Airlines should rethink their refusal to refund passengers during COVID-19

The problem is getting massive.
Denys KhmarskyiJuly 14, 2020

Despite continued pressure from passenger advocates, close scrutiny by the media, and strong demands from passengers, airlines remain largely unchanged in refusing to pay monetary compensation.

The airline immediately focused on financial survival, arguing that returning money to passengers could lead to financial disaster.

This response is perplexing and unfair to passengers and passenger advocates, who have organized a high-profile social media campaign, class actions, and petitions. However, the pressure seems useless as passengers continue to struggle for a refund. Do you need money to pay your mortgage? Do you need to buy food? Excuse me, they say they need your money to survive.

Many countries are just closed because of the COVID-19 quarantine. They are not going to refund the money or reschedule flights. The problem is getting massive.

People have no choice.

Ryanair and Wizzair cover a large part of the market, providing consumers with a limited choice.

Airlines see the future as an opportunity for further success. According to the aviation industry, they expect to double the number of air passengers in the world over the next two decades.

While the COVID-19 crisis is likely to affect this forecast, airlines expect to recover to pre-condemic levels in two years and benefit from growth in the future.

Passengers experiencing financial difficulties feel compelled to provide interest-free loans to help airlines survive the pandemic. While business travelers are likely to be reimbursed for their flight costs, individual passengers are out of pocket.

Airlines need passengers’ trust and loyalty.

Passengers should know that they can give their money to airlines and hope that they will be safe on board. To recover, airlines will also need passenger loyalty. Although there is some understanding that passengers will use airlines for unavoidable journeys, their loyalty is likely to be affected.

Demonstration of customer care, empathy, and responsiveness can help create the goodwill that airlines will need to recover from the pandemic.

Read also U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Enforcement Notice Clarifying Air Carrier Refund Requirements, Given the Impact of COVID-19

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