Seanad debates

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

3:00 am

Photo of Feargal QuinnFeargal Quinn (Independent)

Some months ago I raised the question of one airline in particular making a substantial sum of money from overcharging for credit card fees, but I was incorrect inasmuch as I did not go far enough. The charges made by all airlines for taxes, fees and airport charges for a passenger who does not travel are not refunded automatically. Not only that, each airline makes it very difficult for a customer to get a refund if they are unable to travel.

My reason for raising this is that I thought that had a cost to the individual passenger who did not travel, but the real cost is to the State. I am told it could run to hundreds of millions of euro per annum, which is a substantial sum of money. What happens is that the airline charges the person for the taxes, landing fees and airport charges but if that person does not travel, it does not have to pay that to the airport authority. However, the airline makes it very difficult for the passenger to get a refund. That money should either belong to the passenger or to the State and it is in the case of the State that I raise the matter.

I ask the Leader to ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to come to the House, having investigated this matter, to indicate whether I am correct, the amount of money involved and what we can do to ensure that not only the passengers get a fair deal but, more importantly, the State gets a fair deal rather than the airline automatically obtaining all this money by making it very difficult for passengers to get a refund.


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