The Belgian Economic Inspectorate investigating TUIfly Belgium and other airlines for possible misleading practices

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The Belgian Minister of Economy and Consumer Protection Nathalie Muylle instructed the Economic Inspectorate to investigate airlines for possible deceptive marketing practices.

People who go on vacation should be able to enjoy their holiday without worry and not hear a few days after booking that it is cancelled. I instruct the Economic Inspectorate to investigate the companies that sell flights and cancel them a few days later“, she wrote in Dutch and French (see hereunder).

According to her spokesperson, the minister herself received emails from dissatisfied customers and read many comments on the social networks of consumers complaining about these practices.

Most complaints related to TUI fly Belgium, but the investigation will also aim other airlines (Ryanair? Brussels Airlines?).

TUIfly Belgium announced Tuesday that it will cut a quarter of its flights during the summer season. The flight plan had been put in place at the start of reservations in November – well before the coronavirus crisis – for the high season. According to a TUI spokesperson, “a few hundred thousand” customers are affected by these cancellations.

Background

After the National Security Council announced last week the reopening of European borders, TUI Belgium was able to draw up a realistic flight plan for the high season and guarantee European travel on this basis. Since 3 months of reservations were lost, TUI was forced to reduce the initial flight programme by 25%.

TUI wishing to continue to offer a maximum number of different destinations, it was decided to cancel one or a few flight days on a series of existing destinations. The travellers concerned were informed of this by e-mail.

Meanwhile, TUI has offered a flexible solution to travellers whose flights are cancelled.

If the client responded within 5 days of receiving the email, he could book the same trip on another date and at the same price. The condition is that the new departure date falls a maximum of 3 days before or after the initial date. If the same trip can be made from another Belgian airport, the modification can also be done free of charge.

In the first few days following the announcement of the lifting of the travel ban, there was some confusion. TUI guarantees that a correction will be made to travellers to whom a different arrangement has been communicated in recent days.

Later, it appeared that many customers were unable to contact TUI to find new travel arrangements, either by phone or through travel agencies that were still closed. TUI apologised for those mishaps and promised to rectify the situation.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It should be good if the title mentioned all the airlines instead of only TUI fly. By publically appologising for its communication that went wrong under these harsh circumstances, TUI showed some bravery. So maybe mentioning Brussels Airlines, Ryanair and maybe the other airlines that are being investigated as well?

  2. I would agree to mention other airlines in the title if I knew facts about those airlines. TUIfly has been particularly under fire, but I heard very little about the other airlines. Brussels Airlines and Ryanair are indeed potentially other suspects, but their refusal to reimburse travellers for cancelled flights (against EU law) has been approved by Belgian law if repaced by vouchers. Let’s see how the inquiry evolves! If other names appear, I will for sure mention them.

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