When thousands of flights were canceled in one fell swoop and passengers’ tickets became meaningless, the hour came: Passenger portals such as Flightright were assailed by customers who wanted their money back from the airlines. Because their payment behavior had decreased massively during the crisis.
Nearly 50,000 cases occurred in the Flightright founded ten years ago, many of which were brought to trial quickly within ten weeks. The model of the portal and other comparable providers is simple: If you want to have your ticket refunded but don’t want to worry about it yourself, you can enter your data on the respective website. If there is a claim, the portal will take care of it and, if successful, will collect a commission.
“They used the passengers as a kind of compulsory lender,” says Philipp Kadelbach, founder of Flightright, in the podcast “The Hour Zero” (Personal-Financial.com, Stern, n-tv) about the airlines. Although customers’ claims are legally undisputed, many tickets have still not been refunded.
No understanding of Lufthansa entry
From the lawyer’s point of view, it is astonishing that the airlines do this very differently. “The best paying airline is Easyjet,” says Kadelbach. Large, high-priced providers such as Lufthansa, Air France or KLM, on the other hand, “have not served the claims to date”.
The state’s entry into Lufthansa had also changed little in this situation, and there was no pressure from politics. “From the perspective of the consumer platform, I have no understanding for this,” says Kadelbach.
In Kadelbach’s view, his own business is likely to become more difficult in the future. The founder of Flightright anticipates a permanent decline in air traffic and thus also a smaller market for passenger portals. However, it should also be expected that the airlines will be less accommodating in the future and are more concerned about reimbursing tickets or even paying compensation – which in turn would be good for his business model.
You can hear directly in the new episode of “The Hour Zero” whether Philipp Kadelbach himself got his ticket costs back and in which areas his company would like to expand Audio Now, Apple or Spotify or via Google.