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I booked a multi-cities flight back in Jan 2019 for a travel plan at the end of July 2020. It was all in one itinerary but with 3 airline companies and total 4 cities, 10 flights. I purchased 3 such tickets for me and my family. I booked through Kayak but was led to kiwi.com. So it is Kiwi who handled the tickets for me. Now I was told one of the flight got canceled. According to kiwi, I will need to ask for refund and they will try to get the most refund back for me. I wonder what is the chance of getting all money refunded? What is my right here?

Update here to educate others: Kiwi got back to me and said it is not covered by Kiwi.com Guarantee as this reservation is under Force Majeure. I won’t be able to ask for refund unless I cancel the entire trip but If I canceled the entire trip, due to low fare tickets, I get no refund from the other carriers. My only hope now is more carriers cancel the flights.

Further question: Kiwi confirmed that all the tickets are booked separated with different PNRs. One flight got canceled but the rest of other tickets are still good to go. I wonder why can not Kiwi.com just refund me the canceled ticket? Why do they tell me that I have to cancel all the other bookings to be able to get the refund for one of the canceled flight? What is my right here?

  • That will probably depend on local legislation or the airlines terms and conditions. Where are the flights and which airlines are involved? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 22 at 10:33
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    Kiwi is a bit special, because they construct itineraries independent of the airlines - so the airlines who havent cancelled your flights have no obligation to do anything here (their flight as sold is not dependent on any other flight), its back on Kiwi and their “guarantee”. For the guarantee to stand, you must have followed its steps and requirements. – Moo May 22 at 11:06
  • kiwi.com/en/pages/guarantee – Moo May 22 at 11:06
  • Thank you. The airlines involved are Norwegian airline, Ryanair and easy Jet. The one got canceled is one of the Ryanair from London to Cork. – Daisy May 22 at 19:49
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You really picked the wrong booking company here.

Typically multi-city itineraries are booked as a single ticket, even if they are operated by different airlines. That's typically done between partner airlines and allows the trip to managed as a single unit. The only booking agency that deviates from that is kiwi.com

First you need to check whether this is a single ticket or not. Check your booking records for each flight and find the ticket number. It's typically a 13 digit number. Check whether it's the same ticket number for each leg or if there are different ones (for the same passenger).

  1. One ticket number: then you are in reasonably good shape. Look at the first three digits of the ticket number and look up the airline here https://www.kwe.co.jp/en/useful-contents/code1 . That's the "marketing carrier" and that's the airline that owes you a refund. Look up the CoVid policies of these airlines. These policies may be DIFFERENT from the legal requirements. Most North American and European airlines are legally required to give you a full refund but they still refuse to do it since they need to preserve cash.

  2. Two or more ticket numbers: That's a problem. KIWI can only get a refund for the cancelled ticket and if they have to cancel the whole trip, they would need to refund you the other tickets out of their own pocket. They will dig in their heels hard to avoid that.

What to do

  1. Make sure you have done your research first and you understand how your itinerary is booked, who is responsible for a refund (Kiwi or airline) and make sure you have a clear goal

  2. Contact KIWI with a game plan. Make sure you clearly iterate your goal. "I want a full cash refund", "I will not accept re-booking or vouchers", "you are legally required to provide a full refund" "the policy that you just stated violates local law and I will not accept it".

    1. Keep good records with exact date and time. Transcribe the phone calls as good as you can. Screen shot any on-line chat. Keep all e-mails safe in a single place.

If they give you a refund, than you are clear. If not, you need to try again (2-3 times) and ask to talk to a manager. If that still fails, your best shot is to initiate a charge back with your credit card company . The credit card company will want to see your attempts to resolve this with the merchant, hence the need for good record keeping.

What is my right here?

That depends a lot on the details: type of booking, which airlines, which countries. Local laws are very different all around the world. It's also not a super relevant question. Currently airlines and booking agents frequently violate the law since it's hard for a passenger to do something about it and cash in hand is more important to them than some future legal liability.

what is the chance of getting all money refunded?

Hard to tell without knowing all the details. The good news is that US and EU governments have come down hard on the airlines to issue refunds instead of vouchers so this has gotten better recently. The bad news is that booking agents like KIWI sit a in a bit of a grey area KIWI is also one of the least reputable players in this field.

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  • Thank you Hilmar. Your response is very clear. I only received a booking number from Kiwi. I never received any ticket number. There is chance that more flights in my booked trip would get canceled. I wonder if it would make a difference for me to wait for that to happen? – Daisy May 22 at 19:44
  • Also the airlines involved are Norwegian airline, Ryanair and easy Jet. The one got canceled is one of the Ryanair from London to Cork. – Daisy May 22 at 19:47
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    You can also check the airline's website with the booking number from Kiwi. Typically the ticket number should be there as well. These three airlines typically don't book together, so there is a strong chance that these are separate tickets. – Hilmar May 23 at 20:43
  • Thank you so much Hilmar. I have contacted Kiwi multiple times but they did not give me ticket number. There are only booking number and PNR number. The PNR numbers are all different. Does that mean they are different ticket? – Daisy May 23 at 22:42
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    @Daisy Yes, they are different tickets if they are different PNRs. – Moo May 23 at 23:15

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