We received the following reader’s question.
I booked a flight on KLM, but when I searched their website I could not find my payment receipt. I got a ticket showing only the booking class code, not whether it was economy or business. In addition, it does not show the total amount paid as the (outrageous) €20 credit card fee is lacking.
I asked KLM to send me an invoice so that I can get my expenses reimbursed. KLM's response was: “You ask for an invoice for your ticket. Regrettably, I cannot send it. KLM does not issue invoices because no value added tax is levied on tickets.”
I am forwarding KLM’s email. Are they right or wrong?
Airlines Passenger Guru’s response:
Obviously, business passengers are better off with airlines that offer the possibility to download their payment receipts from their websites, often until 30 days or so after the flight.
The statement that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines cannot issue an invoice because no value added tax (VAT) is imposed on tickets may suggest that the agent is ignorant or the administration is inadequate. But it may also be a convenient lie to fob you off.
Carriers – not only KLM - lie to their customers on a regular basis. For example, they tell passengers requesting the statutory compensation for flight cancelations or delays that they are not entitled to any compensation.
EU regulation 261/2004 gives passengers the right of compensation unless the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Ample jurisprudence shows that mechanical issues do not qualify as extraordinary circumstances. Nonetheless, many airlines cite these issues as a reason to deny compensation. Or they simply lie about the cause of the delay.
In this case KLM’s statement that it cannot issue invoices because no VAT is imposed on tickets is rubbish. Think about exports. If the statement would be true, exporters could not issue invoices to their customers because exported goods are exempt of VAT. KLM’s statement is absurd and shows disdain, in particular for business customers.