Refund.me hopes clarifying this point will lead to greater transparency and expediency in processing claims. The company, which operates across Europe in six languages, is processing claims against more than 230 airlines.
“With the threshold rising for medium- and long-haul flights, fewer passengers will be eligible for compensation,” said Eve Buechner, Founder and Chief Executive. “But we are confident that this clear definition of extraordinary circumstances and our push to increase awareness of passenger rights will encourage more people to claim. Our legal experts are there to help passengers navigate the complicated rules.”
Another key element of the proposed revision is the deadline of two months for “the air carrier to provide a full answer to the passenger”. Having processed claims for customers in more than 100 countries, refund.me has seen airlines outright ignore valid claims, or delay the process with artificial red tape such as requiring documents to be faxed or sent by certified mail. Under the proposed revision, if an answer is not provided within two months, the claim would be deemed accepted by the airline.
“We are happy to see that our efforts defending passenger rights are paying off. Where last year there were talks of revising the Regulation to ease restrictions on airlines, this proposed revision by the European Commission closes a number of loopholes that are currently used by airlines, especially low-costs, to avoid paying their own passengers what they are owed,” Eve Buechner added.
In addition to better-defined rules on compensation and extraordinary circumstances, the proposed revision to EU Regulation EC 261/2004 includes provisions to correctly inform affected passengers, a two-hour limit on tarmac delays (similar to what is in force in the USA) and the obligation to allow passengers to carry essential belongings, including coats and handbags, and one bag of duty-free shopping on board in addition to their carry-on luggage. The revision also proposes better enforcement of compensation for delayed or damaged baggage.