Airlines: credit voucher vs. full refund?

Old Apr 15th, 2020, 04:43 AM
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We decided to try an online chat with Delta, rather than long holding time on the phone. Although they attempt to deflect to links to an e- credit with a robot initially, they asked if we got an answer. When you hit "no", they provide the option of a representative, and we had someone online in minutes. We asked for refunds for both of our flights (one that they cancelled and the other one changed to a flight that makes no sense). They quickly said, without delay or argument, they would refund the first and put in a request for a refund for the second, suggesting we should receive the refund within 3 weeks. Not perfect but easier than I expected. Perhaps yesterday's bailout deal with airlines is providing enough cash flow to not tick off existing customers. ×

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Old Apr 16th, 2020, 05:40 PM
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Hello EU Residents! HELP!:

Not seeing a clear answer & hoping someone can help... Fiance & I are booked on Laudamotion (part of Ryanair) DUB-VIE on 5/9; then returning Aer Lingus on 5/12. We live in the U.S. Our PHL-DUB portions on American have been canceled & we're awaiting refunds.

Ryanair (which apparently has taken over for Laudamotion, as it looks like all their flights are grounded?) has a schedule change (moved departure one hour earlier), but it looks like we can't use that as an excuse to cancel... Aer Lingus is pushing the voucher or rebook option.

Simply put, we need a refund. It's looking like at least Laudamotion/Ryanair is probably going to cancel... Can't tell if Aer Lingus is doing any intra-European flying and if them cancelling is a slam dunk or at least a strong possibility.

Bottom line is: Are there any EU rules governing when an airline must cancel? If, by some miracle, they do fly, we'd lose our money anyway, so should we just ride this out until we get a cancellation email, even if that means past the date & time of the flight? Should we get up early both days & check to see if they'll cancel, so we don't miss out on the voucher route if they don't?

Any insight is much appreciated! Stay safe & healthy!
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Old Apr 16th, 2020, 09:48 PM
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Ryanair is canceling in stages. They can't handle everybody at once. You can look at the essential flights they're flying (Don't know about Lauda) but Ryanair is still running a few flights on routes they only handle.

https://corporate.ryanair.com/news/l...pen/?market=ie

Basically Ireland to the Uk and that's it.

I'd expect to receive a cancelation notice between ten and fifteen days before your flight. Even then you're looking at a further wait of five weeks for the refund. Normally they first send you the SMS and then a few minutes/hours later the email.
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 04:24 AM
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As I indicated above, there is a game of chicken going on. If it were me, I would play it until a few hours before the flight. Our three flights within France (Volotea, Air France and Easy Jet) all cancelled this week for the period 4/29-5/12). Once they canceled, we applied for refunds (not always easy to find out how) and also then disputed the charges with our credit card company.

Aer Lingus is so desperate not to provide refunds, they are offering credits of 110%, good for five years, one of the best anywhere. They also are operating empty planes per this article in Irish Times a couple weeks ago:

“It (Aer Lingus) was also accused of side-stepping refund claims from US-bound passengers by flying virtually empty planes across the Atlantic despite the fact that Irish passengers with bookings cannot travel as a result of restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.

The owner of the Tour America travel agency Mary McKenna said Aer Lingus was one of a number of airlines not following EU regulations and refusing to give passengers refunds.

She said it was attempting to push people into accepting vouchers or alternate bookings instead of giving them money back. She also said it was withholding money paid out by travel agents on behalf of clients.

“They have thrown the travel agents and tour operators under the bus,” she said. “A voucher instead of a refund is not acceptable and it is not going to be much use to someone who has lost their job.”

The chairman of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association Pat Dawson said it was “a black-and-white issue” and Aer Lingus was in breach of regulations by refusing to process refunds.

He said thousands of people who had paid for flights to the US could not travel because of restrictions. “But Aer Lingus won’t give refunds and are flying ghost planes across the Atlantic that are almost empty. It is absolutely disgraceful.”

Aer Lingus denied it was refusing to refund people and said when flights were cancelled it “provides guests with information in relation to their rights under EU Regulation 261 including, the right to a refund”.

It said “refund requests are being actioned via our website, through our social channels and through our call centre”. It said it was operating a reduced schedule to the US “to facilitate repatriation across Europe and North America” and passengers due to travel up to May 31st could change bookings or apply for travel vouchers. It said if flights were “proceeding as planned and there is a government-issued travel restriction or travel warning, guests should contact their travel insurer to seek a refund”.”
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LT View Post
Simply put, we need a refund. It's looking like at least Laudamotion/Ryanair is probably going to cancel... Can't tell if Aer Lingus is doing any intra-European flying and if them cancelling is a slam dunk or at least a strong possibility.

Bottom line is: Are there any EU rules governing when an airline must cancel? If, by some miracle, they do fly, we'd lose our money anyway, so should we just ride this out until we get a cancellation email, even if that means past the date & time of the flight? Should we get up early both days & check to see if they'll cancel, so we don't miss out on the voucher route if they don't?
You need to wait for the airline(s) to cancel, then you can apply for a refund. It is unlikely that it would be cancelled just hours before scheduled departure.


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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 05:53 AM
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So far, I believe EU and USDOT have issued similar guidelines on cancellations that the airlines make. Airlines are required to make full refunds in those cases,.Here is advice from Elliott (consumer) Adocacy:
(The only recommendation I would add, don't be afraid to make a chargeback request with your credit card company (once the flight is cancelled and once you have made a reasonable effort to get a refund). Such requests normally can be made online, but prepare right now for a long wait. AMEX yesterday indicated a resolution might not occur for two months.)
  • Do not cancel before the airline cancels
  • Many travelers are looking for a quick resolution to their coronavirus travel dilemmas. But canceling too soon will just add to the problems. Please make sure that you will benefit from canceling before you do so. If there isn’t a benefit to canceling, then wait it out.
  • Don’t be a no-show for your flight
  • But remember, if the airline does not cancel your flight, you will need to cancel before the day of departure. If you allow yourself to be a no-show you could end up losing the entire value of the ticket.
  • Check the current temporary coronavirus cancellation policies
  • If you have a trip planned in the coming days and weeks, make sure to bookmark this article — it contains all the latest travel-related coronavirus cancellation policies. We’re updating it daily.
  • Bookmark your airline and other travel provider’s websites
  • Coronavirus cancellation policies are changing daily — sometimes by the hour. Check and then check again before you make any decisions about your future flights and other travel plans.
  • Make sure you understand the terms of cancellation
  • Before you agree to cancel your flight, whether it be during the coronavirus crisis or any other time, make sure you understand the terms of cancellation. If a representative of a company is asking you to agree to something, ask for the specifics in writing. Don’t blindly accept the deal.
  • Confirm the expiration dates and terms of the vouchers
  • If you’re considering accepting a future flight voucher, make sure you understand its terms as well. Carefully check the expiration date. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of that expiration date later.
  • Spend your voucher quickly
  • As soon as this terrible time passes, spend your voucher quickly. A voucher is worth nothing should it expire or the airline or company goes out of business. Booking future travel and purchasing a trip insurance policy that includes coverage if your travel provider goes bankrupt can protect you.
  • File a complaint with the Department of Transportation
  • If you think your airline has mishandled your coronavirus flight cancellation, you should file a complaint with the Department of transportation. Here is how to file a complaint with the DOT.
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 08:07 AM
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So, there is a confict in the advice above:
1) "As I indicated above, there is a game of chicken going on. If it were me, I would play it until a few hours before the flight."
20 "But remember, if the airline does not cancel your flight, you will need to cancel before the day of departure."

I would take the latter advice.
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
So, there is a confict in the advice above:
1) "As I indicated above, there is a game of chicken going on. If it were me, I would play it until a few hours before the flight."
20 "But remember, if the airline does not cancel your flight, you will need to cancel before the day of departure."
I would take the latter advice.
I believe all five of the airlines we booked allow you to cancel, with full Covid-19 credits, right up until the departure time or within two hours, I agree it would be more prudent to cancel the day before, if you have to. × × ×
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 08:27 AM
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If you cancel you risk getting only the taxes back. No point canceling yourself almost nothing is flying before mid June.

If you're tempted to cancel yourself take the rebooking option.
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 08:35 AM
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Luckily I have not had issues getting refunds on any of my cancelled flights, hotels or car rentals. If I did, I would claim through travel insurance. Credit card companies, at least in the UK and IME are not helpful with regard "chargeback requests", maybe for Americans it is different. You can't spend your voucher quickly, there are hardly any flights to book on in the next few months. Insurance might not cover rebookings especially if done now during a known worldwide pandemic. Cancellation terms whether due to CV or another reason should be read before commiting to a booking, not once you have purchased and then need to cancel.
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Cancellation terms whether due to CV or another reason should be read before commiting to a booking, not once you have purchased and then need to cancel.
I think some of us are concerned with airlines who are not following those very "terms." United was called out when they tried to change the rules three times in two days after the virus started to cause cancellation of flights. I have not seen one condition of carriage for any airline, or any USDOT or EU rules, that do anything, other than say if the airline cancels the flight, the passenger is entitled to a refund. After playing dodge ball with some of them, mostly online, we have now received full refunds from Jet Blue and Delta (today). We have chargeback requests with our credit card company for Air France, Volotea, and Easyjet (which still has not been bothered to notify us of its 2-week old cancellation of our upcoming flight). Normally, at least in the US, if you do not receive a service for which you paid, absent an agreement to the contrary, credit companies usually stand behind the cardholder. Credit card issuers have been inundated with such consumer disputes. So, we will how this plays out. × ×
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 04:32 PM
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Whitehall, we have a flight on May22 with Virgin Atlantic. They aren't under EU laws anymore so we are playing the wait game. We had an AirFrance flight later and they already gave us a voucher to use within a year or after that will refund the money.

I played around with dates and they aren't even flying middle of May but still showing flights on 22nd. We have eurostar tickets also. Geez, just a mess but could be worse.

I am a bit confused with the brexit rules now for Virgin Atlantic and British air.
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Old Apr 18th, 2020, 04:38 AM
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Macross, I think you are okay with Brexit rules. The bigger problem will be whether the responsible authorities will enforce the rules and whether it will take legal actions as everyone weighs bailouts and consumer rights as they relate to near bankrupt airlines. Refunds are, of course, best. Future credits on an airline that may go under might not be so great. Future credits with restrictions such as time limits also not so wonderful. Some are pushing for credits with extended time frames and even transferability to others so it more closely resembles cash.From a website that assists airline passengers with EU flight claims:

“Considering EU261 is pretty extensive in its protection of passenger rights, you may be worried that you’re no longer covered. Well, fear not.

Luckily,a withdrawal agreement in the form of the 2018 EU Withdrawal Bill was formed and agreed to by both the EU and the UK. This means that many existing pieces of EU legislation, including EU261, were enshrined into domestic law by the UK government.

This means passenger rights after Brexit will stay the same, even if you are flying from non-EU countries, to an EU airport on UK airlines.

The legislation made sure to fill in any gaps in the wake of Brexit. The UK law now covers:
  • Any flight that leaves the UK regardless of the airline
  • All flights that take off outside of the UK and touch down in the UK and the airline is registered as EU or UK
  • All flights that take off outside of the UK and touch down in the EU and the airline is registered as a UK carrier"
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Old Apr 18th, 2020, 05:18 AM
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We did some digging last night and eurostar had the shortest time limits for vouchers. I wonder how full those trains are right now. We are going to play Virgins game and see if they cancel first. They are offering vouchers with no rate increase but want you to use them by Nov.
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Old Apr 18th, 2020, 05:54 AM
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The Eurostar is operating right now with significantly reduced schedules. Like airlines, they are only mentioning e-credits as compensation for cancellations and significant changes, but I believe the rules of carriage at the time you would have booked allow for a refund if the trip is delayed more than one hour. Again, you may have a hard and/or lengthy time getting it. For trips booked through May, I believe their vouchers are good for travel through March 2021 (so long as booked by Sept. 30). Not a great option if you want to defer travel for a year.
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Old Apr 18th, 2020, 01:40 PM
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Some of the airline dodging can be downright amusing. We finally received confirmation of our cancelled Volotea flight from Corsica to Bordeaux. We saw the cancellation online sometime ago. They offered us two choices: pick another flight and pay the difference or get a one year credit in the amount of what you paid. But if you decide not to go for this “first measure” as they described it, they will try with more options three days before the scheduled flight departure. And, they even tell you now what those alternative choice will be (not sure why they just don’t offer all of them at once). If you are patient, the second slate of options will include a voucher for 120% of what you paid (they didn’t mention any expiration date) or they will allow you to try to claim a refund. I’m not sure they would fare very well dickering at a flea market. We can give you a $100 gift certificate or we can give you $120 gift certificate; it’s up to you. (We are going to hold out for cash).
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Old Apr 18th, 2020, 02:24 PM
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If we had a crystal ball. I think ou trip to Keil and Berlin are gone before May but we could just fly to London anytime and take the Eurostar to Paris and use those vouchers on our hotel by the station. We booked 25 hour hotel and since it was my one nonrefundable booking I gladly took the voucher for two nights. It was $$$ at the non-refundable rate. Very boho and we thought convenient for two nights. Never again and also told the husband no Eurostar on the day we land. We will detour to Portsmouth for several days and then take the train. He has to see the Mary Rose and I want to go to the Isle of Wight for the day. We are landing at Gatwick so super close to Portsmouth. Thank you for your help.
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Old Apr 19th, 2020, 04:08 PM
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Many, many THANKS to all those who responded! We'll just hope they cancel, and if not, we'll cancel 24-36 hours prior to scheduled departure. One thing that concerns me about vouchers is that if an airline goes into bankruptcy (a distinct possibility with about all of the airlines these days), I would assume that you are classified as basically a "creditor" of the airline, and thus, the voucher would end up being worthless.
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Old Apr 19th, 2020, 06:45 PM
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Don’t be afraid to file a chargeback request with your credit card company. It is an easy process. Do it sooner than later to preserve any filing deadlines your credit card company may require. The card company might be less supportive of you versus a good merchant customer. And, they presumably will be less supportive if the card issuer needs to make any payment, for example, in the case of a bankrupt merchant. But you should remind your card issuer that you use their card to protect your purchases. Right now, most airlines, if not all, are still collecting dollars from future travelers. Your card company initially will deduct any disputed amount from those receipts, and those amounts will be held by the card company in a type of escrow account. Merchants don’t like chargebacks (it can affect their future credit card fees, for example). When I was a merchant, we found that persistent customers can appeal adverse rulings up to three times (which keeps the airline from getting its money) and eventually the resolution can go to an arbitrator. With that kind of pressure, an airline might be more willing to relent on a chargeback request. I disputed a JetBlue charge when it appeared they were only going to provide a voucher for an upcoming cancelled flight. They quickly provided the credit in response to an email we sent. I don’t know if it was related to the dispute, which we then quickly closed. Again, it’s usually a simple online process and does not require any expertise. And, frankly If your flight is in the US or EU and the airline cancels the flight, I do not know any grounds they can claim to keep your payment.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2020, 05:06 PM
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You guys have had better luck than I have! i am giving them until May 1st for a full refund and then I will starting credit card chargebacks. I'd rather not have like 6 disputes out there, so trying to be patient, but it is a lot of money.

I am still waiting for:
=> Finnair - flights on 4/2 & 4/13, cancelled 3/13. No refund received and they tell me "8 weeks". I am about to file an EU complaint.

=> Norwegian Air - flight 4/6, cancelled 3/15. see above notes.

=> Royal Air Maroc (flight Apr. 6th, cancelled April 2nd). this is what they just said,
"We are responding to your email. The results of our investigations actually act on the incident cited in the subject. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused by this incident.
However, we inform you that the cancellations of flights are due to the COVID19 crisis, which prevented flights from being carried out according to the planned schedule.
Taking into account security and safety requirements, Royal Air Maroc has made all reasonable efforts to minimize the consequences on your trip.
In accordance with the terms of Regulation 261/2004 of February 11, 2004, this situation is an extraordinary circumstance exempting from liability.
In addition, we can offer you a refund in the form of a transport voucher. Simply send your request to the following address: [email protected]
By regretting the inconvenience caused, please accept, dear SURFMOM the assurance of our highest consideration, and we look forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you once again aboard Royal Air Maroc flights."

Ummm... no.


this is what I responded with:
Thank you for your communication. I am not requesting additional monies or compensation above my full payment to you. I am requesting a full refund of the monies that I have paid you. As you can see from the attached link dated 18.3.2020, EU 261/2004 still REQUIRES that Royal Air Maroc offer me a full refund. (Article 3.2).

3. AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS (REGULATION (EC) NO 261/2004)

3.1. Information to passengers Apart from the rules regarding information on the rights available, Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 does not contain specific provisions on information on travel disruptions. However, rights to compensation in case of cancellation are linked to the carrier failing to give notice sufficiently in advance. This aspect is thus covered by the considerations below on rights to compensation.

3.2. Right to reimbursement or re-routing In the case of a flight cancellation by the airlines (no matter what the cause is), Article 5 obliges the operating air carrier to offer the passengers the choice among:

a) reimbursement (refund);

b) re-routing at the earliest opportunity, or

c) re-routing at a later date at the passenger's convenience.


in case anyone is bored, here is the link


c20201830.pdf

Last edited by surfmom; Apr 23rd, 2020 at 05:08 PM. Reason: fix link
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