Recently, several airlines had canceled hundreds of flights during the peak travel season. The Department of Consumer Protection has an idea how customers could have a lower financial risk.

In view of a number of flight cancellations and delays and the start of the main travel season, the Ministry of Consumer Protection is considering reviewing the prepayment practice for flights. According to a spokeswoman, the house of Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) appealed to the airlines to proactively fulfill their “legal obligation to reimburse within seven days”, as the “Welt am Sonntag” reported. “Otherwise you will have to check the prepayment practice in its current form,” said the spokeswoman for the newspaper. “When paying in advance, passengers have a high risk when there are flight cancellations or airline bankruptcies.”

When booking flights, consumers usually have to pay the cost of tickets in advance. The Air Passenger Rights Ordinance stipulates that repayments for flights canceled without replacement must be made within seven days. Consumer advocates have long been calling for the prepayment practice to be abolished. The fact that flights usually have to be paid for in advance can mean a considerable financial risk for customers.

The general manager of the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry, Matthias von Randow, said: “Of course, passengers are entitled to a timely refund of their ticket price if they do not want to rebook their canceled flight.” In principle, every traveler already has the choice today whether they want to book early and thus take advantage of early bird discounts by paying in advance, or book and pay at very short notice before departure.