Airline refunds v Vouchers

Travel Forums General Talk Airline refunds v Vouchers

1. Posted by ro2124 (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Anybody know about these Airline vouchers. To briefly explain I'm stuck in Medellin Colombia at the moment with this virus crap since February. Of course all flights were cancelled. Came here with Iberia Airlines and they sent voucher for future flights.
But from what I've heard apparently under European consumer law, they should have offered the option of a refund, but they didn't.
Seems to be very hit-and-miss,some people say they got refunds, others only vouchers.
Well recently the airport in Medellin opened partly again but there are no flights from Iberia Airlines back to Europe.
Original Journey was Berlin-Madrid- Medellin.
May able to get flight back to Europe with other airlines, but then I expect the Iberia voucher will not be valid.
So really a refund would be better.
Anyone got any advice if they refuse to give a refund?

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1622 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

To give context: I was booked to fly with Aer Lingus to the US in late March, about 10 days after all European citizens were banned from entering.

AL did not send me an email formally cancelling the flight even though a) it was via Dublin and b) the Dublin > US segment was not to a designated US entry airport and thus could not operate. The AL website offered a voucher + 50% request form or the option to contact them directly for a refund. I phoned AL directly, spoke to a member of staff working from home and the full fare was back on my card within a couple of days. I was lucky: as matters worsened and the number of voucher and refund requests (hundreds of thousands...millions, even) massively increased for all airlines the process has, of course, become much slower.

Did you request a voucher or did Iberia automatically send you one? If the latter, did you actively request a refund before or after the voucher was sent?

If you have not actively requested a voucher imo it's very likely that, as you haven't contacted Iberia about a refund, they've sent one anyway to ensure they are functioning within EU law.

>under European consumer law, they should have offered the option of a refund, but they didn't.

They can also offer re-routing on an alternative date.

The Covid pandemic may well have been classed as 'extraordinary circumstances', when normal laws and procedures aren't automatically applicable...which, to be fair, it most certainly is, just as the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption was.. The pandemic was recognised as potentially causing difficulties for EU airlines very early on and special EU passenger rights guidelines were issued in mid-March:

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/legislation/c20201830.pdf

> I expect the Iberia voucher will not be valid.

It might be worth exploring whether an Iberia voucher will be accepted by one of its partners?

https://www.iberia.com/gb/our-alliances/codeshare/

>Anyone got any advice if they refuse to give a refund?

Iberia state on their site that if you want a refund you should contact their customer services:

https://www.iberia.com/gb/faqs/customer-sevices/#anclaES_otras_consultas

If they flatly refuse to give a refund (unlikely if you booked with Iberia, imo, though you'll have to be patient)...and assuming you booked direct with the airline and not via a third party....you can complete and send the Air Passenger Rights EU Complaint form below and/or pursue the matter via your credit card provider(assuming you paid by cc) :

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/themes/passengers/air/doc/complain_form/eu_complaint_form_en.pdf

If you booked via a third party you'll have to pursue the matter with them and/or your cc provider.

Be patient: all EU (and other) airlines are processing hundreds of thousands of refund and voucher claims, usually with greatly reduced staff numbers. Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Oct-2020, 20:03 GMT by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1669 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

We had to cancel a trip and Air France gave us a voucher good for 18 months. It states on the voucher if we don't use it within that time, we can get a full refund. We fully plan to use it but it's nice to know the refund is available.

In your shoes, I'd check partner airlines first. If the voucher will get you home, that would be easiest. Otherwise you'll need to call them and try to get a refund.

Good luck.

4. Posted by nzhamsta (Respected Member 225 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

We had four different airlines for our trip to Europe and back, all booked through Expedia.

1. Qatar refunded straight away. :)
2. China Airlines refunded via Expedia after a bit of chasing. :) as I have the money.
3. Aeroflot gave me vouchers that are valid for three years, no refund available, same name as original, any routing, flights only. :) as we can use them on any route they fly, bookable through their website.
4. Air NZ gave me vouchers after chasing Expedia. Same name as original, same routing (annoying as would rather use for flights around NZ), valid for one year, must book through Expedia. :( due to restrictions.

So, a mixed bag of results. Still trying to get a couple of hotel refunds.

5. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1337 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I had a British Airways flight booked to Chicago in September (booked directly with them). I knew I wouldn't be able to travel but I held off from cancelling as I was hoping they would cancel the flight, which they did. They offered me vouchers to be used by the end of 2021 which I accepted, as I hope (???) to be able to take the trip next September instead. The voucher was very easy to apply for - a simple form and it was emailed to me the next day. I was also offered the option, which by EU law they had to offer, of a refund but to get that was much more hassle - I'm sure deliberately on their part. At the time I was happy with the voucher because I assumed I'd be able to use it within the time limit, but if I can't, which now seems possible, I'll be annoyed with myself that I didn't take the trouble to pursue a refund.

6. Posted by ro2124 (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all the different advice.
Does seem to be a mixed bag depending on airlines. Well with Iberia I was just given the voucher via Email, never an option for refund.
Thing is the voucher is only valid until December if I recall.
And the way it's going with flights, there are none with Iberia anyway, they said "maybe November".
So no guarantee I'll be able to use this voucher.
In which Case I hope they will be obliged to refund.

Another thing occured to me if there should be a flight and the ticket is more than the voucher, will I have to pay the extra?
Or are they obliged to honour the original return part of ticket. As I did have return ticket, don't see why I should have to pay more to return.

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1669 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting ro2124

Thanks for all the different advice.
Does seem to be a mixed bag depending on airlines. Well with Iberia I was just given the voucher via Email, never an option for refund.
Thing is the voucher is only valid until December if I recall.
And the way it's going with flights, there are none with Iberia anyway, they said "maybe November".
So no guarantee I'll be able to use this voucher.
In which Case I hope they will be obliged to refund.

Another thing occured to me if there should be a flight and the ticket is more than the voucher, will I have to pay the extra?
Or are they obliged to honour the original return part of ticket. As I did have return ticket, don't see why I should have to pay more to return.

On my voucher it specifically says that if the flight I choose costs more that I have to pay the difference. You might want to read the fine print on your voucher. It usually has useful information even if it's boring to read. Mine also said that if I didn't use the voucher by a certain date, that I could apply for a full refund. Also, check the airline web site for more options.

Good luck.

8. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1622 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>with Iberia I was just given the voucher via Email, never an option for refund.

To be fair, on their website Iberia do clearly state: >If you prefer to request alternative change or refund options, please contact your travel agency or call Iberia customer services.<

https://www.iberia.com/es/en/covid-19/flight-flexibility/

Have you contacted Iberia directly about a refund? If not I suggest you do so either by by phone (I appreciate that it may not be so easy from Brazil), by email:

https://contacto.iberia.com/?

or on Twitter or FB. Details on this page:

https://www.iberia.com/gb/faqs/customer-sevices/#anclaES_otras_consultas

> if there should be a flight and the ticket is more than the voucher, will I have to pay the extra?

As far as I'm aware, if the fare costs more you will have to pay the extra. That is common practice with all airlines.

>Or are they obliged to honour the original return part of ticket. As I did have return ticket, don't see why I should have to pay more to return.

They were unable to honour the return part of the ticket because of 'extraordinary circumstances'. They have honoured their obligations by giving you a voucher for that part of the flight. Any flight you now choose to take is not part of the original contract and thus they are within their rights to charge you any additional cost. It may not seem fair to you but you are one of hundreds of thousands of travellers...millions, probably...in the same situation. Airlines are struggling to survive and it is as it is.

9. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1622 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>(I appreciate that it may not be so easy from Brazil)

should obviously be

>I appreciate that it may not be so easy from Colombia.

My apologies. I had a brain blip related to another post. :-/