Air Berlin is at it again permanently cancelling more longhaul flights and this time they axed all long haul routes to the Caribbean from September 25th onward but only providing refunds for recently (post August 15th) purchased tickets.
A few days ago I wrote about talk going around internally that Air Berlin would actually cancel ALL long haul flight from the 24th (see here) and while this hasn’t been confirmed so far the first wave is now including all Caribbean flights as per their Facebook page:
The text speaks for itself, anyone who has booked a standalone ticket prior to August 15th 2017 (before the insolvency filing) will not receive any refund whatsoever from Air Berlin. Affected passengers now have to explore a variety of options.
- If passengers paid with a credit card they should contact their bank and initiate a charge back based on service/product not received and submit evidence as required by the financial institution.
- Passengers who booked a holiday package in Germany are usually protected against an airline insolvency through a mandatory insurance the travel provider has to supply (Reisepreissicherungsschein).
- Should there be any travel insurance purchased in conjunction with a standalone flight I recommend to go through the paperwork and contact the insurance underwriter to see what can be done.
If the insurance doesn’t cover insolvency maybe since the flights are going to the Caribbean affected customers could explore the angle if their travel destinations is affected by the current hurricanes.
Who will be be out of luck (out of money)?
Customers who paid cash, via other means popular in Germany such as the popular direct bank account debit (Bankeinzug) or similar methods of payments that are not credit cards will find themselves empty handed and there is very little to no recourse for that.
This is a reminder to always pay standalone flights via Credit Card and no other payment methods under any circumstances. It’s very easy to obtain a credit card (usually debit and prepaid cards are not covered either) or you can always ask around if someone has a credit card to use and you pay the person back in cash. Or buy insurance that would cover all aspects including insolvency. Especially with airlines that have been in limbo for a long time such as Air Berlin, Alitalia and other ‘dead men walking’ so to speak.
I don’t like the way Air Berlin is communication this. Can’t they publish an official notice on their website before posting it on Facebook? There is simply zero trust anymore and even though the airline continues to sell tickets passengers shouldn’t even touch the airline with a stick and book another carrier.