Airlines and ticket refunds

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In the past four months, the majority of flights were cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Airlines must, therefore, reimburse the cost of flights cancelled because of the corona crisis. According to the German Travel Association (DRV), airlines in Germany currently owe travelers refunds of around four billion euros and it appears that there are still considerable delays with the ticket reimbursements. Most airlines try to convince their clients to accept a voucher or to book at a later point in time, because otherwise they will face the risk of becoming insolvent. According to this solution, air carriers can offer customers vouchers with the corresponding value instead of direct reimbursement of the costs - provided that the customers accept the voucher. If they do not, they are still entitled to reimbursement of the costs.

The fact that the airlines are not paying the reimbursements in a timely manner affects not only the passengers but also the booking platforms, travel agencies and other sales partners which are licensed to sell the airline tickets. The consequences of this refund delay behavior threaten the economic existence of these sales partners and result in an additional amount of stress due to the constant customer complaints.

Lufthansa, for example, has recently given a statement that it will try to resolve the repayment issue they are facing. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr admitted that there is an ongoing problem with the refunds due to the enormous number of cancellations and apologized to the affected customers. He also mentioned that the airline has significantly increased its resources in the area of customer support so that they can speed up the processing time. For instance, Lufthansa is expanding the number of staff members in its call centers and employees that are in charge of customer support and ticket reimbursements. The airline expects to be able to clear its backlog of refunds in the upcoming six to eight weeks.

The German government is trying to increase the pressure put on the airlines. Thomas Bareiß, the federal government's commissioner for tourism criticizes the airlines for taking far too long to reimburse the ticket costs: "The airlines have a legal obligation to their customers and I expect that obligation to be met". Consumer institutions share this criticism. Robert Bartel of the consumer center Verbraucherzentrale Brandenburg also blames the airlines for their questionable stagnant communication. He believes there needs to be more transparency in the process. In addition, Bartel points out that affected customers can initiate a so-called dunning procedure or even fight for reimbursement in court. If your flight was cancelled and you still have not received your ticket refund from the airline, you can check your claim, free of charge. Simply enter your flight details at www.myflyright.com and we will do the rest of the work for you. You are not obligated to accept a voucher or an alternative flight from the airline. You can always demand that the airline reimburses your full ticket costs.

Lufthansa. Source: Adobe Stock

Airlines at risk of bankruptcy

Following the coronavirus pandemic and the immense drop in air travel, airlines are currently struggling financially. The Lufthansa Executive Board also expects a significant decline in demand for air travel in the period after the corona crisis. In their estimation, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to its pre-crisis levels. As a result, air travel experts believe that 20% of the employees in Lufthansa are at risk of losing their job. According to its own statements, at the moment the airline group has approximately 26 000 surplus employees. In addition, the fleet of Lufthansa and its subsidiaries is about to shrink significantly. The British airline EasyJet, which is also currently facing financial difficulties, plans to cut about 4 500 jobs. This reduction equals a third of all jobs at EasyJet. The fleet of the airline is also to be reduced from 337 to 302. The press speakers of EasyJet announced that, according to their projections, it was unlikely that the demand for air tickets would return to normal level before the year 2023.

SunExpress Germany, on the other hand, completely ceased its flight operations and initiated its liquidation procedure. In the period between 2nd of April and 31st of May almost the entire fleet was out of operation and remained on the ground. More than 1 200 employees will have to be dismissed, as the SunExpress flights will be operated by other airlines. The remaining flights will be handled by the Turkish sister company – SunExpress and Eurowings, and the customers would be rebooked automatically. The brand will place its focus on flights from the regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Turkey. Other destinations in the Mediterranean region will therefore be dropped for the time being.

Main image: Adobe Stock

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About MYFLYRIGHT

MYFLYRIGHT is a legal tech company, specialized in the support of airline passengers affected by flight delays, flight cancellations, denied boarding, delayed or lost luggage and the refund of unused airline tickets. MYFLYRIGHT was founded 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. The company operates out of 3 offices, its headquarter in Hamburg and its branches in Prague, Czech Republic and Zaporizhia, Ukraine. Currently, MYFLYRIGHT employs a team of around 25 people working in Marketing, Operations, Legal, Customer Support and IT. The organization operates across 5 markets – Germany, United Kingdom, Romania, Austria, and Switzerland.

MYFLYRIGHT’s goal is to provide access to justice for all aviation passengers who experience irregularities in their flight transportation. Notably, 75% of all compensation requests submitted by passengers get rejected. Whereas, MYFLYRIGHT is able to successfully execute the applicable customer claims in more than 98% of cases at court.

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