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Entitled to a refund now?

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Steve from LA, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Steve from LA

    Steve from LA Member

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    I was playing the waiting game with Condor and I think they just blinked. Pre-coronavirus, I booked a business class trip from Vegas to Frankfurt and then back to Seattle. The flights were non-stop coming and going. Condor has apparently cancelled the Vegas to Frankfurt flight. They are attempting to rebook me on a flight from Vegas to Seattle and then onward to Frankfurt. There is slightly less than a 4 hour lay over in Seattle.

    I have no desire to travel right now. Based on the change am I entitled to a refund? If so, does anyone know an EU or Fed rule I can cite to? Finally, I purchased the ticket through the Chase portal. Should I try cancelling through them? Or straight through condor?
     
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  2. Ben Holz

    Ben Holz Active Member

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    EU261 is the regulation under which you would be protected. According to that site you would only be entitled to compensation if the airline informed you only 14 days or less prior to departure:
    "Cancellation occurs when your original flight schedule is abandoned and you are transferred to another scheduled flight...If your flight is cancelled you have the right to reimbursement, re-routing or return, as well as the right to assistance and a right to compensation. Compensation is due if you were informed less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date...However, compensation is not due if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances"

    That being said, the European Commission published some interpretative guidelines on passengers rights in light of COVID-19. These guidelines state that the current situation may be considered extraordinary, which simultaneously gives airlines the upper hand.

    If you are less than two weeks away from "departure", you might want to try your luck getting in touch with Condor, but I wouldn't have high hopes. At this point I would either rebook (AFAIK Condor waived rebooking fees) or opt for the voucher.

    Good luck!

    Edit: I was reading the updated guidelines more closely and it seems that you may actually have a chance to get a refund– "This situation [passenger not wanting to travel] has to be distinguished from the situation where the carrier cancels the journey and offers only a voucher instead of the choice between reimbursement and rerouting. If the carrier proposes a voucher, this offer cannot affect the passenger’s right to opt for reimbursement instead."
     
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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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  3. Steve from LA

    Steve from LA Member

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    Thanks Ben. Much appreciated.
     
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  4. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike New Member

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    I think you'll find that EC 261 distinguishes between reimbursement and compensation. If the airline cancels you get reimbursement of your fare (if that's what you want). Under certain circumstances you also get compensation, which doesn't apply in the case of coronavirus cancellations because the EU has determined that the circumstances are extraordinary. But you are entitled to reimbursement as soon as your flight is cancelled.
     
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  5. Steve from LA

    Steve from LA Member

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    Thanks. At this point, I am just praying for reimbursement. I have no illusion of getting any additional compensation. A voucher would be the worst of all worlds. How much is a voucher worth if it is issued by an airline whose parent company went bankrupt, who was saved by a German government bailout, who was left standing at the alter by a Polish company that thought about buying it and then was bailed out by the German government again? The odd part is I actually have travel insurance that covers the trip if Condor goes bankrupt. Hate to root for that, but I have spent several hours on hold trying to get through to them and several more hours on hold with the Chase Travel line while they tried to get a hold of Condor.
     
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  6. Steve from LA

    Steve from LA Member

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    UPDATE - Called Chase on Sunday afternoon and got nowhere with the lady. She told me she had to contact Condor and they were closed. She told me to call back on Monday at 9 am. I asked her if that was 9 am my time (Pacific Coast), 9 am Condor time (Germany) or 9 am her time (my guess was India, but I could totally be wrong). She did not seem to understand what I was talking about. It was a wasted 45 minutes.

    Called back on Monday at 9:45 am. I spent 2.5 hours on the phone with the Chase Travel people this time. I got a very pleasant gentleman who was on Mountain Central Time. He put me on hold while he tried to contact Condor about options. It took the Chase gentleman about an hour to get through to someone live at Condor the first time and the Condor representative gave him a bogus number to call. After trying the bogus number, he called Condor back. It again took him about an hour to get through to someone live Condor. This time the Condor representative gave him an entirely different bogus number to call. After confirming it was a second bogus number, the Chase guy took the matter to his supervisors. After about 20 minutes of additional back and forth with them, Chase cancelled the flight and refunded my points immediately. The cash portion of the ticket should be refunded within 3 weeks. SCORE! It sucked being on hold for so long, but I think Condor pissed off the Chase guy so much he went out of his way to help me.
     
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