Thousands still waiting for travel vouchers, refunds for trips cancelled during pandemic
Thousands of people whose flights were canceled during the coronavirus pandemic have not yet been reimbursed. Foreign airlines, travel agents, and go-betweens are still lagging behind in issuing refunds to their customers, BNR Nieuws reported.
"We see major differences between organizations when it comes to refunds. In particular, airlines that are not established in the Netherlands are difficult for consumers to reach," said Remco Kuilman, founder of legal aid provider Aviclaim.
The same goes for online platforms specialized in airline tickets that work as intermediaries. "Some airlines do pay the money back to the intermediary, but they don't pay it out to consumers. They are sent from pillar to post: airlines refer to the booking platform and vice versa," Kuilman added.
Hendrik Noorderhaven, director of EUclaim, also acknowledged that it was tricky to get a refund if booking platforms were involved in the process. "If an airline does not have an address in the Netherlands, it cannot be taken to court. Legally, the airline is responsible for the refund and not the intermediary," he said.
At Aviclaim and EUclaim alone, the damage already exceeds 2 million euros. It concerns at least 3,500 customers who are not able to claim a refund. "Of the 6,500 people we were able to help, 60 percent have now received a refund. The rest still didn't," said Noorderhaven.
Noorderhaven added that it often also involved entire families with ticket values of up to 5,000 euros.