In the context of the corona pandemic, the European Consumer Organization BEUC has now called national consumer protection authorities and the European Commission to investigate the travel industry for unfair commercial practices and violation of the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation.
The reported airlines Aegean, Air France, EasyJet, KLM, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP Portugal and Transavia rank highest in terms of consumer complaints during the pandemic.
The three most-complained about practices are:
- forcing consumers to accept vouchers instead of monetary refunds for cancelled flights,
- failing to provide information to consumers on their rights to reimbursement and
- hiding or providing incorrect or misleading information to consumers on their rights.
Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, commented: "Strong enforcement measures by national authorities against airlines are overdue, to ensure that passenger rights are respected also in times of crisis. The sheer volume of consumer complaints about airlines throughout Europe since the start of the pandemic clearly demonstrates the widespread character of the infringements. That is why we want to see a thorough, industry-wide investigation into these practices. The recurrent problems faced by travelers also highlights the urgent need for improvement of the enforcement of air passenger rights and changes to airlines' business models."