In October of last year, 650,000 Lufthansa customers were waiting for the reimbursement of canceled flight tickets, and in November around 500,000 customers. Because the airline could not keep up with the reimbursement of canceled flight tickets for months, it sued the consumer advice center in Baden-Württemberg, but also the airline passenger rights portal Flightright.
The accusation: Lufthansa did not inform its customers about their rights, withheld the right to quick reimbursement and did not repay the flight price within seven days.
But Lufthansa was not the only airline to draw attention to itself last year with late or no ticket refunds. Ryanair, Easyjet and Eurowings were also included. To date, around 75,000 passengers have turned to Flightright. The company sued the airlines for the rights of passengers and received a commission for this. In addition to Lufthansa, the company also brought several lawsuits against other airlines in court, for example against Ryanair. Some then reimbursed the ticket prices, but not all airlines paid back the money for canceled flights.
Airlines’ willingness to pay has changed since last year
Since April 20, 2020, a ticket reimbursement monitor from Flightright has been showing how the willingness to pay of 15 European airlines has changed over the course of the individual weeks. Alexander Weishaupt, Flightright’s legal expert, explains that it is an indicator of which airlines are behaving in a consumer-hostile manner.
The basis of the monitor is formed by all claims submitted by the aviation law portal. In addition, a percentage is recorded for each airline, which indicates how many of the submitted ticket requests have already been paid by the respective airline.
EasyJet has already responded to 92 percent of the payment requests
While all airlines showed little or no willingness to pay in the first few weeks of the monitor, the behavior of individual airlines, such as that of EasyJet and Singapore Airlines, changed after a while: The decisive factor sometimes seemed to be that Flightright and other similar portals against airlines such as Lufthansa or Ryanair sued.
In the meantime, these differences between airlines and their willingness to pay have only increased. EasyJet responded most frequently to requests for payment and responded to 92 percent of all requests for payment. In the ranking it is shortly followed by Eurowings, the Lufthansa subsidiary.
Although the parent company ranks 9th out of 15 places, Eurowings rose over the past six months. In spring 2020, the subsidiary did not reimburse any flights that were canceled due to Corona, now the airline has already responded to requests for payment in 87 percent of cases.
TAP Portugal has so far only responded to demands in 22 percent of cases
Other airlines, however, still refuse to refund the ticket prices. As it became clear at the beginning of the crisis, Ryanair in particular wanted to avoid repayments. At the end of June, the airline had only reimbursed one percent of the ticket costs. Even half a year later, passengers only got their money back in 43 percent of cases.
British Airways is similarly hostile to consumers and has so far only refunded the ticket price in 24 percent of cases. According to Flightright, the airline only complied with some requests for payment after the aviation rights portal threatened foreclosure.
The Portuguese airline TAP Portugal, which to date has only paid back ticket prices in 22 percent of cases, remains at the bottom.