Brussels Airlines Has Processed 31% Of €122m In Refund Requests

Brussels Airlines has processed 31% of its refunds, and it is working on a system to execute the remaining 69% quickly. The airline said yesterday that its refunds amount to a value of €122m ($144m).

Brussels Airlines take-off
Brussels Airlines has issued 31% of its refunds. Photo: Getty Images

31% of refunds processed

For those who hoped to travel during the peak of the pandemic, a refund or rebooking is in order. However, we’ve seen all too often in the news airlines struggling to cope with the volume of requests they receive. Brussels Airlines is no exception. Over the past few months of flight cancelations and international lockdown, it has €122m ($144m) refunds to process.

The airline revealed in its online newsroom yesterday that it has already given 31% of its customers their money back. Considering the complexity of the refund process and the delicate art of balancing customer relationships, this is pretty good going.

For success like this, Brussels Airlines has had to employ some new tactics to expedite the process. It now processes thousands of refunds per day to clear its backlog. This speed and commitment to its customers would not have been possible without the injection of €290m ($343m) from the Belgian government alongside €170m ($201m) from Lufthansa.

Lufthansa on runway
Aid from Lufthansa and the government has certainly helped. Photo: Getty Images

What’s the rush with refunds?

Getting through its refund requests is crucial for several reasons. For one, the quicker it can process refunds, the better it can keep passengers on its side. That said, the airline will also want to get through the requests to make life easier down the line.

With uncertainty still looming and air travel operating in an ever-changing environment, there may be the need to issue more refunds for cancelations further down the line.

People in line at sales and ticketing queue, Brussels Airlines
Anyone who has already submitted a refund request will receive one. Photo: Getty Images

However, no Brussels Airlines customer should be worried. Just read these hopeful words from the airline’s CEO Dieter Vranckx from a recent press release,

“We are well aware that the last weeks and months have been extremely difficult for our passengers affected by schedule changes or flight cancellations, and we sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused by overloaded call centers and delays in terms of our response time, especially for the processing of ticket refunds. But rest assured, every passenger who is entitled to a refund and who applied for it, will be reimbursed within the coming weeks.”

How will Brussel Airlines manage future refunds?

Throughout the pandemic, Brussels Airlines received more than a million calls to its call center on the back of flight cancelations. That’s in comparison to a normal level of 400,000. 36,000 flights were canceled, affecting some three million passengers.

To remedy the situation, Brussels Airlines is giving passengers “maximum flexibility” on its tickets. Tickets booked before August 25th can be rebooked up until January 31st, 2021, on flights until December 31st, 2021. Flights purchased after this date will still retain an element of flexibility.

Brussels Airlines A320
Passengers can use their existing tickets for travel in over a year’s time. Photo: Getty Images

However, if passengers do wish to have their flights refunded rather than rebooked, they can do so. Brussels Airlines urges passengers to apply for a refund via its website to keep the call center lines open. It assures that all existing refund requests will be processed by the end of October.

Have you been affected by Brussels Airlines’ refunds? How do you react to this story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.