The different sprouts of Covid-19 in various European countries, especially Spain, France or Italy, increase controls and limitations for those who have no choice but to travel by plane. Without reaching the almost literal closure of the worst days of confinement and with the serious situation of the American continent, citizens may have to keep a mandatory quarantine on arrival or make a detour to reach their goal. In this complex context, what are the travelers rights?
Asked about a possible suspension of the flight due to an increase in restrictions, the marketing manager of Aervio Hugo Van – platform of Spanish origin dedicated to the management of businesswomen- «el European regulation 261/2004guarantees that passengers have the right to receive the full amount paid in the purchase of the ticket ». In this sense, this expert has highlighted that airlines are proposing to their customers the option of flight change without surcharge during “a very long period of enjoyment”, with the exception of the higher fare. The end, in Van’s words, is none other than “avoid managing more refunds.” In any case, the passenger will always have the right to be returned the amount of the ticket if you request it.
What is not contemplated in the aforementioned European regulation is the right to no more compensation, “As the pandemic is considered an extraordinary circumstance alien to the airline”, in the words of the Aervio expert.
Where to claim
So, do you have to claim the airline’s customer service or at the windows of the corresponding airport operator (in Spain, AENA)? Van highlights that there “Different routes”: the travel agency that has managed the contracting of the flight, the airline itself or other routes such as online complaint platforms or consumer associations.
“Some airline customer services have become saturated, due to the unusual volume of claims reimbursement for cancellations and the fewest number of people who attend to these claims, “said Hugo Van. In this regard, the Aervio expert has pointed out that vouchers are an alternative that seeks «Streamline management and be able to benefit from the reduction in the amount of the purchase of another ticket». In any case, the passenger can always request a refund of the ticket, “but it is taking considerably longer for them to refund the amount,” Van warned.
In the event that the cancellation of a flight forces you to spend the night at an airport or hotel, from Aervio, they have pointed out that if it has been the airline that has relocated the passengerThis must “bear the cost of the hotel nights in the departure city, of the hotel nights in the destination city in the event that passengers have been forced to do them”. In addition to “all transfers” between airports and hotels “both ways”.
However, if the flight cancellation is due to “Coronavirus-related reasons” the airline is not obliged to pay the hotel nights that the passenger had contracted at the destination, “in the event that he was unable to fly”.