Information regarding Air Berlin
Lufthansa will take over big parts of Air Berlin, including the Austrian subsidiary Fly Niki and the regional provider LGW as well as 20 further aircrafts. There will be an antitrust investigation before the deal can be fixed, in order to avoid a market dominance of the German Lufthansa.
What does this deal mean for consumers?
For now, nothing about the process regarding reimbursements as explained below has changed. Air Berlin will stop operating flights at 28.10., tickets for later flights are therefore invalid and won't be changed to Lufthansa tickets.
Lufthansa-CEO Carsten Spohr stated in an interview that they will try to offer transport for "fair prices" to those customers of Air Berlin who are stuck abroad. They are working on the details now.
- "As far as we are currently aware, flight operations under the IATA airline code AB will no longer be possible during the insolvency proceedings, at the latest from October 28th 2017. NIKI flights are not affected and will be continued."
The wording "as far as we are currently aware" appears to be intentionally vague and indicates that the situation can change at any time. Please note that the insolvency proceedings have not yet started and that it is completely uncertain when they do.
Consequences for consumers
What do this newest developments mean for consumers of Air Berlin who are affected by a flight cancellation? As before, the date of the booking is decisive.
Nothing has changed for passengers who bought their ticket before the insolvency application on 15.08.: They will have to wait until the opening of the insolvency proceedings to file their claims:
- "If the booking was made before August 15th 2017, reimbursement is not possible. Passengers affected may file their claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings."
For all others, according to Air Berlin, the following applies:
- "For tickets purchased after August 15th 2017, we will reimburse the purchase price if the flight will no longer be operated. Rebooking to another airline is not permitted."
Furthermore, special considerations apply to customers with tickets for November:
- "Payments for flights operating after November 1st 2017 are secured by a trustee. In case these flights are not operating against expectations, affected passengers will receive a ticket refund. This only applies for bookings from August 15th 2017 onwards."
Air Berlin seems to hope that the already booked flights in November will be operated by other airlines and won't have to be cancelled.
In summary: Air Berlin wants to reimburse all consumers who bought a ticket after the insolvency application and whose flights got cancelled. If this promise will be kept, is uncertain.
According to media reports, a decision about the future of Air Berlin will be made in the next days.
Tips by the ECC:
- We advise all affected consumers to ask for an alternative flight. Air Berlin states on its website that rebookings are not possible anymore, but a few consumers told us that they were successful with their request. It is worth a try and asking does not cost a thing.
- We strongly advise against booking new flights at Air Berlin!
- Consumers who bought a ticket before 15.08. have to wait for the insolvency proceedings. We recommend to look for updates on the website of the insolvency administrator.
Unfortunately, we can only offer information. An intervention would have no prospect of success. However, we will keep you updated about any new developments.