Major EU airlines agree to refund passengers after pandemic flight cancellations

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BRUSSELS, Sep 30 (Businesshala) – A group of European airlines agreed on Thursday to refund passengers whose flights were canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and better understand the rights of passengers in the future Committed to providing information.

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After talks with the European Commission, 16 airlines agreed to clean up the refund backlog to better inform passengers when companies will cancel flights and offer vouchers only if passengers choose to do so.

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Airlines include Air France-KLM, British Airways, EasyJet, Lufthansa, Ryanair, TAP and Wiz Air.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, some airlines pushed vouchers on passengers,” European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in a statement. “They were acting against EU consumer protection rules. It was unacceptable,” he said.

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National authorities in individual EU states are responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection laws. EU law, the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, has created a network of state enforcers to coordinate on such issues.

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

“The airlines have committed large-scale violations of European consumer rights during the pandemic,” Monique Goyens, general director of the European consumer organization CEUC, which led the complaint to the EU in July 2020, said in an emailed statement.

“It is time for airlines to clean up their act … Many consumers across Europe are still waiting to get their money back, with flights canceled during the first lockdown in 2020.”

EU transport chief Edina Vallian also welcomed the agreement, saying it would restore trust between passengers and airlines. “The recovery of the air transport sector depends on it,” she said.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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