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EU passengers will now get flight cancellation refunds in 14 Days

EU passengers will now get flight cancellation refunds in 14 Days

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
3 minutes read
Last Updated: December 01, 2023

On Wednesday November 29th, the European Commision (EC) set new regulations stating that passengers who have a flight cancellation must receive their refund within two weeks from the canceled flight. These new guidelines are just part of several EC recommendations aimed at strengthening air passenger rights.

Adina Valean, Commissioner for Transport said, “The EU has the strongest passenger rights frameworks in the world, but that does not mean that we should not do even better.”

The rules also state that passengers who are given a voucher for delayed or canceled flights must also be given a full explanation of its details prior to it being accepted. Additionally, vouchers that are not used by their validity date must be refunded automatically, and passengers who have had a flight delay or cancellation will be able to insist on a refund.

For passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility, the new regulations will allow them to travel more easily. More specifically, individuals with limited mobility who have to switch between modes of transportation during their travel must be assisted by airlines and airports at connecting points. If airlines require these individuals to have a travel companion to assist them, then the airline must provide the companion a seat next to the assisted person without charge.

The EC hopes the new regulations will strengthen passenger rights and address the shortcomings of current legislation. The new rules also give holiday package organizers the right to refunds within 7 days so they can give passengers a refund within 7 days.

Another important addition to the current legislation will allow travelers to terminate the travel contract if there is a significant concern that their trip will be adversely affected by unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances such as wildfires or the recent volcanic activity in Iceland. The regulations mandate that passengers have a right to a full refund of any payments made for the travel package.

If a contract is terminated, holiday package organizers can also give travelers a voucher (valid for 12 months) in the place of cash as long as the passenger has agreed to this in writing. If the voucher is not redeemed within the 12-month validity period, then the passenger will receive a refund for the amount of the voucher within 14 days.

This is a big win for passengers,” said Anton Radchenko, founder and CEO of AirAdvisor. “It provides a much needed safeguard protection for travelers where the majority of travel vouchers expire unused without any recourse.”

Vouchers can also be transferred from one passenger to another without any additional cost.

Also, holiday package organizers cannot ask for down payments that are more than 25% of the total price of the package unless the organizer can prove the need for a higher payment. Those who buy holiday travel packages will also get more understandable information about liability for any issues that arise during their travel.

While the Amended Package Travel Directive (EU) 2015/2303 provides a number of beneficial provisions to travelers, it doesn’t specify liability if the rules are violated.

“I wish the EC went further and added pre-defined penalties for violation of the Directive. I believe it would have been appropriate to set a progressive scale of penalties to incentivize organizers to refund without any delays or undue rejections,” Mr. Radchenko said.

The Amended Package Travel DIrective (EU) 2015/2302 will go into effect on the 20th day after its publication sometime in December 2023, but organizers and other related organizations will need to implement the additional procedures and train their staff to professionally handle these refunds in compliance with the revised regulation. “So, I expect compliance in the first quarter of 2024 to be weak and gradually improving during 2024 with new court cases being filed.”


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