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COVID-19: refund provided as voucher (for non refundable fares)

Old Apr 6, 2020, 8:58 am
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European Commission EC261/2004 guidelines in context of COVD-19 dated 18 MAR 2020
US DoT Enforcement Notice regarding refunds dated 3 APR 2020.
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COVID-19: refund provided as voucher (for non refundable fares)

Old Mar 31, 2020, 10:18 am
  #151  
 
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I recommend booking AF through Delta with Delta Code Share flight Numbers

AF tries hard but they can be difficult to work with. In the future, I recommend booking your AF flights on the Delta web site. I like flying on AF but for full Medallion mileage credit I book with the flight with the Delta code share flight number on the Delta web site. Then Delta will take ownership of the the flight and the problems. I am seeing Delta treat those canceled AF flights as if they are on Delta equipment. That said, I agree with one of the other contributors; the airlines don't really have any money to give back. Should they pay you, pay the employees, or pay the fuel company; that is their choice. Also, the pandemic is an act of nature so there might be some wording in the rules that releases them from giving refunds which would put you at their mercy.
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Old Mar 31, 2020, 10:33 am
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by mtdog
That said, I agree with one of the other contributors; the airlines don't really have any money to give back. Should they pay you, pay the employees, or pay the fuel company; that is their choice.
Absolutely not the case. According to their press release issued on 20 March (after they completed a 1.1bn drawdown on their revolving credit line) "The Air France-KLM Group therefore now has more than 5.5 billion euros of total liquidity immediately available to meet possible changes in the environment,”

They're not hurting for cash and both the governments of France and the Netherlands have pledged support to keep them afloat. I'm already going to pay for their bailout via my tax euros, I certainly should need to pile on to that will them refusing to honor their legal obligations to process a refund.

Originally Posted by mtdog
Also, the pandemic is an act of nature so there might be some wording in the rules that releases them from giving refunds which would put you at their mercy.
There isn't and the EC released guidance specifically addressing this, making clear the airlines still had an obligation to offer refunds where they chose to cancel flights (and while a limited number of flights have been canceled due to government restrictions, the vast majority have not).
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Old Mar 31, 2020, 11:55 am
  #153  
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AF/KL is a business.
Of course it is their interest to issue a voucher instead of cash money, because with the voucher the chances are much higher than you book a flight again at AF/KL. This is also an opportunity for an upsell. By setting cheaper fare classes on the direct sales channel at zero, it means that pax would need to fork over extra cash to retain their vouchers for flights in the future.
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Old Mar 31, 2020, 12:00 pm
  #154  
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Originally Posted by mtdog
AF tries hard but they can be difficult to work with. In the future, I recommend booking your AF flights on the Delta web site. I like flying on AF but for full Medallion mileage credit I book with the flight with the Delta code share flight number on the Delta web site. Then Delta will take ownership of the the flight and the problems. I am seeing Delta treat those canceled AF flights as if they are on Delta equipment. That said, I agree with one of the other contributors; the airlines don't really have any money to give back. Should they pay you, pay the employees, or pay the fuel company; that is their choice. Also, the pandemic is an act of nature so there might be some wording in the rules that releases them from giving refunds which would put you at their mercy.
Where did you get this?

Indeed if AF is insolvent, it will not be able to pay refunds. But, it is not insolvent and thus it can pay the refunds. It may well fall to the government and thus French taxpayers to absorb the losses, but there is no reason why individual passengers ought to bail AF out.

Indeed, other carriers are offering a premium for passengers willing to accept a voucher. That might be an incentive for some to accept one. But, AF is not. Thus, the question arises as to why one would want cash or a voucher.
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Old Mar 31, 2020, 1:06 pm
  #155  
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It may well fall to the government and thus French taxpayers to absorb the losses, but there is no reason why individual passengers ought to bail AF out.
As I understand it most government rescue packages involve loans. Thus AF/KL has to repay what it got from the French taxpayer.
Moreover, not everyone here is a French taxpayer.
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Old Mar 31, 2020, 9:49 pm
  #156  
 
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If one calls AF in the US, dont they get routed to a Delta call center that handles AF tickets? Do you think calling the US number might help?
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 1:24 pm
  #157  
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Originally Posted by diburning
If one calls AF in the US, dont they get routed to a Delta call center that handles AF tickets? Do you think calling the US number might help?
They do indeed but the DL agents for AF aren't always super knowledgeable. But it's worth a try!
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 2:41 pm
  #158  
 
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Hey
I haven't read every post to sorry if this has been asked.
If I accept a voucher it seems that it lasts for 1 year but I can then make a booking for dates after the voucher expiry date. Do you know how far ahead I can book? Will it be anything that the booking schedule allows?
Thanks
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 2:48 pm
  #159  
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Originally Posted by Stormbel
Hey
I haven't read every post to sorry if this has been asked.
If I accept a voucher it seems that it lasts for 1 year but I can then make a booking for dates after the voucher expiry date. Do you know how far ahead I can book? Will it be anything that the booking schedule allows?
Thanks
it *looks* like you can currently book until March 26th, 2021 so just under a year in advance. However I didnt try to complete the purchase.
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 4:29 pm
  #160  
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Originally Posted by Stormbel
Hey
I haven't read every post to sorry if this has been asked.
If I accept a voucher it seems that it lasts for 1 year but I can then make a booking for dates after the voucher expiry date. Do you know how far ahead I can book? Will it be anything that the booking schedule allows?
Thanks
Originally Posted by bostontraveler
it *looks* like you can currently book until March 26th, 2021 so just under a year in advance. However I didnt try to complete the purchase.
Unless there are some specific provisions with those vouchers (I don't think so, but better to check), the validity date of the voucher is until when you can use it as a payment mode. But the flights can be after this expiry date.
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 4:32 pm
  #161  
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Originally Posted by Goldorak
Unless there are some specific provisions with those vouchers (I don't think so, but better to check), the validity date of the voucher is until when you can use it as a payment mode. But the flights can be after this expiry date.
Yes. The only limitation today is the booking horizon which varies according to airline or platform.
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 5:38 pm
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler
Yes. The only limitation today is the booking horizon which varies according to airline or platform.
It would be with klm, so a voucher dated now (1st April) would be valid until 30th March 2021 and I would be able to book until certainly the end of that year!
That's fine with me.
Thanks
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Old Apr 1, 2020, 7:12 pm
  #163  
 
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Some precisions and complements from a French jurist…



An ordonnance (literally “ordinance” but “executive order” should be here useful) based upon the article 38 of the French Constitution, is a derivative legislation act adopted by the President and the Government that rules as a formal Act of Parliament will do but with a previous clearance from the Parliament and, then, a formal and retroactive ratification.



The official full text of the “ordonnance n 2020-315 du 25 mars 2020 relative aux conditions financires de rsolution de certains contrats de voyages touristiques et de sjours en cas de circonstances exceptionnelles et invitables ou de force majeure (Executive order n2020-315 on the financial conditions for terminating certain tourist travel and holiday contracts in the event of exceptional and unavoidable circumstances or major force) is available here
(official site for French law, counterpart of the The Stationery Office in the UK or The Federal register in the US) :

http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affich...XT000041755833



The first article of this text should be translated as follows:

“I.- This Article shall apply to the resolution, when notified between 1 March 2020 and a date prior to 15 September 2020 inclusive:

1 Contracts for the sale of trips and holidays mentioned in II and 2 of III of Article L. 211-14 of the Code du tourisme [Tourism Code] sold by an organizer or retailer;

2 Contracts, other than those mentioned in 1 above, relating to the services mentioned in 2, 3 and 4 of I of Article L. 211-2 of the same Code, sold by natural or legal persons producing these services themselves;

3 Contracts, other than those mentioned in 1 above, relating to the services, mentioned in 2 and 4 of I of Article L. 211-2 of the same Article, sold by associations that themselves produce these services, in particular those organizing on the national territory collective reception of minors of an educational nature mentioned in Article L. 227-4 of the Social Action and Family Code.

II- By way of derogation from the provisions of the last sentence of II of article L. 211-14 of the Code du tourisme [Tourism Code] and the first sentence of III of the same article, when a contract mentioned in 1 of I of this article is cancelled, the organizer or retailer may offer, instead of reimbursement of all payments made, a voucher that the customer may use under the conditions set out in the provisions of III to VI of this article.

Similarly, by way of derogation from the provisions of the third paragraph of Article 1229 of the Civil Code, when a contract mentioned in 2 or 3 of I of this article is the subject of a resolution pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 1218 of the same code, the natural or legal persons mentioned in these 2 and 3 may propose, instead of reimbursement of all payments made, a credit note that the customer may use under the same conditions.

III-The amount of the credit note provided for in II of this article is equal to that of the totality of the payments made under the cancelled contract mentioned in I of this article. When this credit note is offered, the customer may not request reimbursement of these payments, subject, at the end of the validity period of the voucher provided for in V of this article, to the provisions of VII of this article.

The person proposing, pursuant to II of this article, a voucher, shall inform the customer thereof on a durable medium no later than thirty days after the termination of the contract or, if the contract has been terminated before the date of entry into force of this Order, no later than thirty days after that date of entry into force. This information shall specify the amount of the voucher, as well as the time limit and period of validity provided for in V of this Article.

The provisions of Article L. 211-18 of the Code du tourisme [Tourism Code] are applicable to a voucher proposed following the termination of a contract mentioned in 1 of I of this Article and, provided that it is also a contract mentioned in 1, to the contract relating to the service for which this voucher is used.

IV- The persons who have concluded the contracts mentioned in I of this article must propose, in order that their client may use the voucher mentioned in II of this article, a new service which is the subject of a contract meeting the following conditions:

1 The service is identical or equivalent to the service provided for in the rescinded contract mentioned in this I ;

2 Its price is no higher than that of the service provided for by the cancelled contract mentioned in I above, the traveler being liable, where applicable, only for the payment corresponding to the balance of the price of this contract;

3 It does not give rise to any fare increase other than those provided for, where applicable, in the cancelled contract.

V.- The proposal referred to in IV of this article shall be formulated at the latest within three months from the notification of the resolution referred to in I of this article. It is valid for a period of eighteen months.

VI- When the persons mentioned in IV of the present article offer the client who so requests a service whose price is different from that of the service provided for by the rescinded contract mentioned in I of this article, the price to be paid for this new service takes into account the price mentioned in II of the present article.

VII- If the contract relating to the new service provided for in IV of this article is not concluded before the end of the period of validity mentioned in V of this article, the persons mentioned in this IV shall refund all payments made under the cancelled contract, to which they are bound pursuant to the provisions of the last sentence of II of Article L. 211-14 of the Code du tourisme [Tourism Code]and the first sentence of III of the same article or the provisions of the code civil [Civil Code] mentioned in the second paragraph of II of this article. They proceed, if necessary, to reimburse an amount equal to the balance of the credit balance that has not been used by the customer.”



Summarized as: an airline should deny refunding someone if a flight is canceled during the Covid 2019 crisis (March 1st – September 15th, 2020) offering a voucher instead. This voucher is refundable after a delay of maximum 18 months.





In France, the legal system is ranked upon a criteria based of the source of law.

1) Constitution (and some others rules)

2) International law (including EU law: treaties and Regulation)

3) French acts of Parliament (“lois”, “ordonnances ratifies”)

4) Executive orders (Ordonnances non ratifies, dcrets, etc.)

5) Local orders (Prefect and municipal orders, etc.)

6) Private acts (such contracts, etc.)



So, an unlawful executive order should be canceled or denied force by a Court.






In the particular case of the compatibility of EU Regulation 264/2014 and this “ordonnance” I can tell you three points.



First, any administrative body must deny any force to the ordinance if this one is not fully compatible with an EU regulation. As the EU regulation 264/2014 grants to the travelers the right to be refunded in case of cancelation for a confirmed flight…



Second, a private company (as Air France) should follows the law (ie the “ordonnance”) and, normally, should opt then to send voucher instead of refunded customer (but the option is open between voucher or refunding). But if this same customer sues the company in a French court arguing that the French ordonnance is not compatible with the EU law, the Court must superseded the French law… and offer to EU law the primauty...



But when ? Probably in several month or years…

And only if the EU will not authorize a such practice (it has been indicated that the French Government will request plenty of such evolution of EU law from the EC and the EP…)

For legal references (all in English), see:
- Constitution (article 55, http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.f...on_anglais.pdf)
- Cass. Ch. mixte, May 24th 1975, St des cafs Jacques Vabre, n73-13.556 (http://www.courdecassation.fr/IMG///..._750524_EN.pdf)
- CE ...., October 20th, 1989, Nicolo, n108.43 (http://www.conseil-etat.fr/arianeweb...w-document/175)
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Old Apr 2, 2020, 5:57 am
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I have a KLM trip AMS-YUL departing 3rd May that I wish to cancel and receive a voucher for.
Is it advisable to use the online form to do this at the moment, or wait a while? I was thinking there may be backlogs in the online system, and I may not receive my voucher immediately?
The online form does not look like a standard KLM web page, it even has a copyright banner from an Indian IT services company:
Copyright ISC IT Services Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old Apr 2, 2020, 6:29 am
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by mikem004
I have a KLM trip AMS-YUL departing 3rd May that I wish to cancel and receive a voucher for.
Is it advisable to use the online form to do this at the moment, or wait a while? I was thinking there may be backlogs in the online system, and I may not receive my voucher immediately?
The online form does not look like a standard KLM web page, it even has a copyright banner from an Indian IT services company:
Copyright ISC IT Services Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.
be aware that it will take time before you receive that voucher...
If you do it online it will take more time...better to call.... but i think it will take 3 weeks.... maybe more ... i dont think less
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