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

Old Apr 6, 2020, 7:58 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 27, 2020, 11:21 am
  #106  
 
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler
Well I just received a call from AF Customer Relations. They told me “We saw the thread and article on FlyerTalk” ok??
They were clearly ready with their arguments.
So here they go:
1) In the view of their legal team
the ordonnance and French law supersedes EC 261/2004 (to which I responded that this is not accurate);
2) non-refundable tickets are non-refundable
(to which I said nonsense- if the airline cancels a passenger is due a refund and a specific guidance document was issued on 18 March to this effect;
3) their response- that AF actually did not cancel the flights; it was the US government that did so;
4) that they came to this agreement with the French government (yeah clearly);
5) if I want to pursue further conversation to take it up with their legal department

So zero accountability and zero resolution.
If at the end of the year AF decides not to issue a refund, what recourse would a customer holding a refundable voucher have? Since AF, perhaps with the support of the French government, is clearly willing to flaunt the EU law now, I see no reason to believe the airline won't engage in similar action in the future if the company is facing financial difficulty. Right now EC 261/2004 provides for cash refunds when an airline cancels a covered flight. IMO someone who accepts the voucher would have less rights than they currently have.
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Old Mar 27, 2020, 3:53 pm
  #107  
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3) their response- that AF actually did not cancel the flights; it was the US government that did so;
That line is so laughable.
I hope the legal department of AF is not so dumb to use that line of argumentation in a court of law.
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Old Mar 27, 2020, 4:28 pm
  #108  
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Originally Posted by warakorn
That line is so laughable.
I hope the legal department of AF is not so dumb to use that line of argumentation in a court of law.
I joke you not... that's EXACTLY what they said to me.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 12:29 am
  #109  
 
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Kind of strange argument from AF since they are still running planes from paris to NYC.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/...355Z/KJFK/LFPG
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 3:54 am
  #110  
 
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler
I don't think it would be prudent of me to do so.
Suit yourself, I personally dont see how it makes a difference. Anyway I hope you get your refund, AF are completely in the wrong IMO
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 3:57 am
  #111  
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Wait! It's clear that AF is using such a lame excuse in front of a customer - in the hope to fob him off. Many customers are believing that BS (e.g. a non-refundable ticket is always non-refundable, even if the airline cancelled the flight).

However, I doubt they are using that line of argumentation in a court case.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 6:36 am
  #112  
 
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler
Well I just received a call from AF Customer Relations. They told me We saw the thread and article on FlyerTalk ok??
They were clearly ready with their arguments.
So here they go:
1) In the view of their legal team
the ordonnance and French law supersedes EC 261/2004 (to which I responded that this is not accurate);
2) non-refundable tickets are non-refundable
(to which I said nonsense- if the airline cancels a passenger is due a refund and a specific guidance document was issued on 18 March to this effect;
3) their response- that AF actually did not cancel the flights; it was the US government that did so;
4) that they came to this agreement with the French government (yeah clearly);
5) if I want to pursue further conversation to take it up with their legal department

So zero accountability and zero resolution.
Unless you purchased a "trip" (i.e flight+hotel or flight+rental car on the AF website - in that case AF could say that they acted as a travel agent and therefore the ordonnance covers that case), this is just wrong. The recent ordonnance does not supersede flight only bookings and the ordonnance highlights that international regulation (i.e Montreal convention etc...) and European regulation (i.e 261/2004) are still valid. If you need some help with the translation of the ordonnance to reply to AF, please let me know via DM (although I am not a lawyer for the record, just an interested person in those topics)
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 7:09 am
  #113  
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler
I joke you not... that's EXACTLY what they said to me.
Not worth arguing with AF, but clearly the US government did not cancel anything. Rather, it has limited who is admissible to the US. All of the resources to back this up, including both the President's Executive Order and the DHS rules implementing this, as well as the fact that AF still flies a schedule (albeit reduced) would be absolute proof of the falsity of what you were told.

It is important to remember that this is not about the allocation of blame. It is about allocating financial risk. Refunding a ticket is not a punishment.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 7:51 am
  #114  
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Originally Posted by palmanfr
Unless you purchased a "trip" (i.e flight+hotel or flight+rental car on the AF website - in that case AF could say that they acted as a travel agent and therefore the ordonnance covers that case), this is just wrong. The recent ordonnance does not supersede flight only bookings and the ordonnance highlights that international regulation (i.e Montreal convention etc...) and European regulation (i.e 261/2004) are still valid. If you need some help with the translation of the ordonnance to reply to AF, please let me know via DM (although I am not a lawyer for the record, just an interested person in those topics)
Exactly. The number of excuses just keeps on getting longer...

Thank you for offering to help- I speak French but thank you. :-)
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 8:49 am
  #115  
 
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Here is a twist on the voucher deal. I had purchased a one-way ticket for a Ukrainan citizen, who was desperate to return home to Kiev.
However, the Ukranian government organized an emergency charter flight for stranded Ukranians in Switzerland. This flight took place on March 20. Fortunately, the passenger was on this flight. I had also purchased the ticket for this emergency flight for the Ukranian citizen.

The KLM flight was scheduled for March 29. It has since been cancelled. I have requested a refund and a voucher has been issued in the name of the passenger, not in the name of the ticket purchaser. I am told by KLM that the voucher will only be issued for the passenger.

This is not fair and I do not know what to do. I acted to help a person in need and I am being penalized for my generosity.

Last edited by Gigantor; Mar 28, 2020 at 9:04 am
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 9:33 am
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by KLBGO
Most countries in South America have suspended intl flights until 23rd April or even 30th May.

Will KLM cancel these automatically the day(s) before departure, or try to play the cat and mouse game with its loyal customers...?
My flight to Brasil were cancelled overnight.

My Argentina flights are still not cancelled.

But given voucher/refund situation - makes little difference unless you have another way to get cash refund.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 12:58 pm
  #117  
 
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Positive Experience

I had a rt SFO-MAD on AF departing in a couple of weeks that finally cancelled. It was a cheap biz-class fare (about $2100) that I purchased in September. Did not want a refund nor a voucher, but a future rebooking, because the fare was so good. Have no interest in going to Spain anytime soon because of the virus.

I found some dates from west coast cities that are about $2100 around Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Was aware that Air France's policy is that travel delayed past November 30 is subject to repricing. Found a date in early December that worked for me. Called the AF office in the Netherlands (number is on their website) at 1am local time last night to time with the office's 9am opening on Saturday their time.

After about 15 min of hold time a very good English (and Dutch)-speaking agent went through the process of issuing a voucher on the spot, applying the value to my new booking, and processing an add-collect of about 70 euros for the fare difference. Was able to change the origin city from SFO to LAX. If I had chosen to travel by November 30, I still would have been able to change my origin city for no additional fare.

It was just my preference to delay travel as much as possible, and late November happened not to work for me, so worth the additional cost.

If a FT'er wants a good biz-class fare to Europe, there are some out there around Thanksgiving to just before Christmas. There may be good biz-class fares *much* earlier, but IMHO I don't think the virus mess will be gone by then.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 1:18 pm
  #118  
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Originally Posted by justforfun
As do I. That's why I am doing a credit card chargeback for every ticket that an airline refuses to refund.
Originally Posted by brunos
Credit cards/banks are in the same sinking boat as airlines. We now have plenty of examples on various forums where chargeback is not performed. Might depend on the bank, country or card. But it is wise not to hope that any legal aspect will be enforced until the world returns to some form of normality
agreed, but in several countries this is still possible at least with Amex. I filed a dispute with Amex US and the instantly approved a refund.
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Old Mar 28, 2020, 7:14 pm
  #119  
 
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My flight fro LAX-DUB was finally cancelled about 10 days prior. Since I want to still do the trip and we got a fantastic Z fare, my goal was just to reschedule it for the Fall (without having to pay the fare difference). So I tried online but couldn't pick a return date in late October, which was odd (since you could buy a roundtrip ticket for the same dates and flight with money). Called on Thursday late afternoon, only had to wait a few minutes for an agent. He switched the dates from April to October, no change fee/no fare difference (I assume since the same fare class was available and incediently the same flights). He did have to put me on hold to get the ticket reissued and voila. Very easy and had prepped myself for a little argument, but none.
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Old Mar 29, 2020, 2:40 am
  #120  
 
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Have recieved email cancellation for 3 out of 4 legs on my 3-13th April journey. The app shows all 4 legs as cancelled. Today the last leg 13th of April was automatically rebooked with a minor time change.

Is KLM playing a trick on me?
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