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Forum for airline passengers

Dutch government breaks law

KLM cabinOn April 21, 2020, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad publishes an interview with Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for transport. The newspaper asks her opinion about the Dutch government’s infringement of EU regulation 261/2004 concerning airline passengers’ rights. That is a relevant question, for the Dutch minister van Nieuwenhuizen tolerates that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is breaking the regulation. Although the carrier has canceled flights, it refuses to pay refunds to passengers. Rather, it offers passengers only vouchers.

Refund or vouchers

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Masks in the cabin

Pessengers packed like sardinesCurrently, carriers don’t treat their customers like cargo because they cannot fill all seats in their aircraft. Rather, they are now able to treat passengers like human beings. However, this doesn’t include providing sufficient legroom because that would require a larger pitch (the distance between rows). But airlines can now block middle seats. Even so, the distance between passengers in a window and an aisle seat is less than 6 feet. Therefore, it may make sense they would require customers to wear masks.
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Preferential treatment of US customers

  Full refund?For US customers KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has considerably more favorable rebook and cancelation policies than for other customers. The carrier offers US customers who saw their flights canceled not only a travel voucher. Alternatively, they can now get a full refund in cash if one of the following conditions applies. KLM has canceled the flight or delayed it by more than 3 hours. What’s more, US customers can apply for the refund online.

Travel voucher

Other customers can only apply for a travel voucher, which comes...
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Social distancing in the air

No legroomOver time airlines have reduced the seat size and passenger’s personal space in the cabin. At the same time passengers continued to grow, in particular in the USA. Carriers are free to reduce the seat size and the pitch (the distance between rows). But it is remarkable that the conditions for animals transported in the hold are much more regulated.

Personal space

However, several carriers including Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines have announced they will block middle seats in their aircraft. This will create a much needed...
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You decide: refund or voucher

CancelationsMost airlines’ websites are not very helpful to passengers if a carrier cancels a flight. They have removed the possibility to apply online for a refund. Thus, you need either to call them or send an email. But it is often impossible to find an email address that you can use for a refund request.

Where is the phone number?

Many readers tell us that insofar they can find a phone number they cannot or hardly reach an airline agent by phone. A waiting time of 1-2 hours seems not uncommon. A reader writes...
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Russian aid for USA

Aid from Russian delivered in New YorkOn April 1, 2020, a Russian military transport plane with aid supplies lands at New York's John F. Kennedy airport. The date may let you think it’s a joke, but it is serious. Russia delivers aid to the USA in the form of medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment. Only a short while ago the USA was a great country leading the world. But after 3.5 years with Donald Duck Trump in the White House the country needs aid from Russia. An...
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