Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 138.
Marc Angel (S&D), Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), Biljana Borzan (S&D), Adriana Maldonado López (S&D), Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D), Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques (S&D), Clara Aguilera (S&D), Andreas Schieder (S&D), Brando Benifei (S&D), Christel Schaldemose (S&D).
Subject: Pandemic related disruptions of airline tickets bought via OTA
In its Recommendation 2020/6481 launched on the 13th May 2020, the European Commission tackled several questions of the reimbursement for cancelled transport services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We think that this step was necessary, even if still until now several passengers’ tickets have not been refunded or dealt within the deadline.
At the same time, we also experience that passengers who bought their tickets via Online Travel Agents (OTA) are still facing even more burdens than other passengers. Airlines are not allowed to directly deal with the mentioned passengers and OTAs are not always offering the same options for travellers as the airlines (e.g. re-routing with same open conditions; same timeframe for decision making; same reimbursement conditions etc.). Unfortunately, it also happens that even when a traveller is aware of cancellation via the airline’s official channels, still unable to make changes before the official communication of the OTA.
1) Does the Commission intend to launch a Recommendation on such irregularities caused by the pandemic and related to tickets bought via OTAs?
2) How would the Commission like to grant equal treatment for pandemic related cancellations for passengers, regardless of the channel they bought their tickets?