Many customers have reported that they struggle to get in contact with TAP Air Portugal in order to get a refund for their cancelled flights, or even just get their belongings back. Some of those customers have been in contact with The Portugal News. “I have been in Brazil for the past ten weeks, despite being due to fly back to London on 31 March” says Jonathan Schroder, a customer that had to get in contact with the Portuguese Air Authority “following more than seven weeks of fruitless contact with the TAP Air Portugal customer contact centre and refunds team.”
“Luckily I do have somewhere to stay and, at the moment, it is not possible to fly back from (...) where I currently am. However, this is beside the point. TAP should have provided a refund or voucher weeks ago and are refusing to do so. Not just for me but for hundreds of other customers” adds Jonathan Schroder, who has observed that he is not the only one with this struggle after visiting TAP Air Portugal’s Twitter page and a facebook group called “TAP Air Portugal – UNSATISFIED CUSTOMERS”.
José Arocho has found himself in a similar situation, when on 17 March, he, his wife and their children were left stranded in Spain. “We had to incur over $520 [€462.38] on a last minute, one-way rental car, drive over 5 hours, and cross the border into Portugal so that we could make it back home here in the U.S. because TAP cancelled our flight and failed to notify us.”
After three months, many phone calls, emails and wasted efforts to get in contact with the airline, José and his family are still waiting for a refund. “When they do respond, they just ask for our ticket numbers and flight information that I have already provided them several times. After I give them the information again, I don’t hear back from them.”
“Also, they have removed all records of our cancelled flight from their website, so when I log in, it says that we haven’t taken any flights in the last 12 months. Fortunately, I have the screenshots that I took before they deleted this information” says Jose Arocho, calling his experience with TAP an “ordeal” and a “nightmare”.
Margot Jill Wright and her family booked their first ever family trip to Europe, and chose Portugal because of its “beautiful scenery, good food, and the opportunity to relax after a very difficult couple of years.” In August of 2018, Margot lost her 27-year-old son and used the money that was left to her to book a trip “to celebrate, and to have time together to refresh and remember our son in a happy way.”
As the pandemic began to unfold, it became apparent that the family trip, booked with TAP Air Portugal, was going to be cancelled. “Thankfully, I had put our travel plans in an app CheckMyTrip – that was how I received notification that the flights were cancelled.”
Since early May, Margot has contacted TAP through Twitter and Facebook, “the responses have been vague, directed me to a page to request a refund that turns out to be a voucher, told me to contact my travel agent, and lately that my information has been routed to the ‘correct department’...but there will be a delay due to high volume of processing. I feel that I am no closer to getting my money, nearly $6000 [€5.339,52], back than I was nearly six weeks ago.”
The experience with TAP Air Portugal has made Margot and her family “hesitant to consider any future visit to Portugal” calling it “disappointing and disheartening”. Though TAP exceeded the refund period, on 20 June, 7 weeks after cancellation, Margot was refunded.
Another unsatisfied customer is Madison Olson, who flew with TAP into Paris from Miami on 16 March, but upon arrival was told that TAP had misplaced her baggage. “I immediately filed a claim and they said they would deliver it to my address in the South of France in a couple of days” says Madison.
But also her efforts to get into contact with the airline were unsuccessful and after calling every day, sending emails, facebook messages and instagram messages for more than three months, her luggage has still not been returned to her. “I spent the entire quarantine with minimal clothing because nothing was open. Also, I cannot file my taxes or finish other paperwork because it is all in the bag. They do not answer the phone or blatantly hang up on me. The last person I was able to talk to told me that now it has been so long that it is not their problem anymore.”
Michael Mazzaschi, who also contacted The Portugal News, had experienced a situation similar to that of many others, when his TAP Air Portugal flights were cancelled and instead of a refund, only a voucher was offered. After two months though, he did receive a refund and then decided to help others who have found themselves in the same predicament.
“We wrote up how to do it in an article [] on our website as we learned lots. I kept the article generic in order to help the most people, but the enemy throughout is TAP” says Michael in an email.
The Portugal News has contacted TAP Air Portugal for a comment but has not received a response.