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Airlines should refund passengers directly, Dutch court rules

Thursday, October 28, 2021

In the case against Iberia, a court in Amsterdam has ruled that airlines, not travel agencies, are responsible for making sure passengers get refunded for cancelled flights.

Six passengers had their Iberia flights cancelled in early 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Iberia issued refunds — but instead of sending the money directly to the passengers, they sent it to Schipholtickets.nl, a Dutch online travel agency via which the passengers purchased their Iberia tickets. Until today, the agency has not yet paid out the refunds to the customers.

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Now, the Dutch court has ruled that Iberia is the party responsible for making sure that passengers are paid out their cancelled flight refunds. As popular Dutch newspaper NRC reports, the airline will now have to issue the refunds again, this time directly to the passengers.

The ruling might have a significant impact on similar cases both in the Netherlands and across the European Union. For example, KLM has paid out numerous cancelled flight refunds to a now-bankrupt travel agency D-Reizen, leaving passengers without their money. If the Iberia ruling will be applied also to the KLM case, the Dutch flag carrier will have to pay out millions of euros for the second time.

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