the Regulation, an airline can refund in travel vouchers only if it has the agreement of the passenger:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art 7(3) of Reg 261/2004
...shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services
Travel vouchers are usually meant as non refundable vouchers.
Here we are talking about refundable vouchers, that can be refunded, even immediately, as cash, bank, transfer or credit on a card, that's just an intermediary step but as long as the voucher is fully convertible in cash, it's compliant.
I remember some 15 years ago with AF and SAS, when getting denied boarding (or being volunteer) we could get a voucher that had a redemption value and a refundable value. As long as the refundable value is equal to the amount to be refunded by EU regulations, why not? Some airlines are adding a bonus to the value of the voucher in exchange of making it fully non refundable (LH gives 50 EUR I think now).
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 5:00 am
  #201  
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I think that the legal framework is very clear, as detailed by NickB and emphasized in the EU reminder.
The refund of a cancelled flight should be in real money, unless the pax accepts a voucher or other services.

The question faced by the majority of airlines is what will they do when they run out of cash, as most of them near that point.
They are all calling for State aid. Layoffs are on the way or already happened. More will be needed. In a struggle for survival, I doubt that the threat to be taken to court by some pax is really what airlines will focus on. States that don't provide a massive aid package to "their" airline will simply lead to their immediate bankruptcy.
The economic situation is so disastrous that the preoccupations of Brussels bureaucrats or lawyers take a backseat to jobs and survival concerns.

With what I had seen in China, I was extremely worried about the health situation worldwide, especially in country less disciplined than China and refusing to learn the lessons of the Chinese experience, Many called me a pessimist and did not grasp the problem posed by a covid-19 pandemic.. I am now equally worried by the economic situation (first of airlines then of others). Quibbling about refund of a seat selection fee, as we see on some forums, seems laughable..
PS: I need refunds on 5 different tickets (4 on AF), so I am affected
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 5:36 am
  #202  
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Originally Posted by ranskis
Travel vouchers are usually meant as non refundable vouchers.
Well, it may well be that in some circles, in some contexts and in some circumstances travel vouchers are "usually meant as non refundable vouchers" but the context here is clear that any kind of voucher, refundable or not, does not satisfy the requirements of Reg 261/2004 unless they are accepted by the pax. Now, it may well be that, in practice, refundable vouchers are (almost) as good as a cash refund so it may well make sense for a passenger to accept it rather than faff about a refund but that changes nothing to the fact that refusal to refund in cash and offering vouchers, even refundable vouchers, does not in itself constitute compliance with the Reg.

Originally Posted by brunos
The question faced by the majority of airlines is what will they do when they run out of cash, as most of them near that point.
They are all calling for State aid. Layoffs are on the way or already happened. More will be needed. In a struggle for survival, I doubt that the threat to be taken to court by some pax is really what airlines will focus on.
Indeed and, to be honest, European airlines do tend to offer cash refunds anyway where they are legally bound to. They just make you go through additional hoops to do it.
The economic situation is so disastrous that the preoccupations of Brussels bureaucrats or lawyers take a backseat to jobs and survival concerns.
With due respect brunos, it is not a question of the preoccupation of Brussels bureaucrats (which are undoubtedly very concerned too about the survival of airlines and the overall economic situation) but the preoccupation of passengers.

With what I had seen in China, I was extremely worried about the health situation worldwide, especially in country less disciplined than China and refusing to learn the lessons of the Chinese experience
We are going OT here but I think we need to be a little careful when sitting in our armchairs and passing judgment on the basis of very limited evidence. First, what China has not done is not necessarily easily replicable in totally different contexts and 2) the Chinese experience is only a partial experience and nobody knows where China will be in 3 or 6 months time and it is therefore rather early to start to draw firm conclusions on the Chinese experience. I do not think that others are "refusing to learn"; some, however, may be sceptical as to whether it provides a definitive answer and I do not think that we have a level of certainty that enables us to assert that such a definitive answer exists. This is clearly no excuse for complacency (and there has certainly been too much of that in various places in the last couple of months) but,at the same time, I think we should be a little more nuanced in our evaluation of measures taken or not taken here or there.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 6:40 am
  #203  
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Originally Posted by NickB
Well, it may well be that in some circles, in some contexts and in some circumstances travel vouchers are "usually meant as non refundable vouchers" but the context here is clear that any kind of voucher, refundable or not, does not satisfy the requirements of Reg 261/2004 unless they are accepted by the pax. Now, it may well be that, in practice, refundable vouchers are (almost) as good as a cash refund so it may well make sense for a passenger to accept it rather than faff about a refund but that changes nothing to the fact that refusal to refund in cash and offering vouchers, even refundable vouchers, does not in itself constitute compliance with the Reg.

Indeed and, to be honest, European airlines do tend to offer cash refunds anyway where they are legally bound to. They just make you go through additional hoops to do it.
With due respect brunos, it is not a question of the preoccupation of Brussels bureaucrats (which are undoubtedly very concerned too about the survival of airlines and the overall economic situation) but the preoccupation of passengers.

We are going OT here but I think we need to be a little careful when sitting in our armchairs and passing judgment on the basis of very limited evidence. First, what China has not done is not necessarily easily replicable in totally different contexts and 2) the Chinese experience is only a partial experience and nobody knows where China will be in 3 or 6 months time and it is therefore rather early to start to draw firm conclusions on the Chinese experience. I do not think that others are "refusing to learn"; some, however, may be sceptical as to whether it provides a definitive answer and I do not think that we have a level of certainty that enables us to assert that such a definitive answer exists. This is clearly no excuse for complacency (and there has certainly been too much of that in various places in the last couple of months) but,at the same time, I think we should be a little more nuanced in our evaluation of measures taken or not taken here or there.
As usual, you make many good points.
I do understand the preoccupation of passengers. As I said I have quite some money at stake, mostly with AF. But my point is that we are getting into a paradigm that we never experienced on the economic front. As some editorials state, we are entering WWIII. Airline employees (and their suppliers) face more dire implications than pax getting their 1,000 ticket refunded in less than 7 days. The economic chaos is just another order of magnitude. US airlines ask for a USD50 billion aid, and Trump stated he will push for it, but with Trump... The EU might decide to grant European airlines a package of similar magnitude. Then pax will be reassured....

I fully agree that one can only voice personal opinions about the health crisis. And China and UK seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. But I was in Hong Kong when the crisis started in late January, flew to France in mid-February ,but quickly returned early March when I saw how unprepared France was. Actually, the UK government ordered masks from French producers two weeks before the French government got on the order waitlist. The Chinese crisis gave Europe a month to learn from it. The virus does not discriminate between Asian and Europeans. A delayed reaction step by step, rather than anticipating based on the fast-spread experienced in China is too little too late. Bla bla cannot replace decisive action.The UK model of "herd immunity" where the country would accept 500,000 deaths is the other extreme option. Most immunologists/epidemiologists around the world dislike the model because there is no proof that immunity among recovered patients will be strong (we could never develop a vaccine for SARS), nor that the strain will not mutate. And how can the UK adopt this strategy if the rest of the world does not. I would bet a case of Champagne with you, that the UK is or will be adopting strict confinement/lockdown methods, just as other countries are doing. None can be as strict as in China as Europeans are not as disciplined as East Asians, but there will be strict measures.

Given the handful of regular posters here, I got this thread very OT. APologies. My last post on the coronavirus.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 7:03 am
  #204  
 
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Originally Posted by brunos
As usual, you make many good points.
I do understand the preoccupation of passengers. As I said I have quite some money at stake, mostly with AF. But my point is that we are getting into a paradigm that we never experienced on the economic front. As some editorials state, we are entering WWIII. Airline employees (and their suppliers) face more dire implications than pax getting their 1,000 ticket refunded in less than 7 days. The economic chaos is just another order of magnitude. US airlines ask for a USD50 billion aid, and Trump stated he will push for it, but with Trump... The EU might decide to grant European airlines a package of similar magnitude. Then pax will be reassured....
Regardless, it is precisely the economic magnitude of the situation and the clear attention national governments and Brussels have given that (to me) demands that airlines are held to provide proper REFUNDS to passengers who's flights will not proceed. As an individual passenger I do not have the importance of national (airline) pride or the moniker of critical infrastructure on my side. No one will come to bail me out when I don't have the money to pay my mortgage, buy groceries or keep the electricity running. I see absolutely no justification for the money I put forward for a flight that is cancelled being held indefinitely to satisfy the cash flow needs of the airline. Why are their cash flow needs superior to my own? Their collective importance ensures those truly critical will survive; I have no such guarantee. The amounts may be peanuts to some of you, but to some of us as we enter a very difficult period, the money will be critical to our survival.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 7:21 am
  #205  
 
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Originally Posted by warakorn
Not all options will be shown to you by Air France. But the option of a full free refund exist - by law. You need to contact AF.
Does this apply to KLM well? I have a full flex ticket with no option for a cash refund on site.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 7:23 am
  #206  
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Originally Posted by brunos
The UK model of "herd immunity" where the country would accept 500,000 deaths is the other extreme option.
I think that this is a caricature. The aim remained the same in all cases, namely to lower the prevalence of the virus in the population at risk. When they refined the models and calculated the likely number of deaths of various scenarios, the policy was adapted to that. I do not think that there was ever a UK position that 500,000 deaths was an acceptable outcome. If you want to see what informed the UK's government thinking, have a look at this.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 7:28 am
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Yep, but... Force majeure
Please read the rest of this thread.
There is no force majeure clause in EC261/2004 article 8.
A full cash refund has to be issued - regardless what caused the cancellation of the flight.

Force majeure doesn't give airlines the right to both not to render a service (the flight) and not to pay back the ticket money.

Last edited by warakorn; Mar 21, 2020 at 8:08 am
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 7:47 am
  #208  
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Originally Posted by warakorn
Please read the rest of this thread.
There is no force majeure clause in EC261/2004 article 8.
A full cash refund has to be issued - regardless what caused the cancellation of the flight.
yep. I gave them a chance by filling out a refund request, but if I don't hear from AF in 72 hours I will file a charge-back claim with Amex.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by atojbk
Does this apply to KLM well? I have a full flex ticket with no option for a cash refund on site.
Yes of course. If your flight was cancelled by KLM you are entitled to a full refund.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn
Please read the rest of this thread.
There is no force majeure clause in EC261/2004 article 8.
A full cash refund has to be issued - regardless what caused the cancellation of the flight.

Force majeure doesn't give airlines the right to both not to render a service (the flight) and not to pay back the ticket money.

That's right but if the company is out of money you can't get any money.
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