ILT: Airlines must reimburse customers within seven days from October 1
From the beginning of October, airlines will have to reimburse their customers for cancelled flights within seven days.
Seven-day limit for Dutch airlines
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport; ILT) has stated that, from October 1, all airlines must refund customers the price of their ticket within seven days in cases where the flight has been cancelled. This rule has been instated following an investigation by the ILT within the aviation sector and interviews with KLM, Transavia, Vueling, Corendon, and Tui.
EU regulation states that refunds must be issued within a week of the cancellation of the flight, but the ILT had held off enforcing this rule at the request of the Dutch government, in an attempt to help airlines survive the coronavirus crisis. ILT, therefore, allowed airlines to distribute vouchers instead of refunds.
Travelling during the coronavirus crisis
The ILT’s investigation came about following months of complaints from customers who had waited months for a refund, and who felt that their rights had been violated by the airlines. Between March and September, over 1.300 travellers filed complaints with the ILT, mostly taking issue with the long waiting time before being reimbursed, or being issued a voucher without the opportunity to request a refund instead.
The policy change comes after the ILT told airlines to speed up customer refunds in July. They encouraged airlines to refund customers within seven days, but at the time many complained that this timeline was not always feasible. Now, however, airlines will be forced to stick to the deadline and will risk a fine if they fail to adhere to the rules laid out by the ILT.
If you're one of the many people who are unsure of their rights when it comes to travelling during the coronavirus crisis or have faced difficulties over the past few months with organising your travel plans, find out what your travel rights during the coronavirus crisis are.