Refundable Amount of Flight Fares & Refund Pilot’s Fee
Please note: The following section covers the amount to which one may claim a partial reimbursement of the fare for a cancelled flight and Refund Pilot’s respective refund service. To learn more about service fees charged on direct payments of lump-sum compensations for disrupted flights, please refer to another page.
Upon accepting an application submitted through our compensation calculator, we will immediately pay our direct refund for the price of a cancelled booking to the desired account entered by the respective customer. The amount of the direct payment will already be shown in advance in the compensation calculator before a user can submit his application. It is determined by us according to the calculation of the amount of a claim to a refund in accordance with s. 648 sent. 2, s. 812 par. 1, sent. 1, 2 BGB (German Civil Code). This means it is largely determined by the part of the fare reserved for taxes and fees which the airline must pass on to tax authorities and airports).
This is because German case law confirmed that a passenger travelling to, from or within Germany is entitled to a partial refund of the fare he paid for his flight even if he himself has to cancel the booking. Said refund amounts to unused taxes and fees included in the total ticket price:
I. Refundable Amount of A Cancelled Flight’s Fare
The amount of the direct payments we offer through our refund service depends on the refundable part of the total fare you had to pay for a flight. What components of the ticket price are refundable has been clarified by the German Federal Court of Justice in its ruling on March 20, 2018 for flight departing or arriving in Germany (case no. X ZR 25/17): While airlines may waive their obligation to reimburse customers for the part of the fare they get to keep themselves through their standard terms and conditions, they still have to pay back the amount saved due to a passenger’s no-show at any rate – regardless of the booking class. In particular, this means that air traffic taxes as well as airport and fueling fees must be reimbursed since they only become due for passengers actually travelling on a flight connection. Hence, passengers are entitled to a refund in this amount even if they are the ones cancelling a booking while the airline would have been ready to carry them as planned.
This provokes the question how a passenger can calculate the exact sum which falls under this category and must therefore be reimbursed? To determine the refundable amount, you can simply follow these three steps:
1. Find your booking confirmation or invoice related to the flight you had to cancel. If you do not know whether or where you saved the document, you can normally pull it up from your inbox. Usually, the airline or the booking website emails you the respective PDF right after you make a booking. So you can simply search for emails from the air carrier or the booking platform you received around the day the payment for your flight was withdrawn from your bank account’s balance. The file you are looking for can also be identified by its content: It should contain your flight schedule as well as the total fare. Typically, its title is straightforward as well („invoice“ or „booking confirmation“). To give you an idea how a booking confirmation looks like, please refer to the samples we provide here:
2. Identify the figures for the taxes and fares included in the ticket price in the booking confirmation or invoice for your flight. Usually, said documents list the relevant items right next to the total fare (that is the complete amount you had to pay for your flight connection). To explain further where these figures are located, please refer to the sample files above, in which we have highlighted them in yellow.
Please bear in mind: Sometimes, air carriers like Lufthansa mention the items in question per person (please have a look at the sample document). To determine the total refundable sum, you have to multiply these by the number of passengers for which you had to cancel the flight. Of course, this is not necessary if an airline (like Eurowings) adds up the figures per person already by itself and lists their sum in the booking confirmation.
3. Calculate the relevant refundable portion of taxes and fees included in the fare. If you cancelled your booking completely for all flight routes and all travel companions, you may ask for a reimbursement of the entire amount of fees and taxes shown in the booking confirmation or invoice. If you only cancelled some flight connections or if not all passengers are affected by the cancellation, you will have to calculate a bit:
To do so, divide the sum of all tax- and fee-related items first by the amount of individual flight routes and then again by the passengers under the same booking. Then add the parts up again depending on how many travel companions and routes were affected by your cancellation. The mathematical operation can be summarized as follows:
Refundable amount = sum of taxes and fees / amount of passengers under the same booking / amount of flight routes under the same booking * amount of cancelled flight routes * amount of passengers affected by the cancellation
In case you just booked and cancelled a one-way ticket, the calculation is very easy: Simply add the figures for taxes and fees enlisted in the booking confirmation. You may then insert this amount in our compensation calculator when you are applying for our direct payment. The same applies if you have cancelled all flight routes on the same trip with effect for all passengers included in the booking.
If, however, some passengers were actually carried under the contract with the airline or if they took part in one flight connection but not the other, you may have to split up the total refundable amount that would have only been claimable as a whole had you cancelled the entire booking.
II. The Fee of Our Refund Service
Refund Pilot pays out 80% of the refundable part of the total fare for a cancelled flight (i.e. of the unused amount of taxes and fees included in the ticket price). For example, if taxes and fees accounted for €206.16 of the complete fare, you may apply for a direct payment of €164.93 at our website. In turn, we retain the remaining 20% margin between the face value of the claim to a partial refund and our payout amount. Besides, there are no additional hidden costs. Following our acceptance of your application, you may keep the total 80% we paid to you in exchange for your claim to a partial refund.
For flights that have taken place more than 90 days prior to your application, we can even offer you a slightly higher payout of 83% of the refundable part of your fare. This is because older claims against the airlines are regarded as non-performing loans so that no VAT is imposed on our service. And since we do not have to deduct VAT from our fee accordingly in those cases, we can add what we save in taxes to the amount that we afford to our customers. In the example mentioned above, you would therefore be entitled to a direct payment of €171.13 instead of €164.93 if you had waited and used our refund service later.