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Outrage at Air Berlin compensation

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CEO was insured in case of insolvency, but not the passengers
People who booked flights with Air Berlin before the airline filed for bankruptcy in August have no compensation in sight, The Local reports. But the bankrupt carrier’s chief executive will keep receiving a salary until 2021.
Air Berlin flew a final flight on Friday, proclaiming “the end of an aviation era”. And while the company had insured the CEO’s salary in case of insolvency, it didn’t do so for the passengers.
Thomas Winkelmann will get €950,000 per year until 2021, but at least 100,000 passengers who booked flights before the insolvency have been told they have no right to a refund.
On its website, the airline states that anyone who bought flights after August 15, the date of the insolvency, will get their money back; if the booking was made before that, “reimbursement is not possible.” The explanation is a legal one.
“The company had to offer compensation after they filed for bankruptcy, otherwise no one would have booked flights with them,” The Local explains. “But those whose flights were booked beforehand join the long list of creditors to whom the company owes money. If they file a claim, they might get back a portion of their ticket cost at the end of insolvency proceedings, which will likely take years.”
As one aggrieved customer puts it: “Creditors will cut up the company and split the spoils, but we the consumers, who barely have enough money to buy a ticket to visit the family for Christmas are left with no recourse.
“For Air Berlin €1,400 is nothing, but for me and my family it is a huge amount of money.”
MDR / The Local

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