Потрібна юридична консультація? Наш юрист надасть її безкоштовно

First quarantine, then war. The airline refunded money for twice unused tickets

Publication date: December 12, 2023

The story of almost losing money on tickets for twice-cancelled flights lasted more than three years and was resolved in less than two weeks. Thanks to the legal assistance of lawyers from the Chervonohrad NGO Youth Initiative Center, a resident of Lviv oblast received a full refund in her bank account.

Oksana from Chervonohrad (Lviv oblast) contacted the Youth Initiative Center to help get her money back for plane tickets.

Andrii Mytsak, lawyer at the NGO “Youth Initiative Center”.

During the consultation provided by the organization’s lawyer, Andrii Mytsak, the woman said that in June 2020, she was supposed to fly to Israel on a cancelled flight due to the COVID-19 quarantine. The airline then offered Oksana the option to transfer the total amount of the airfare to the bonus account of her account on the airline’s website and, if necessary, to buy new tickets with these bonuses without an expiration date.

In May 2021, the woman took advantage of this offer and bought tickets for a flight from abroad to Ukraine in the winter of 2022. However, due to the introduction of martial law in our country in February 2022, the flight was canceled again.

Since the carrier stopped transportation, Oksana could return home on another airline.

At the same time, the money for the twice unused tickets remained in the account of the defunct airline. Oksana emailed the airline to request a refund to her personal bank account. However, she received a reply stating that the funds credited to the bonus account could not be withdrawn to a card account.

She did not want to lose a significant amount of money, so she contacted the Youth Initiative Center for legal assistance.

After familiarizing himself with the situation, Andriy Mitsak prepared a written claim to the airline for a refund.

A week after receiving the claim, the airline sent a letter requesting a certified copy of the client’s passport and tickets. Soon after, the money was returned to Oksana’s bank account.

The legal framework that guided the lawyer

I. Article 104 of the Air Code of Ukraine

  1. Suppose the air carrier reasonably expects that passengers will be denied boarding. In that case, it must survey to identify passengers willing to cancel their confirmed reservation in exchange for a remuneration agreed between the passenger who voluntarily refuses to board the flight and the carrier.
  2. In addition to paying remuneration, the air carrier is obliged to offer the passenger a choice of:
  • a refund within seven days, which must be paid in cash, electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank checks or, with the passenger’s written consent, in the form of traveler’s checks, the total cost of the ticket at the price at which it was purchased, for the unused part of the ticket and for the used part or parts of the ticket if the flight no longer meets the passenger’s needs, and, if necessary, to provide a return flight to the original point of departure at the earliest opportunity;
  • change of route, which is carried out under appropriate transport conditions: to the final destination at the earliest possible time or at a later time at the passenger’s request and subject to availability of seats.
  1. Transportation of the passenger from the airport where the denial of transportation occurred to the airport from which the alternative route proposed by the carrier begins and from the airport of alternative landing to the airport where the passenger was supposed to arrive on the flight for which they were denied transportation, is carried out at the expense of the carrier.
  2. If no passengers would like to refuse to travel on this flight or their number is insufficient, the carrier has the right to refuse to transport the passenger against their will.
  3. If passengers are denied transportation against their will, the carrier must pay them compensation in the following amounts:
  • 250 euros – for flights up to 1500 kilometers;
  • 400 euros – for flights from 1500 to 3500 kilometers;
  • EUR 600 for flights over 3500 kilometers.

When determining the distance, the last point is taken as the basis, where the refusal of transportation or non-performance of a previously scheduled flight for which at least one seat is booked will delay the arrival of passengers at the scheduled time.

6. The carrier has the right to reduce the amount of compensation specified in part five of this article by 50 percent if the passenger is offered to replace the route of transportation to their destination with alternative flights whose arrival time does not exceed the scheduled time:

  • two hours – for flights up to 1500 kilometers;
  • three hours – for flights with a range of 1500 to 3500 kilometers;
  • four hours – for flights not specified in paragraphs two and three of this part.

The distances indicated in this part of this article are measured using the orthodromic route distance method.

7. Payment of compensation does not relieve the carrier of the obligation to offer the passenger a choice of services and reimbursement of expenses provided for in part two of this article and part five of article 105 of this Code.

II. Order of the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine dated 26.11.2018 No. 1239 “On Approval of the Aviation Rules of Ukraine “Rules of Air Transportation and Passenger and Baggage Services”.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The publication’s content is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network.

P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.

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