The government does not consider passengers affected by the collapse of air traffic
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The government does not consider passengers affected by the collapse of air traffic

3 July , 17:30EconomyPhoto: dreamstime.com
A third of all industry subsidies for cost compensation from COVID-19 were received from the state by the Aeroflot group of companies - 7.89 billion rubles. Many times more than other airlines. But things are still there - the national carrier is not going to return money for failed flights.

A voucher delivery is knocked out by people for months.

Julia Suntsova

The order on the allocation of subsidies to airlines to compensate for expenses caused by a decrease in passenger traffic due to the coronavirus was signed by the Federal Air Transport Agency on May 18.

23.4 billion rubles for this purpose were allocated by the government, and the lion's share - 7.89 billion went to Aeroflot and its "daughters" - "Aurora" and "Russia". In total, 31 carriers submitted applications for subsidies.

The remaining airlines consider the principle of distribution of subsidies unfair, but the Ministry of Transport previously determined the formula with certain per capita variables: 365 rubles for each non-transported passenger.

In fact, there were no passengers in the last lines of the statements. The subsidies are intended for salaries to employees (at least 60% of the total), leasing payments (no more than 30%), aircraft parking fees (no more than 10%), for operations and maintenance of property.

Aeroflot lobbyists simultaneously fussed and, through the State Duma, issued a license to freeze customers' money for unproved services, which contradicts the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights. The new bill essentially legalizes the right of carriers in emergency situations, emergency situations and high alert mode to unilaterally adjust the terms of a contract of carriage with a passenger and compensate for its ticket costs with an equivalent (voucher) for hypothetical future trips.

But the reality was even more complicated. Aeroflot customers complain that getting a voucher is also a quest.

Firstly, the company cannot send a certificate to e-mail in order to pick up the voucher - you need to drag yourself into the office, push around in the queues.

Secondly, the receipt of the "equivalent" is weighted with a bunch of conditions. The flight was officially canceled or not, whether the passenger informed about the refusal of transportation and how far in advance he did it, and what tariff plan he had when purchasing the ticket. Even the successful passage of this Fort Boyard does not guarantee that the voucher will cover 100% of the money paid for the tickets.

“On the Aeroflot website we bought round-trip tickets in the direction Novosibirsk-Istanbul (with a change in Moscow). The flight there was supposed to be in late April, the return in mid-May. In a wonderful turn for a return, I got up on March 25, even before the official notice of flight cancellation. The situation is standard, just like many people have: support calls, return queues, wait ... For some time hesitated between the court and the voucher and decided to get a voucher. June 8 sent an application for its receipt. On June 23 I received a notification: "An electronic voucher cannot be issued. An exchange has been made on your ticket." But I didn’t make any exchanges. I’m calling in support, a sweet girl assures me that I’ve had an exchange, and even, they say, do not open”, - says Yelena.

As it turned out, when ordering a voucher, the passenger took the ticket numbers from the route receipt sent by the airline, but Aeroflot changed the time and dates of connecting flights several times, which automatically rewrote the ticket numbers. The carrier did not consider it necessary to notify the client of its juggling with ticket data.

“How did Aeroflot help me in this situation? Not at all. On June 23, the dear operator promised me to fix everything within 24 hours on the application, which she independently created, made the necessary adjustments. I myself do not need to re-compose anything at all, she said this at least twice. A week was fed breakfast. I asked tech support on June 1, but where are my vouchers? The hamovataya operator, without even hearing me out, starts talking about some 15 days already. We bicker for a long time, she arranges for me interrogation with an addiction according to all the data of the ticket. Outcome of the conversation: I myself need to create a repeated application for vouchers with the correct ticket number. Starting June 1, they supposedly have new rules, and now only the passenger himself can make all the changes. And if I am not satisfied with the conflicting information that the company previously provided to me, then I have the right to file a complaint in the form of feedback. 99 days have passed since March 25, as I wait”, - the girl says.

“The flight on which the children were supposed to fly was canceled. Vouchers issued barely - the site when entering the name gave an error. As a result, a refusal for vouchers came, as we supposedly changed the departure dates. But we didn’t change anything! When we personally contacted the mission, we were offered to fly on the same day. Children in the midst of a pandemic! They also reproached us for not showing up for the flight! But we did not agree to fly, and we received no notification of the transfer of the flight. Direct forgery and deceit. Money is never returned. To the question of what documents motivate the refusal, they refer to internal orders that for some reason do not want to be shown. Many questions on the legal space of our monopolists. All questions are sent to write claims, which promise to be considered for a month. They will think whether to return my money to me or not to return! ”, The Aeroflot client writes in the airline.Inform passenger service.

Our correspondent in Berlin found out how the issue with passengers abroad is being resolved.

It turned out that in many other countries, even if money is withheld, then vouchers are issued without any delay and unconditionally for the full amount, they do not burn out after three years, as in Russia, in addition to certificates, in addition, discounts for future trips are provided.

In the USA, most airlines offer vouchers only if passengers themselves refuse their tickets. Customers are entitled to a full refund if the airline cancels or delays the flight.

In the event of a dispute, human rights activists advise U.S. citizens to be persistent, 2 weeks before the planned flight, notify the carrier that the Department of Health does not recommend flights, and the Department of Transportation has already warned twice: airlines must return money to passengers, even if they initially agreed to vouchers, but changed their minds.

In the European Union, air carriers are obliged to return the money spent on tickets to passengers within 7 days if the flights are canceled. The procedure for protecting passenger rights applies to domestic flights and any flights from the European Union to non-European countries, regardless of where the company’s headquarters are located. The rule is valid for European airlines and for flights from non-European countries to the EU, if the ticket was booked in the EU.

European airlines are trying to compensate for the inconvenience of passengers with bonuses if they agree to certificates. The German Lufthansa, for example, charges 50 euros for re-registering a purchased ticket for other dates and saves the original price and class. But it does not refuse a refund if the option with a voucher does not suit the client.

Even the most scandalous company in Europe, RyanAir, which at one time proposed the introduction of standing seats for passengers, promises to deal with payments after the cancellation of the emergency mode.

England officially stated that it is impossible to transfer 7 billion euros, hanging on booked tickets, exclusively on the shoulders of consumers.

British low-cost airline Easyjet offers vouchers that can be used within 12 months for flights in the next 2 years. The company, however, provides for its passengers and a refund.

Ministries of consumer protection in European countries actively advocate for consumers in controversial situations and advise to file a written complaint against the airline, and in case of non-return of funds within 14 days, contact the court or the dispute resolution committee on public transport. The plaintiffs have good chances, officials comment.

Twitter launched a large-scale campaign against Canadian airlines, which also clamped down on refunds for flights that were not sold due to the epidemic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hesitate to fit into the frontmen of this action.

“The state and the regulator cannot continue to sit idly by when so many passengers are waiting for guaranteed refunds. An urgent need to use their powers in order to hold airlines accountable and prevent them from getting away with these illegal actions, ”state officials broadcast. The popular protest on the Web is held under the hashtag #RefundPassengers (Return to Passengers).

In Russia, unlike Europe, America and Canada, they unpacked the reserve fund to support the airline industry and Aeroflot personally, but for some reason help stubbornly does not reach the passengers.

Why? The answer lies obviously in priorities.

In the midst of the crisis, the national carrier was convicted of a luxury purchase for management. In April, the airline acquired 4 “executive class Mercedes Benz S or equivalent” vehicles and spent 34.7 million rubles (8.6 million per car) on these “strategic goals”. The purchase was placed in early March - just then Aeroflot already tearfully asked for help from the state to fight the coronavirus, which plundered them mercilessly.

More than once they poked Aeroflot in sponsoring the English Manchester United. Although the company had previously stated that it had severed all marketing contracts with a football club, the next tranche of £ 10 million (about 1 billion rubles) still left this crisis year, writes Nezygar.

At the return of Russians from abroad, the national carrier even managed to cash in, having received about 70% of state funds from the planned total of 1.5 billion. At the same time, the company's management at meetings with the president is partisan in silence, which for the most part of passengers stuck in a foreign country already there are paid return tickets, and the rest are forced to purchase them from Aeroflot at a very high price. Thus, all export flights of the company turned out to be not humanitarian at all, but quite commercial and profitable.

Against this background, the support of the government of the national air carrier looks a lot like the scene from the famous book of Ilf and Petrov - The Golden Calf, when Panikovsky began to divide 10 thousand rubles stolen from Koreyko into three piles - for himself, Bender and Balaganov. Seeing only three recipients, Shura Balaganov rushed at Panikovsky with his fists and an indignant cry: "And Kozlevich?!!!"

Today, passengers of Aeroflot and other airlines are in the position of the same Kozlevich, and the government itself acted as Panikovsky.

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