Thousands of travellers yet to receive refund for cancelled flights
News station BNR has reported that thousands of travellers across the Netherlands have still not received refunds for flights cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to their investigation, foreign airlines and booking platforms are the least likely to return customers’ cash.
Coronavirus cancel your flight? Get a refund!
As coronavirus broke out across Europe last spring, international travel came to a standstill. Airlines and travel agents were forced to cancel flights and package holidays. Here in the Netherlands, most travellers were offered vouchers that could be used for future flights, but many customers were also entitled to full refunds. However, an investigation has revealed that thousands of travellers and their families are yet to receive the refunds to which they are entitled.
According to BNR, EUclaim - an organisation that helps customers fight for their compensation / refund - and legal aid provider Aviclaim have already assisted more than 3.500 duped travellers, amounting to damages worth over two million euros. In reality, the number of affected travellers is likely much higher.
Booking platforms and foreign airlines least likely to refund customers
Aviclaim founder Remco Kuilman points out that many customers who booked holidays via online travel agencies are left going around in circles, as airlines refer them back to the relevant agents, while booking platforms encourage them to get in touch with the airline itself. “Some airlines do pay the money back to the intermediary, but they don't then pay it out to consumers,” he says.
Hendrik Noorderhaven, CEO at EUclaim, notes how difficult it is for customers to chase foreign companies. Legally, airlines are responsible for ticket refunds, not travel agencies, but any airline without an address in the Netherlands cannot be taken to a Dutch court, making it harder for travellers to fight their case.