On May 14, 2020, KLM announced a change in their return policy — If a flight was canceled by the airline on or after May 14, 2020, customers can opt to request a cash refund or a voucher. The biggest part of those who were affected have already receive their vouchers instead of money without giving their consent, which violates the law Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. Most flights had been previously canceled, but now Europe is gradually opening its borders and mass cancellations of flights are no longer happening.
KLM begins to understand that the PR department cannot solve the problem of an impending crisis of confidence — breaking the law will not be overlooked by the public anymore.
The solution is simple. KLM customers have gone through nine circles of hell and are unlikely to ever buy a ticket from them again. Their loyalty cannot be returned even with a refund. Realizing that, KLM has decided to assure its future customers that this situation would never happen again. If you ever plan to buy a ticket from KLM in the future, you can only hope that you will not become of us who are working hard to get our money back. It’s not at all nice to feel humiliated trying to convince them to respect the law.
And you can only hope that they do not change policies again...
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the borders of many countries remain closed, which have impeded air travel significantly. KLM has canceled many flights. Instead of refunding customers for these canceled flights, which is their policy, KLM has only offered vouchers for future flights. They are compensating for their losses by witholding their customer’s refunds while also receiving government bail outs.
Customers should not be used as interest-free banks, but rather should be given a full refund for services not rendered.
KLM is lying when they say you can only get a voucher and not a refund. The airline is also lying when they promise a refund in 60 days. They have no intention of returning your money. If anything, you will receive a voucher after those 60 days. Nothing they say seems to ever pan out, and yet they hide the real state of affairs behind posts of beautiful locations on social network.
Below you will find quotes from real letters from KLM.
Thank you for your email.
We do understand that this is a difficult situation for everyone but as my previous colleagues already mentioned before we do not give any refunds at the moment. Only vouchers will be offered with the full value of your ticket.
We will not respond to this email anymore unless you would like to make use of the voucher.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
This is management decision, and nothing else can be done, no refund can be granted from higher channels either.
In the case of a flight cancellation, the airline is obliged to give a full refund. You are not required to agree to receive a voucher or else suffer a complete loss of funds.Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights regulations
People all over the world are trying to navigate the refund process with KLM and finding little assistance from the airline. With so many people out of work and low on funds, receiving a refund is imperative. Frustrated and out of options, people have turned to making complaints on KLM websites and social media outlets only to find those complaints have been removed.
These tips do not guarantee you a refund. These are some steps that you can take in order to start the refund process.
Document everything. Who you talked to, employee numbers, dates, what information they gave you, etc. It’s pretty hard to reach KLM nowadays. In addition to the official private channels
Chances are that you’re going to be ignored or get the same roboreplies, but having a proof of contact is important for future claims.The template letter
If you payed with a debit or credit card, you can request a chargeback from your card provider or bank. It has worked out for some of us, didn’t for others, but it’s worth a shot, and since it can take a long time in some cases, it’s better to try your luck early on.
You might be requested to send proof that KLM refused a refund, and it can’t hurt your chances if you explain to the bank the exact legal basis of your claim.How do I use chargeback?
People and organizations worth contacting (the list is not complete, suggestions are welcome):
We are regular people, we don’t have the resources a huge corporation like KLM has, but we all have a voice — so let’s use it.
Join the group on Facebook so we can help each other and stay informed.
KLM owes me more than £3350. A voucher is of no use to me since the reason behind my initial travel has now passed and not required. I feel angry and frustrated, because I can’t get KLM to respond.
Dear KLM, why are you blatantly ignoring the law and not respecting your customers?
KLM owes me €3500. Money is not even the main problem. If we’d just been asked, we would have considered taking the vouchers out of national pride. But KLM is consistently lying and cheating, giving false information to consumers. To make it worse, our minister says in parliamentary questions that “we can always go to court” and she tries to kill European regulations through a back door.
Dear KLM, be honest with your customers. This takes the longest. I fear that many people will not forget this and the reputation damage will be enormous.
KLM owes me £7000. We had a group booking to Holland for a boys football tournament. I am devastated that I have taken parents hard earned money and now I can’t get it back. By law KLM should give a refund but are just refusing.
Dear KLM, your attitude and your total disregard for your customers’ circumstances at this difficult time is the very hard to accept. I just want you to refund what is owed, so that I can give it back to the families.
KLM owes me almost £1000. The hardest thing is dealing with the stress and inconvenience of contacting KLM whilst working flat out for the NHS (testing for Covid). I’m upset, this is a lot of money to me. Vouchers won’t pay my bills, my family’s financial situation has changed as a result of the crisis.
Dear KLM, your behaviour has been illegal and is incredibly inconsiderate to people who are already dealing with so much upset. Banks are for loans, not your customers.
KLM owes me €1500. I have cancer so I don’t have time to wait a year, I need this money for my daughter. I’m thinking about this all the time, I wrote everywhere, spent hours and hours on this. The worst is that the company’s saying they have more problems than me.
Dear Air France–KLM, I had trust in you, I couldn’t believe you would not respect the law. I’ll never trust governments and justice again. Big firms like you don’t care about people.
KLM owes me €2300. I don’t want a voucher, because I am not a bank, and because my money won’t have the same value in a year. Because if this would have happened to us, they wouldn’t give a damn about our problems. Because they have high paychecks and profits and help from states, and we don’t.
Dear Air France, if I have had my money back from the beginning, I would have used it on your company at first. But, because of that, I will prefer companies with honesty and customer care.
KLM owes me €225. KLM deliberately sold me tickets to already cancelled flights, taking advantage of my desperation to get home. Now they want to take away our rights retroactively. They are trying to profit from a horrible crisis, and disguise it as martyrdom — what an absolute disgrace.
Dear KLM, you are currently preying on the most vulnerable: the sick, stranded, and desperate. €225 is what I spend on food in 5-6 weeks, while your management still earns millions of euros a year. Do they get payed in vouchers, or is that only your customers’ privilege?
KLM owes me £920. I can’t use a voucher, because the cost has gone up, so it doesn’t get me to my destination anymore. It was hard getting answers. I was shocked because this was a company I had trusted.
Dear KLM, I used to fly with KLM for business as well as pleasure, but I will take my money elsewhere in the future.
KLM owes me £570+. This break was for my husband’s birthday in March. Now we don’t require to travel as it’s long passed, so a voucher is of no use to us. I can’t get a response from KLM, I feel let down.
Dear KLM, I wonder why we as customers are getting ignored?
KLM owes me €1000. am angry. It’s still not finished, so we have to keep fighting them everyday.
Dear KLM, do your job and refund everyone whose flight you decided to cancel. I have the right of get ALL my money back, and I need it to live in my current situation.
KLM owes me £2000. The refund would have been our lifeline. Due to the virus, my husband and son are not working. I feel devastated.
Dear KLM, please do the honourable thing, and refund your customers as EU law states. How could a company treat its customers with such disregard?
KLM owes me HUF 78900. I lost my job, I’d need my money now. I felt cheated, left alone. I am not a bank to give interest free loans for any length of time — it is not my business. And after experiencing KLM’s “customer support” I would never use this airline’s services again.
Dear KLM, airlines could not exist without their customers. It is time to respect their rights and do the MINIMUM for them in this “exceptional situation” that you use as an excuse in your messages. If I can live and behave according to regulations in this “exceptional situation”, airlines and decision makers have to be able to do that too. Let’s plan for the future, not only for today!
KLM owes me €687. A voucher is not enough because I don’t know if I will be able to fly within one year. Financially and healthwise! I feel betrayed and helpless, it’s very hard to get a personalized answer to my questions. This left me with frustration and headaches.
Dear KLM, why are you allowed to act against laws and regulations? Why don’t you try hard to get help from the state to pay back customers ticket? And most importantly what are you doing with the money you kept, when you didn’t fulfil any service?
KLM owes me CAN$1255. I doubt I’m the only one who purchased a flight while I still had a job. Without it now, that money could be food or another month of rent for me. Making ends meet is really hard under this stress. The airline is not the victim of this pandemic, yet they’re the ones being bailed out.
Dear KLM, the definition of integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness”. Learn it.
KLM owes me £1900. The money for the flight took over a year to save up, so that myself and my partner could visit a family member in Africa. This was the last time we could have spent out there with them. We are all going through a lot at the moment, and a voucher does not help me pay bills or do essential repairs on my home.
Dear KLM, do the right thing and stick to the laws, rather than lining your own pockets and those who can afford to throw money away. If you were in this situation, how would you feel? Saving companies and governments is not done through money, it’s done with reputation, humility, and action to benefit all that they represent.
KLM owes me €1462. I feel tricked and deceived, like I was the victim of a con artist. This big company just stomped all over me and the rights the EU has granted me with no consequences. KLM claims that the regulations were not written in anticipation of a pandemic, and therefore shouldn’t apply now. But I also didn’t buy my ticket in anticipation of a pandemic and not getting a refund.
Dear KLM, if the situation was reversed and I couldn’t take my flight, you wouldn’t blink twice to keep the fare of my non refundable ticket (nor would I expect you to). You are a company that’s here for profit, I’m just a person that was here for a service. I don’t get a share of your profits, so why should I cover your losses?
KLM owes me €687. KLM made my stomach turn. When I reminded them that they’d already promised to give me a full refund, and not a voucher, they simply told me I could sue them if I wanted to. I told them my rights, but they didn’t listen to me, and issued a voucher without my consent. I feel hopeless because they are leaving innocent people behind with their government’s support.
Dear KLM, you should know that what you’re trying to force is illegal and stop immediately! You are using innocent people’s money to pay your bills. I don’t want to fly with KLM again, because you proved yourselves to be hypocrites and liars.
KLM owes me £250. A voucher is not good for me, because my trip was time dependant, and next year’s prices will be so much higher. It’s not lawful, and KLM are unreachable.
Dear KLM, I am not a bank. I have worked extra NHS shifts to pay for a flight, not to give KLM an interest free loan.
KLM owes me £1906. We all have enough things to deal with at the moment home working/home schooling and caring for relatives, without having companies making life even more difficult. Who knows when we can travel again and whether we can afford to travel in the future, so vouchers are not helpful at all. I’m worried that flight prices will escalate or the company goes bump. I thought KLM was a respectable company.
Dear KLM, why are you ignoring the law and not respecting your customers? Why can other airlines treat customers with respect but not KLM? People do remember who treats them well, and this behaviour is shocking.