Compensation for delayed flight

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Mar 29, 2019
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#1
I booked a series of flights on United's website for a trip to Europe involving both United and Star Alliance partner airlines Adria and Austrian Airlines. On the leg from Skopje to Vienna, the Austrian Airlines flight was delayed from early afternoon until the next morning. This resulted in me missing an overnight stay in Frankfort, with a hotel reservation which was too late to cancel, while also requiring my return to a Skopje hotel overnight. The airline offered me compensation for the delay plus hotel expense, but wants my bank account number transmitted by email or given to a caller, which I am reluctant to send over open lines. They will not send a check or issue a flight credit, nor allow me to send the info via fax or other more secure means. Is this the usual practice of reimbursing for delayed flights? I am suspicious of sharing my bank account details with unknown callers or risking it being hacked in an email message. Banks and hotels usually do not allow documents to be sent via insecure methods that the airline insists I use. The Austrian Airlines callers say that they will close the case without making a payment if I don't simply give them my banking details over the phone or send it in an email. After I complained using the contacts shown on Elliott.org, they reopened the case but offered only one other way to be paid: sending my banking info to them on their contact form. What do you suggest is an appropriate way for me to handle this? Should I protect my bank account and let the money go, or is it customary to be paid this way? It seems very strange to me that the airline can't provide a comfortably secure way to pay its obligation under EU law.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#2
I agree with your concern about emails. From my research, the risk of interception is higher. But for fax/phone the risk is the same.

Their contact form should be safe if the URL for that site begins with "https://" . . .
 
Mar 29, 2019
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#3
My bank says once someone has the account and routing number they can make unauthorized withdrawals from my account, which can't be blocked. My only recourse would be to detect and challenge it after the money is gone to ask the bank to reinstate the funds. Scary to provide this in an insecure form or to an unidentified caller claiming to be from the airline.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#4
Not sure why fax is more secure? That means there's a piece of paper floating around their office with your banking information instead of telling a person over phone where they type it directly into the computer.

I'm not an expert on EU 261 - but I think them not being able to compensate you via voucher might be part of the rule. As for check, my first thought is they don't want to deal with mailing it to the US.
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 12, 2019
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#5
My bank says once someone has the account and routing number they can make unauthorized withdrawals from my account, which can't be blocked. My only recourse would be to detect and challenge it after the money is gone to ask the bank to reinstate the funds. Scary to provide this in an insecure form or to an unidentified caller claiming to be from the airline.
I would call the airline's official number myself and give the banking info that way. That way you know you're dealing with the airline.
 
Likes: jsn55
Mar 29, 2019
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#7
FAX is considered secure because you are transmitting an image, not typing numbers into an email. The telephone connection normally can't be hacked into like email, nor can the text in the message be read without having access to the printed copy. There is also a verifiable paper trail. This is why lawyers, banks, hotels (authorization for another to book using your credit card) and others require faxes.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#8
Looking back at your posts you have said:
  • They will not send a check or issue a flight credit, nor allow me to send the info via fax or other more secure means.
  • My bank says once someone has the account and routing number they can make unauthorized withdrawals from my account, which can't be blocked.
  • It seems very strange to me that the airline can't provide a comfortably secure way to pay its obligation under EU law.
You then asked: "Should I protect my bank account and let the money go, or is it customary to be paid this way?"

Regarding the methods for providing the requested information:
  • Fax: You stated your belief that this is secure. Justlisa has refuted that well. It is less secure than a voice call. Yes they send an image, but that image is retained by the outbound faxing system, plus the printed copy they will have with your account information. You would nevr know who at Austrian Airlines is looking at it.
  • Email: You are correct that this is unsecure.
  • Phone: While not completely secure, it is not as risky as you might think. If you believe the number they have given is fake, then you can call the main number on their official website.
  • Website (contact form): The link is found is here - https://www.austrian.com/Contact/Su...tions and comments form.aspx?sc_lang=en&cc=US
Note that the URL begins with "https://". That means it is a secure site. You should feel at ease using this.​

All that said, these are the options I see:
  • Let the money go (as you asked in your first post)
  • Call and give them your current account information
  • Use their secure contact form
  • Open a new account with a minimal balance and give them that number for the transfer. Then move the funds to your checking account and close the new account. That would protect your regular banking account.

They have told you that time is short so you need to act quickly . . .
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
Europeans use bank transfers regularly — it is the normal way of doing business.

every time one writes a check the bank routing and account number are visible and can easily be copied and used for theft. Every time one mails a check the mail can be intercepted and check stolen— google mail box fishing for examples.

European businesses do not sent checks to the USA as the bank draft would be in foreign currency and not on a US bank account. That makes clearing the check a time consuming and expensive experience.

VoR61 makes a good suggestion — open up a small savings account at the bank with only $25 dollars and give that account number.

Unauthorized withdrawals are a problem but the bank should have fraud precautions and one can dispute a withdrawal.

I have a PayPal account and It is linked to a small savings account and I only transfer money in right before a payment. As it is linked to my other accounts there are no fees. But if someone hacks the PayPal account the damage is $25.

Many fax systems go into a computer system that converts the image electronically — there is not someone standing by a fax machine waiting for it to spit out paper. fax machines are often sent over digital lines just like email — not analog copper wires.

I do a fair amount of business with Europeans and use wire transfers.

One needs to check the bank statement regularly no matter what.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,110
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
FAX is considered secure because you are transmitting an image, not typing numbers into an email. The telephone connection normally can't be hacked into like email, nor can the text in the message be read without having access to the printed copy. There is also a verifiable paper trail. This is why lawyers, banks, hotels (authorization for another to book using your credit card) and others require faxes.
Actually a fax is very open to identify theft. Anyone can leave it sitting in an office with many employees and your information is very easy to steal.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
FAX is considered secure because you are transmitting an image, not typing numbers into an email. The telephone connection normally can't be hacked into like email, nor can the text in the message be read without having access to the printed copy. There is also a verifiable paper trail. This is why lawyers, banks, hotels (authorization for another to book using your credit card) and others require faxes.
Most faxes go through digital wires and are stored directly on computer servers.

Old faxes spitting out paper left the info exposed for anyone to see who walked by
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 14, 2018
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#12
It seems very strange to me that the airline can't provide a comfortably secure way to pay its obligation under EU law.
Security issues aside, it may be even harder than you think. Payment via bank transfer is very common in Europe, but they use a different system than we do in the US (SEPA instead of ACH). When I've had transfers from the EU, they've always had to do an international wire. Some US banks charge a fee to receive these and a fee to convert from Euros to USD, so you should check with your bank to see how much it will cost to receive the transfer.

Also, unless you have an account at a large bank like BofA or Chase, the wire transfer will probably need to go through a correspondent bank. (Check with your bank for instructions.) My experience is that many Europeans don't understand how to send wire transfers through correspondent banks, so they may have a few misfired attempts when they try to send it.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#13
I booked a series of flights on United's website for a trip to Europe involving both United and Star Alliance partner airlines Adria and Austrian Airlines. On the leg from Skopje to Vienna, the Austrian Airlines flight was delayed from early afternoon until the next morning. This resulted in me missing an overnight stay in Frankfort, with a hotel reservation which was too late to cancel, while also requiring my return to a Skopje hotel overnight. The airline offered me compensation for the delay plus hotel expense, but wants my bank account number transmitted by email or given to a caller, which I am reluctant to send over open lines. They will not send a check or issue a flight credit, nor allow me to send the info via fax or other more secure means. Is this the usual practice of reimbursing for delayed flights? I am suspicious of sharing my bank account details with unknown callers or risking it being hacked in an email message. Banks and hotels usually do not allow documents to be sent via insecure methods that the airline insists I use. The Austrian Airlines callers say that they will close the case without making a payment if I don't simply give them my banking details over the phone or send it in an email. After I complained using the contacts shown on Elliott.org, they reopened the case but offered only one other way to be paid: sending my banking info to them on their contact form. What do you suggest is an appropriate way for me to handle this? Should I protect my bank account and let the money go, or is it customary to be paid this way? It seems very strange to me that the airline can't provide a comfortably secure way to pay its obligation under EU law.
I have wondered about this for years, Neil. Why on earth don't they just put the credit on the card you used for the booking? This "sharing of your bank information" idea gives me the willies, no matter what the method of communication is. It has never made any sense to me. The airlines take your money through your credit card. They should give it back to your credit card. I expect that non-US airlines have been doing it this way for years, and it's their tradition ... but it seems horribly risky to me. As for your current situation, one of my colleagues made the best suggestion: you call them.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
I have wondered about this for years, Neil. Why on earth don't they just put the credit on the card you used for the booking? This "sharing of your bank information" idea gives me the willies, no matter what the method of communication is. It has never made any sense to me. The airlines take your money through your credit card. They should give it back to your credit card. I expect that non-US airlines have been doing it this way for years, and it's their tradition ... but it seems horribly risky to me. As for your current situation, one of my colleagues made the best suggestion: you call them.
JSN I think the EU261 compensation has to be in cash and not a credit to a charge account.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,110
15,587
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
From the FAQ on this site:

What form must compensation take?

Article 7 states that compensation must be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, by bank order, or by bank check. The airline can compensate passengers with “travel vouchers and/or other services,” but in order to do so it must obtain the passenger’s signed authorization.

https://www.elliott.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-eu261/

The law also says that reimbursement is supposed to be made within 7 days. Which apparently isn’t being done in many cases.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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#16
Looking back at your posts you have said:
  • They will not send a check or issue a flight credit, nor allow me to send the info via fax or other more secure means.
  • My bank says once someone has the account and routing number they can make unauthorized withdrawals from my account, which can't be blocked.
  • It seems very strange to me that the airline can't provide a comfortably secure way to pay its obligation under EU law.
You then asked: "Should I protect my bank account and let the money go, or is it customary to be paid this way?"

Regarding the methods for providing the requested information:
  • Fax: You stated your belief that this is secure. Justlisa has refuted that well. It is less secure than a voice call. Yes they send an image, but that image is retained by the outbound faxing system, plus the printed copy they will have with your account information. You would nevr know who at Austrian Airlines is looking at it.
  • Email: You are correct that this is unsecure.
  • Phone: While not completely secure, it is not as risky as you might think. If you believe the number they have given is fake, then you can call the main number on their official website.
  • Website (contact form): The link is found is here - https://www.austrian.com/Contact/Suggestions and comments/Suggestions and comments form.aspx?sc_lang=en&cc=US
Note that the URL begins with "https://". That means it is a secure site. You should feel at ease using this.​

All that said, these are the options I see:
  • Let the money go (as you asked in your first post)
  • Call and give them your current account information
  • Use their secure contact form
  • Open a new account with a minimal balance and give them that number for the transfer. Then move the funds to your checking account and close the new account. That would protect your regular banking account.

They have told you that time is short so you need to act quickly . . .
All good options, but your last suggestion is brilliant!
 
Likes: VoR61
Apr 23, 2018
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#17
JSN I think the EU261 compensation has to be in cash and not a credit to a charge account.
Last July, I received my EU 261 compensation by credit card refund; however, it was transacted in person at the Air France accounting office at CDG right after I was involuntarily bounced. The agent swiped my card then and there. I can't comment about after-the-fact refunds to foreigners. And maybe AF was doing me a favor.
 
Likes: jsn55