The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus, given the closure of borders and of general travel.
Support of the industry is, however, quite controversial, as it’s been revealed that CEO’s are attempting to keep their high bonuses as well as pilots trying to dodge taxes. And despite this being the same industry that will penalize you greatly if you are late a couple of minutes or if you have an extra kilogram in your luggage, Prime-Minister Mark Rutte is asking for solidarity with the industry, reports NU.
Airlines sending us “we’re in this together” emails. Bruh, where were you when..
-my suitcase was 51,5 pounds.
-I accidentally booked the 6am flight instead of the 6pm flight?
-when I sick & wanted to move a flight?
– when you lost my luggage & wouldn’t pay.
(Add yours below..)
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) April 23, 2020
Voucher instead of a refund
Mark Rutte stated during a brief press conference on Wednesday that if you do have a plane ticket that got cancelled, instead of asking for a refund, it’s better to ask for a voucher for a future holiday. He said that he also has some airline tickets in his drawer, but he’ll be asking for a voucher instead.
The European Commission previously stated that customers who had their flights cancelled are allowed to request a refund. Countries that do not allow this as a choice will receive a letter from the European Commission on the matter and launch an infringement procedure.
Mark Rutte incorrectly assumed that there will be no infringement procedure and that airlines are free to only give vouchers. This has turned out to be incorrect, as the Netherlands was mentioned by the European Commission in a letter, and it will enforce penalties if Dutch airlines do not give a choice to customers to get a refund.
Despite asking that people take out vouchers instead of refunds, Rutte shows some understanding for those who ask for refunds because they really need the money. Why would he ask people to get vouchers instead of refunds when the Dutch government is bailing out KLM with a loan of up to four billion euros is currently unknown.
Uncertain holiday plans
Either way, the summer holiday plans are very uncertain and discussions are being held in the European Commission to decide what to do about it.
Rutte did not give any holiday advice and said that we ought to look only two or three weeks ahead. Everything depends on the development of the virus and for now, only necessary travel is allowed.
Are customers entitled to ask for refunds, or should they show solidarity in the form of vouchers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Image: Minister-president Rutte/Flickr