16 May, 2020

Air France - KLM backtracking over refund v voucher policy

COVID-19: Adaptation of Air France and KLM's commercial policy

Photo Air France

Air France - KLM are backtracking on their controversial policy of only giving customers who have had flights cancelled due to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis a voucher or credit note to use for a future flight. And, then only allowing a refund after a year has passed providing they have not used the voucher. Thereby forcing customers to give the airlines at least a 12-month interest-free loan. 

Since the beginning of this crisis, Air France and KLM have issued those sorts of vouchers,  despite a backlash from customers, politicians and various organizations. However,  now the airline group is backtracking on that policy.  It claims it is making a change to the policy because of the gradual lifting of travel bans and entry restrictions, although most in the industry believe the bad publicity surrounding the policy, as well a mass of potential legal and governmental challenges that were brewing in the wings has had more influence.   

Air France and KLM have decided to adjust their refund policy for flight cancellations taking place on 15th May and after, these customers are now being offered the choice of a voucher or a cash refund.

Rather horrendously, the airline group is not backdating this policy to allow the vast majority of customers who have had flights cancelled before 15th May a refund for at least a year.  Nope,  they will still have to wait to get their money back.  By some attempt to appease growing frustration and discontent they are adding a bonus of 15% to the total value of the initial ticket that was cancelled - good news you may think. But, alas that extra 15% only applies if the customers use the vouchers for a KLM or Air France flight.  If they wait for the year to get the cash,  then whoosh that 15% vanishes and they only get back what they originally paid. 

Rather unsurprisingly Air France KLM is saying it may take months for refunds to be processed because of the exceptional circumstances being experienced by the airline. 

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