With quite adventurous reasons, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group deactivated the automatic reimbursement function shortly after the start of the corona pandemic in Europe. This both on the homepage and in GDS systems. Apparently there was speculation on a voucher solution, but the EU Commission rejected this idea.
The result is that hundreds of thousands of ticket holders are still waiting for their flight tickets to be reimbursed. The group's airlines have repeatedly assured that they want to work off the backlog by the end of July to the end of August 2020, but travel agencies and affected ticket holders have given different information. So one continues to try to sell “compulsory vouchers”.
The group member Swiss is now announcing that on July 27, 2020 the automated ticket reimbursement will be put back into operation in all reservation systems for travel agencies. "With the reactivation of automated reimbursements, we will be able to further increase the speed of payments," says Tamur Goudarzi Pour, CCO of Swiss. The mechanisms to protect against abuse have also been adapted. The carrier assumes that the waiting times for new reimbursement applications will now be considerably shorter. All claims submitted by the end of June 2020 are to be paid out by the end of August 2020.
Actually, airlines are legally obliged to reimburse tickets whose flights have been canceled within one week. In the beginning, many airlines - but not Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines - still adhered to this, but then also low-cost carriers such as Ryanair deactivated the automatic functions and have since been sending affected customers into long waiting loops. Officially, it is said that the volume would be far too large and that everything could not be processed so quickly, but due to the fact that the automatic systems were deliberately deactivated, consumer advocates express the suspicion that the measure served to secure liquidity at the expense of the customers.