The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) gave KLM a proper slap on the wrist yesterday as it decided to fine the royal airline for non-refunds of cancelled tickets during the corona crisis.
Over the past year, the ILT scrutinised the practices of 14 different airlines amongst which not only KLM but also Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Air Arabia Maroc are now in for a fine. Exactly how much it’ll cost the airlines is not yet known, reports the NOS.
Violation of passenger rights
As many people who’ve had to cancel a long-awaited trip during the pandemic may recognise, the investigation of airlines treatment of passenger rights revealed that “The refund of tickets purchased from a travel broker or online platform is not going well.”
Amongst others, the inspectorate found that “passengers actually never receive the ticket money back within seven days” — excuse us?
To make matters worse, passengers aren’t always offered the choice of getting their money back or receiving a voucher for another flight.
Different treatment if you book through a travel agent
The inspectorate also found that passengers who book via third parties are worse off in the case of a cancelled trip than those who get their ticket directly with the airline.
Although the airline is ultimately responsible for the direct reimbursement, nine out of 14 airlines refer passengers back to the travel agent — leaving them to deal with an exhausting amount of phone calls and confusion. The ILT has now reminded airlines of this fact. 🙃
According to the NOS, the CEO of KLM, Pieter Elbers, says he’ll look carefully at the report by the ILT and talk to them. Elbers emphasises that the past two years have been hard on KLM but that they’ve always aimed to treat their customers as best as possible.
What’s your experience with getting your money back for a cancelled flight? Tell us in the comments below!
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