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By far the most questions and complaints from air passengers were related to flight cancellations (61%).

The European Consumer Center (ECC) looks back on record crowds in the summer period. In the summer months of this year, the consumer organization received 63 percent more requests for help from Dutch air passengers than in the same period last year.

By far the most questions and complaints from air passengers were related to flight cancellations (61%). After this, delays caused the most problems for air passengers (11%). The share of baggage problems is admittedly a slightly smaller share of the total (7%), but the ECC received six times as many requests for this as last year.

“The summer of 2022 was dominated by the many canceled flights, the problems at Schiphol and poorly accessible travel agents. Travelers contact us when they can't figure it out on their own. In daily practice we see that passengers are often poorly informed. We also hear many stories of claims that are not heard or have been wrongly rejected. The ECC then mediates and helps victims to obtain justice.”

The most common complaint is still that passengers have been waiting for months for a response from the airline to their refund request. Companies do not adhere to the 7-day refund period. Airlines also often refer passengers who have booked via a booking website back to this party. Although passengers may choose to settle the matter with the intermediary, this is not necessary. Airlines are required to process claims submitted directly to them.

Most rejected claims are related to cancellations where no alternative flight option is offered. In that case, passengers may book a new flight themselves and request a refund of the price difference, but these requests are often wrongly rejected, according to the ECC. The ECC also sees cases in which requests for compensation are rejected with insufficient substantiation. Airlines invoke force majeure without explaining the specific situation or in cases where it is doubtful whether force majeure exists.

The European Consumer Center

The European Consumer Center provides free legal advice on consumer and passenger rights in the EU. Consumers who have lost contact with a company in another EU country can turn to the ECC for free legal mediation. If mediation does not help either, the ECC advises consumers on how to initiate legal proceedings. In the Netherlands, the ECC is housed at the Juridisch Loket.