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There are many unanswered questions left in the wake of an airline’s collapse. The latest example is Primera Air — the Danish low-cost airline suspended operations in anticipation of filing for bankruptcy. The most pressing question for ticketed passengers may be, what now? How do I get home and how can I get reimbursed?
The first thing you should probably do is call your credit card company and ask for a charge back, a reversal of payment you initiate to dispute Primera’s failed delivery of the goods or services you paid for — in this case a flight. There’s no guarantee your issuer will reverse the charge, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
You also can demand repayment from the air carrier itself, although you’re probably not going to be able to get in touch with anyone. Even if you could find an airline representative to help you, Primera may not be able or willing to refund your money, as passengers reported problems getting their money back after previous route and flight cancellations prior to the airline shuttering itself.
You have the best opportunity for getting a refund if you paid for your flight with one of several credit cards that offer trip cancellation/interruption coverage. The amount of available coverage differs — although if you’re trying to get a refund for one of the carrier’s $199 round-trip transatlantic flights, you should have no problem with any card that offers coverage — as does the eligibility of members of your traveling party, but you should be able to file a successful claim with these cards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — Receive coverage up to $10,000 per person per trip. Coverage is available to the cardholder and his or her immediate family. Chase specifically includes a provision in its coverage addressing the “financial insolvency of the Travel Agency, Tour Operator, or Travel Supplier whose services you booked.” It further defines a supplier as “a Tour Operator, occupancy provider, cruise line, airline, railroad or other Common Carriers.” The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers the same benefit on up to $5,000 of coverage.
- Citi Prestige — Although this card is not currently available for applications, existing cardholders can still take advantage of this benefit. Coverage is good on up to $5,000 per traveler per covered trip and is valid if a “travel supplier, such as an airline or lodge, goes out of business or goes into financial default after the purchase of the Trip, impairing the Covered Traveler’s ability to travel.” This coverage is available both for the card holder and his or her family members, including “children, spouse, fiancée, Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; sons-in-law or daughters-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.”
You’ll need to be careful which credit card you choose that offers trip cancellation coverage, as the guide to benefits of several omit a carrier’s bankruptcy from coverage claims. The Citi Double Cash Card and Citi Premier Card, for example, offer trip cancellation coverage, but only cover cancellations caused by severe weather, mandatory evacuations or terrorist incidents.
Help From the EU
The European Union requires that any EU carrier must compensate you if your flight is cancelled by:
- transporting to your final destination using comparable alternative means, or
- having your ticket refunded and, where relevant, being returned free of charge to your initial departure point.
Primera Air’s terms and conditions also note that passengers are eligible upon a flight cancellation for an “involuntary fare refund. We will give You additional assistance, such as compensation, refreshments and other care and reimbursement, if required to do so by any law which may apply. We will have no further liability to You.” It’s unclear how that might work, however, with an airline in bankruptcy.
Featured image by Xavier Marchant / Getty Images.
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