octobre 21, 2021

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Airlines agree to pay refunds for Covid-related cancellations

A group of European airlines has agreed to refund passengers whose flights have been canceled during the Covid-19 pandemic, and has committed to providing better information on passenger rights in the future.

After talks with the European Commission, 16 airlines agreed to clear their backlog of refunds, to better inform travelers when airlines cancel flights and offer vouchers only when passengers choose them.

Airlines included Ryanair, British Airways, Easyjet, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, TAP, Wizz Air and others.

“In the early phase of the pandemic, some airlines paid coupons to passengers,” European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in a statement. “They were acting against EU consumer protection rules. This was unacceptable,” he said.

National authorities in individual EU countries are responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection laws. European Union law, the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, established a network of government law enforcement agencies to coordinate on such issues.

The EU Commission said it was the largest consumer protection cooperation measure in the history of the CPC network and the first action based on an alert from the Commission.

“Airlines have massively violated European consumer rights during the pandemic,” Monique Goines, director general of the European Consumer Organization CEUC, which led the complaint to the European Union in July 2020, said in an emailed statement.

“It’s time for airlines to clean up their act…Many consumers across Europe are still waiting for a refund, due to flight cancellations during the first lockdowns in 2020.”

EU transport official Adina Valian also welcomed the agreement, adding that it would restore confidence between passengers and airlines. “The recovery of the air transport sector depends on it,” she said.

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