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I'm a citizen of India and I bought a ticket from Austrian airlines in advance as to apply for a visa of Albania but unfortunately the Albanian embassy closed down and hence no visa. Now when I am trying to cancel my air ticket, the Austrian airlines says that they will charge penalty on cancellation despite of the reason and even if its clearly not my fault or any bizarre change in plan from my side or wish. They have a rule to refund in full if visa get denied but their rule book says nothing if any embassy get closed in a country.

So here I'm stuck in this situation and looking for help. Does any one have any idea regarding this situation and can I really get a full refund?

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    Isn't it possible to apply for the visa somewhere else? – Relaxed Dec 16 '14 at 15:46
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    I see no reason for refund. Austrian airlines mentioned in their General conditions that "13.1.1 You are responsible for obtaining all required travel documents and visas and for complying with all laws, regulations and requirements of countries from which or to which you travel or through which you transit. 13.1.2 We shall not be held responsible for the consequences that result from the failure to obtain such documents or from the non-compliance with such laws, regulations and requirements. " austrian.com/Info/LegalRegulations/… – Dirty-flow Dec 16 '14 at 15:56
  • i already had a word with the airline customer care and he informed me that if we fail to get visa then they refund the full amount of booking as per there fare rules but they do not have any idea regarding this situation. :( – IMRAN Dec 16 '14 at 16:07
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    @IMRAN The thing is that it's not uncommon for smaller countries to have very few embassies/consulates and even countries with very large diplomatic networks don't have consulates everywhere so being forced to apply to a consulate located in another country is not unusual. It therefore makes sense that the airline would not consider that getting a visa is impossible in these conditions. – Relaxed Dec 16 '14 at 16:34
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    What happened to the embassy? I can't find anything online about it closing. – Michael Hampton Dec 20 '14 at 16:19
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Usually, when an embassy closes down they delegate visa related affairs to another embassy of another country, it is a common practice. If this is not the case in your situation then you can contact the embassy in the nearest country that has one, I suggest using the phone at first for faster response.

If you couldn't manage to get a visa from another embassy, perhaps you can ask them to send you an email stating that it is not possible to issue a visa, use that email to convince the airlines, it might work.

Other than that, as you already mentioned, I don't think you can just force the airlines to make a full refund.

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While it's clearly not your fault, it's important to realise it's also clearly not the airline's fault. As such, they've completed a business transaction with you, with terms and conditions.

So check the terms and conditions - on what you're entitled to a refund for. Odds are it probably doesn't mention embassy closure, and if you then want a refund for a seat they could have sold to someone else, they're probably going to want some sort of compensation for their failed transaction with you.

The normal recourse for this sort of thing is sometimes travel insurance. Did you take any out for your trip? If so, check the policy, that may be able to help you out. But it's not the airline's responsibility to just refund you for something out of their control.

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You're not eligible for any exchange/refund without paying a penalty (assuming you have a none refundable ticket). The only reason why the airline will waive your fees is in extreme cases (such as war, nature disaster and so forth).

Your case in simply not valid in the eyes of the airline which define the terms and conditions in the 'contract' between you both. This about it, if your case is valid, it means that most cases are valid and hence the airline wont make money.

In as much as it is frustrating on your end, no airline will waive your fees.

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