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By | Category: Travel rumblings
Lufthansa which, it is claimed, should owe passengers £460 million

Lufthansa which, it is claimed, should owe passengers £460 million

A report today from the Irish orgainsation, Airtaxback, claims that passengers haven’t claimed back over £3.4 million of their own money back from airlines. In effect, passengers are giving a present to the airlines of this money. Why? Because when they don’t fly they are entitled to certain taxes and fees back.

The figure is an estimate by Airtaxback and they have broken down this figure by airline. Air France, they think, is holding on to £473 million, Lufthansa – £460 million, IAG ( the parent company of British Airways and Iberia) £406 million, Ryanair – £374 million, easyJet – £282 million and Flybe, £34 million.

These charges represent money collected by the airlines in advance for TFCs which are only incurred if passengers actually fly. If they don’t, the money paid over therefore belongs to the passenger by law. While most passengers will accept that the flight portion of their fare will be lost to them if they cancel, they are legally entitled to a refund for the costs which haven’t been incurred by the airline.

Consumer law in the EU and Commonwealth is clear that when a transaction is paid for and later is not executed, the original cost of the good or service may or may not be returned, depending on the specific terms of the contract, but the consumer is always entitled to a return of the taxes and related charges associated with the sale.

However most airlines charge an administration fee to issue the refund and quote often, the admin fee eats up entirely the refund. If you are on a European flight, the chance is that it isn’t worth the hassle. However, if you travel further afield, check how much the tax is and see if it is greater than the admin fee.

According to Airtaxback’s founder and CEO, Brian Whelan, airlines have been having it their own way for too long and legislators and state-sponsored consumer support groups have consistently turned a blind eye.

“He added, “If politicians or consumer protection agencies aren’t outraged by airlines’ practices in this regard, they should be.  We are outraged, but rather than wasting our energies trying to stir officials out of their slumber, we urge consumers to join us in our battle to pressure the airlines to do the right thing.

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