Compensation during Air France Lufthansa strike

Compensation during Air France Lufthansa strike

Between 15 September 2014 and 22 September 2014, the pilots of Air France are going to strike. 15 and 16 September it is expected that the pilots of Lufthansa are on strike.

About 50% of all their flights will be cancelled and a lot of passenger will be affected.

The ‘famous’ 261/2004 regulation, protects EU-passengers during cancellation, denied boarding and delays longer than 3 hours of their flights. However, there are exceptions for natural disasters and strikes.

The exception of the exception
If employees of the airline themselves are on strike AND if the strike has been announced in advance, then the compensation up to € 600 per passenger has to be paid to the passenger! In both cases, for Air France and Lufthansa, this is the case. The pilots of AF and LH are on strike AND the strikes have been announced already a week in advance.

Therefore use our claim-tool below to check if your flight is also eligible for compensation. NOTE: If your flight was due to depart on, let’s say, 22 September. You can NOT claim in advance, you can only claim AFTER 23 September.

Click here to go to the claimcalculator

 

EC

Outbound ticket unused, no reason to refuse on return flight

5 February 2014 the European Parliament (EP) adopted several new laws to protect the air traveler. We already have been notified of the fact that the EP proposed a ban on admin fees for refunds of airport taxes. In other words; if an air traveler is unable to use his ticket, he is able to request a refund for airport taxes FREE OF CHARGE.

Please be aware that this new EP law is ONLY applicable on the refund of airport taxes. All airlines have their own general conditions of fares of the ticket. Most people probably have non-refundable fares, but in those cases, the air traveler is still able to get an airport tax refund, free of charge.

Using only 50% of your ticket

In addition to this new law, the EP also helps the air traveler who has a return ticket but is not using the outbound ticket, but only the return ticket. Currently, airlines are allowed to refuse you on the return flight if you haven’t used the ‘first’ part of the ticket, but with ‘Amendment 59’, the air traveler will still be allowed to use his return ticket. Even after not showing up for the outbound flight.

Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3 – point b
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004
Article 4 – paragraph 4
‘4.   Passengers shall not be denied boarding at the return journey, including one which consists of multiple flights, on the grounds that he/she did not take the outward journey of a return ticket or did not pay an additional charge for this purpose. If boarding is denied to passengers against their will on such grounds, paragraphs 1 and 2 shall apply. In addition, the operating air carrier shall immediately compensate the passengers concerned in accordance with Article 7 and shall assist them in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.
The first subparagraph of this paragraph shall not apply where the ticket includes multiple coupon flights and passengers are denied boarding on the grounds that carriage per journey is not used on all individual flights or not used in the agreed sequence as indicated in the ticket .

Return tickets vs Multi-city tickets

Amendment 59 is ONLY applicable on direct airport-to-airport return tickets (for example: Amsterdam Schiphol-London Heathrow v.v.). If you book a return flight with a transfer or stop-over, the amendment is not applicable on this ticket.

In case of a multi-city ticket (for example: Amsterdam Schiphol-Paris ChdG-London Heathrow v.v.), the air traveler is still obligated to use the ticket ‘in sequence’ of the flight coupons. In this case, the air traveler is NOT allowed to board the airplane in Paris ChdG and fly to London Heathrow for example.

 

EC

Gratis restitutie van luchthavenbelastingen

Met overtuigende meerderheid heeft het Europees Parlement op 3 februari 2014 amendement 8 aangenomen op EC261/2004 aangenomen waarmee op zeer korte termijn bij wet vastgelegd zal worden dat luchtvaartmaatschappijen GEEN administratiekosten meer in rekening mogen brengen voor het restitueren van luchthavenbelastingen.

Administratiekosten vanaf heden verboden

Tot op heden was het voor de reiswereld toegestaan om administratiekosten in rekening te brengen voor het restitueren van luchthavenbelastingen als de consument zijn ticket niet kon gebruiken vanwege annulering. In deze situaties is het al heel vervelend voor consumenten dat ze hun geld kwijt zijn, maar dat er ook nog administratiekosten in rekening werden gebracht om luchthavenbelastingen te restitueren was extra wrang. Mede omdat deze belasting een gebruikersbelasting is en derhalve pas verschuldigd is na gebruik of afname.

In het geval van een vliegtickets is het gebruik van de luchthaven doorslaggevend, om precies te zijn; het daadwerkelijk instappen van de passagier. Stapt de passagier niet in dan zijn deze belastingen ook niet verschuldigd en krijgt men vanaf nu alle luchthavenbelastingen terug zonder dat hier administratiekosten in rekening worden gebracht.

ANVR blijft vreemd advies geven

Zelfs de ANVR (de brancheorganisatie van de betalende leden uit de reissector) geeft haar leden (de reisagenten en touroperators) nog steeds het advies om extra (administratie)kosten in rekening te brengen zodat deze kosten het bedrag aan restitutie overtreft zodat er geen luchthavenbelasting meer terugbetaald kan worden. Dat is erg vreemd want de ANVR organisatie te zijn met betrouwbare en fatsoenlijke leden waar de consument met een gerust hart zijn reis kan boeken. Maar met dit advies zijn consumenten juist in het nadeel en kost het hen geld. Terwijl de ANVR-leden (de reisorganisaties) juist verdienen aan de vervelende situatie van annulering door de consument.

Advies van de ANVR aan haar leden:

Ons is bekend dat EU-verordening zich bevindt in een herzieningsproces, maar dit proces is nog niet afgerond. Het gaat nog om “amendementen” van het Europese parlement op het herzieningsvoorstel.

Maar zelfs als amendement 8 van het Europese parlement (Wanneer een passagier een vlucht annuleert, moeten de luchtvaartmaatschappijen verplicht zijn reeds betaalde belastingen kosteloos terug te betalen) al van kracht zou zijn, brengt dit geen wijziging. De airline wordt (via dit amendement) weliswaar verplicht tot terugbetaling van de luchthaven belastingen zonder daar kosten op in te houden, maar de touroperator/reisagent mag tegenover zijn klant wel rekening houden met eventuele extra (administratie)kosten die voor TO/RA zijn verbonden aan het terugclaimen van deze taxen bij de airline als hij deze terugbetaalt aan de reiziger. Dit is en blijft toegestaan o.g.v. art. 12 ANVR-Reisvoorwaarden resp. art. 3.3 ANVR-Boekingsvoorwaarden.

De ANVR adviseert aan haar leden dus om extra (administratie)kosten in rekening te brengen aan klanten die toch al in een vervelende situatie zitten als ze moeten annuleren. Wat de ANVR ook verzuimt mede te delen aan haar leden is het feit dat artikel 12.4 van de ANVR-Reisvoorwaarden wel degelijk de verplichting met zich mee brengt om restitutie te verlenen aan de consument.  Helaas communiceert de ANVR alleen artikel 12.1 t/m 12.3 aan haar leden en wordt, misschien bewust, artikel 12.4 niet genoemd.

Wij zijn dan ook heel nieuwsgierig hoe de ANVR zich tegenover deze wet gaat verdedigen en dit advies goed kan praten tegenover de consument.

ANVR weigert inhoudelijk te reageren

Ondanks drie schriftelijke verzoeken in 1,5 jaar tijd tot een goed gesprek, weigert de ANVR inhoudelijk te reageren op ons aanbod. Ook op concrete vragen van gaat de ANVR niet in. De ANVR heeft echter wel de moeite genomen om de reisbranche te informeren over Re-fund.com, ook dit wordt gedaan op basis van onjuiste en incomplete informatie. Ook hierbij geldt dat de ANVR weigert onze bewijzen in te zien die het tegendeel bewijzen.

Update april 2014:

Na aandringen van diverse reisverzekeraars om toch met ons in gesprek te gaan, is de ANVR na 1,5 jaar eindelijk overstag gegaan en heeft er inmiddels een gesprek plaats gehad. Tijdens dit gesprek heeft dhr. Walter Schut van de ANVR aangegeven dat als ANVR-leden deze onverschuldigd betaalde luchthavenbelastingen achter houden “de ANVR-leden inderdaad niet goed bezig zijn.” Het is nu wachten op bericht van ANVR waarin de daad ook daadwerkelijk bij het woord wordt gevoegd.

How to get an airport tax refund (unused ticket)

Airport tax refund

re-fundlogoJust missed your flight? Or canceled your ticket because you were sick? Don’t get ripped of by your travel agent or airline when they say that the ticket is 100% non-refundable!

Probably ONLY the FARE is non-refundable! The airport taxes imposed by governments and local authorities are ALWAYS refundable. The only thing is; airlines and travel agents won’t tell you this because the make a huge amount of money by keeping those taxes for themselves.

Airlines have to publish the amount of passengers, cargo and mail to the arrival and departing airport, so those airport can calculate the exact amount of taxes and charges. Hence; the airlines are charged by the EXACT amount of passengers actually flown. If you didn’t fly, your airline doesn’t have to pay your taxes to the airports. That’s not a crime of course, but, they also refuse to refund those taxes automatically to you.

Only if you ask for it, they might refund the airport taxes to you. Although you would have a hard time to tell this to the outsourced call-centre agent in India, since he only sticks to his script. And refund airport taxes is not on his list of course.

vlucht-vertraagd-3-300x225How they airlines work:

Let’s say you’re holding a ticket with airline ABC from Paris to New York. The booking of this flight is 300 passengers. But eventually only 285 passengers show up, leaving 15 seats empty.

The airline publish its statistics to the airports of Paris and New York and airline ABC receives an invoice for 285 passengers.

However, airline ABC already received for 300 passengers the fare and the taxes. Depending on the fare rules of the ticket, your ticket might be refundable. But in this example you are holding a ticket with the cheapest fare base and the rules don’t allow you to get a refund on the fare. But what happens with 15 x airport taxes? Nothing! Airline ABC keeps those taxes! Again, this is not illegal, since the airlines created their own policies and regulations. And the policies state that ‘the passenger is eligeble to get a refund for airport taxes, if the the passenger asks for it’.

And this is where things go wrong: ‘IF’ the passenger asks for it. But if the passenger is not asking for a refund, airline ABC keeps the money. And airlines are not really willing to tell you that you can get a refund of those taxes of course. That’s exactly the reason why they tell you that the fare rules don’t allow you a refund if you cancel your ticket. So, airlines are not lying to you, they just only tell what they want you to know.

Now, why all this buzz about a few bucks of airport taxes? Here it comes: At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol airlines are holding on average an amount of 30.000 euro of taxes of passenger who don’t show up. Daily!

vlucht-vertraagd-2-300x196On Londons’ Heathrow airport it’s even more: 55.000 euro a day!

And this is YOUR money. And you are entitled to get this back.

How to get your money back?

Simply ask for it! Airlines and OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) have contact centers and are available via e-mail, telephone and social media. The best way to get your airport tax is via e-mail, so you have everything documented and airlines can never say that they ‘didn’t say to or promised to you’.

The first reply you’ll get is probably that your ticket is non-refundable and that therefore a refund of airport taxes is not possible. But keep pushing! Reply that you are not asking for a refund of your ticket, but for a refund of AIRPORT TAXES ONLY. And airport taxes are ALWAYS refundable.

vlucht-vertraagd-1-300x200A few things to keep in mind:

-Have you booked your ticket directly with an airline? Contact them! If you booked a ticket via a (online) travel agent we cannot help you unfortunately. Contact your travel agent instead.

-A lot of airlines deduct the refund with an admin fee of € 25 or even more. Save your time and only ask for a refund if airport taxes are clearly more than € 25.

-If you are holding an Easyjet, Ryanair or FlyBe ticket; keep in mind that those airlines have commercial deals with several airports and are not always paying airport taxes. If you didn’t pay airport taxes, you obviously can’t get a refund.

Unfortunately we are not able to assist individuals with airport tax refunds since we only work with travel insurance companies. If you are requesting a refund for your airport taxes, contact the ‘point of issue’ of your ticket. This is the channel via which you bought the ticket. So if you purchased your ticket via a travel agent, contact them. If you purchased your ticket via the website of the airline, contact the airline!