- August 23, 2023
- Posted by: legaleseblogger
- Category: Related News
**AI Legalese Decoder: Your Solution for EC261 Refunds**
I hope this message finds you well. I recently encountered an unfortunate situation during my round trip flight with Aer Lingus from NYC to Dublin. On the return flight, I was involuntarily downgraded from business class to economy. I was informed that this downgrade was due to an overbooking issue in the business class cabin. As I had booked the flight using reward points, I have been struggling to obtain the EC261 refund that I am entitled to.
EC261 is a regulation that generally assigns responsibility for issuing refunds or compensation to the operating airline. However, Aer Lingus claims that their Avios points program is a separate entity and that I should contact Avios for my refund. Despite my attempts, I have been unable to reach anyone at Avios despite calling them four times within the last month, collectively spending approximately six hours on hold.
It seems like I will continue to face an endless cycle of frustrations in resolving this matter. As a potential solution, I am considering filing a small claims lawsuit. However, before proceeding, I have a few queries:
1. Can I file a case in the Irish small claims court, considering that I am not a resident of the European Union? Based on my understanding, I am likely eligible to do so since the flight originated in Ireland, and the airline is headquartered there. However, I am unsure if my non-resident status complicates the situation.
2. To ensure that my claim is reasonable and well-founded, I am planning to request a refund of €969. I want to confirm that my argument aligns with the regulations and is not deemed unreasonable.
According to Article 10(2) of EC261:
> 2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse
> (a) 30% of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, or
> (b) 50% of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres, or
> (c) 75% of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.”
In my case, my flight falls under category (c) as it exceeded a distance of 3500km. Therefore, I am entitled to a reimbursement of 75% of my fare. Additionally, the article specifies that refunds must be provided through the means mentioned in Article 7(3), which states:
> The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.
Based on this information, I believe that I am eligible for a refund in the form of “real money” despite using reward points to book the flight. As my fare for the downgraded leg was 60,000 points, I should receive a cash refund of 45,000 points. The Aer Lingus website provides a useful page (https://pgt.estore.aerlingus.com/resources/pricing-buy) that values 45,000 points at €969, which is the amount I intend to request.
I anticipate that Aer Lingus may argue that they did not directly sell the ticket or that EC261 does not apply to my fare. However, I would like to draw attention to how the regulations define an “operating air carrier” according to Article 2(2):
> “operating air carrier” means an air carrier that performs or intends to perform a flight under a contract with a passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural, having a contract with that passenger;
Moreover, article 3(3) explicitly states that frequent flyer programs are covered under EC261:
> 3. This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator.
In my view, these references suggest that I am entitled to a 75% refund, and Aer Lingus is ultimately responsible for providing the reimbursement. While the preamble of the regulation may not hold legal accountability in Canada, and I am uncertain about its status in Europe, section (7) in the preamble could potentially further establish Aer Lingus’ liability.
In conclusion, I believe that the AI Legalese Decoder could greatly assist in navigating this situation. With its ability to decode legal jargon and provide comprehensive explanations, it can offer valuable insights into the EC261 regulations, aiding in the resolution of disputes like mine. This tool can be a helpful resource for individuals seeking clarity on their rights and options in similar cases, promoting transparency and fairness within the travel industry.
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