Friday, 15 May 2020

KLM backtracks on refunds, yet thousands of customers will still have to wait for a year before they get their money back

Following an avalanche of complaints and more direction from the European Union, the Dutch airline KLM has updated its voucher for cancelled flights policy. As legal cases are being drawn up in the Netherlands regarding KLM's decision not to give a refund for more than a year to passengers whose flights had been cancelled by the airline because of the pandemic, the airline changes tact. 

KLM updates voucher policy

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines claims it has always operated in compliance with national and international laws and regulations, although there is doubt about that regarding its previous stance on the use of the vouchers - which basically afforded the airline an interest-free loan for a year minimum from each of its customers.   

The on-going, unprecedented corona crisis has caused a great of uncertainty for both customers and companies, prompting all sorts of unforeseen circumstances that are, regrettably, not fully covered by existing regulations on various issues, including the payment of refunds. During the past period, KLM has issued refund vouchers for tickets booked on cancelled flights. These vouchers can be redeemed for cash after 12 months, if the voucher has not been (fully) redeemed. "We understand that this is cause for uncertainty among customers, but we hope they will understand that we have to contend with a wide array of factors." The airline says. 


The circumstances in the airline industry have now stabilised somewhat. In response to this trend and the latest recommendations of the EU Commission, the Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, has decided to withdraw her earlier instructions to the Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, which were to remain in force until 1 July. KLM will, therefore, adjust its policy accordingly for passengers whose flight may be cancelled in the coming period. These customers will be offered the choice of a voucher or a cash refund. However, in view of the magnitude of this crisis and the number of cancellations, it may take longer to process these transactions. We ask for your understanding in this matter. KLM will, in the near future, also present a plan to make all vouchers more attractive by adding extra perks.

However, the change only applies to new cancellations, not the hundreds of thousands of customers that have already had their flights cancelled, they will still have to wait a year before they can get their money back. 








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