KLM, Transavia offering cash refunds to all voucher holders
Dutch flag carrier KLM and its subsidiary Transavia changed their travel voucher policy on Thursday to offer cash refunds to all passengers of flights cancelled due to the global pandemic regardless of the date of travel. Previously, KLM refused to issue anything other than vouchers to passengers who were booked on flights before May 15, but now those passengers can get the full value of their tickets returned to them.
"Customers who already received a voucher and wish to opt for a cash refund, can do so," the airline said in a statement. The refunds may be requested immediately instead of at the end of the voucher's one-year validity, as was the airline's policy. Over the past few months, many KLM passengers have spoken with NL Times about the hardships they faced because they were unable to receive the cash they were owed, with some also angered by the airline's customer service.
While KLM first began offering cash to passengers in mid-May, Transavia did not do so until early June. "We have adjusted our policy. Passengers with a cancelled flight between March 15 and June 4 were initially given a voucher. These passengers can now opt for a refund," Transavia said in a statement on their website.
"In view of the magnitude of this crisis and the number of cancellations, it will take longer than usual to process the transactions," KLM said. Transavia stated it was still setting up a secure process to issue the refunds.
Travel vouchers issued by KLM would continue to be valued at the original amount paid for the booking plus an additional 15 percent as a bonus for accepting the voucher instead of a cash refund. It was not clear if Transavia was also incentivizing its customers to accept a voucher.
The European Commission had spoken out against forcing passengers to take vouchers, considering both European consumer law and the a high level of government-backed bridge loans available to help airlines with liquidity problems. Analysts also thought KLM's slow offering of cash refunds could itself have a negative impact on consumer confidence.