Departamento de Transporte de USA: las aerolíneas deben hacer reembolsos por vuelos cancelados, nada de voucher o cosas raras
En el blog hemos tratado el tema de los vuelos cancelados por las aerolíneas por cuestiones relacionadas a la pandemia de Coronavirus COVID-19. Específicamente decíamos que las aerolíneas deben realizar reembolsos si así el pasajero lo requiere, reembolsos sin chistar.
Hoy el Departamento de Transporte de USA se acaba de expedir sobre el particular y comunicó lo siguiente:
«Las aerolíneas no se tienen que hacer las piolas, si cancelaron vuelos o tuvieron demoras significativas tienen que devolver la plata y rapidito, nada de vouchers, créditos ni cosas raras. Reembolsos, señores, REEMBOLSOS.
Esto de devolver la plata corresponde incluso ante a la crisis del COVID-19, la pandemia no los exime de realizar los reembolsos.
Y nada de hacerse los giles, los vamos a estar controlando. OJITO.»
Bueno, quizás esa no sea la traducción exacta, pero resume el comunicado emitido por la The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Aviation Enforcement Office) que transcribimos a continuación:
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Aviation Enforcement Office), a unit within the Office of the General Counsel, is issuing this notice to remind the traveling public, and U.S. and foreign carriers, operating at least one aircraft having a seating capacity of 30 or more seats, that passengers should be refunded promptly when their scheduled flights are cancelled or significantly delayed. Airlines have long provided such refunds, including during periods when air travel has been disrupted on a large scale, such as the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and presidentially declared natural disasters. Although the COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on air travel, the airlines’ obligation to refund passengers for cancelled or significantly delayed flights remains unchanged.
The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were cancelled or significantly delayed. In many of these cases, the passengers stated that the carrier informed them that they would receive vouchers or credits for future travel. But many airlines are dramatically reducing their travel schedules in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency. As a result, passengers are left with cancelled or significantly delayed flights and vouchers and credits for future travel that are not readily usable.
Carriers have a longstanding obligation to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger when the carrier cancels the passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight schedule and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.1 The longstanding obligation of carriers to provide refunds for flights that carriers cancel or significantly delay does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).2 The focus is not on whether the flight disruptions are within or outside the carrier’s control, but rather on the fact that the cancellation is through no fault of the passenger. 3 Accordingly, the Department continues to view any contract of carriage provision or airline policy that purports to deny refunds to passengers when the carrier cancels a flight, makes a significant schedule change, or significantly delays a flight to be a violation of the carriers’ obligation that could subject the carrier to an enforcement action
In recognition of the fact that the COVID-19 public health emergency has had major impacts on the airline industry, the Aviation Enforcement Office will exercise its prosecutorial discretion and provide carriers an opportunity to become compliant before taking further action. Specifically, the Aviation Enforcement Office will refrain from pursuing an enforcement action against a carrier that provided passengers vouchers for future travel in lieu of refunds for cancelled or significantly delayed flights during the COVID-19 public health emergency so long as: (1) the carrier contacts, in
a timely manner, the passengers provided vouchers for flights that the carrier cancelled or significantly delayed to notify those passengers that they have the option of a refund; (2) the carrier updates its refund policies and contract of carriage provisions to make clear that it provides refunds to passengers if the carrier cancels a flight or makes a significant schedule change; and (3) the carrier reviews with its personnel, including reservationists, ticket counter agents, refund personnel,
and other customer service professionals, the circumstances under which refunds should be made.
The Aviation Enforcement Office will monitor airline policies and practices and take enforcement
action as necessary.
Questions regarding this notice may be addressed to the Office of Aviation Enforcement and
Proceedings (C-70), U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington,
Blane A. Workie
Assistant General Counsel for
Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings
Dated: April 3, 2020
Aquí les dejamos el link a la versión oficial: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2020-04/Enforcement%20Notice%20Final%20April%203%202020.pdf
Agradecemos a @puntosglobales por hacernos llegar esta info 🙂