Ryanair and British Airways continue to refuse refunds to customers who cannot legally travel – Which? News

Nationwide lockdowns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland prohibit anyone from undertaking non-essential travel. Yet British Airways and Ryanair continue to refuse to offer refunds to passengers who would have to break the law to catch their flight.

Which? asked the UK’s five biggest airlines whether passengers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could claim a cash refund if they were prevented from traveling by lockdown law. Jet2, Tui and easyJet have confirmed they can, although the flight is still in progress. British Airways, however, is not refunding customers for flights that are still operating. Ryanair did not respond to our inquiries, but its website says passengers can only rebook rather than request a refund.

In December, the competition regulator has launched an investigation into airlines’ refusal to offer customers cash refunds for flights they could not take because national, regional or local lockdown laws in the UK prevented them from travelling.


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What to do if your airline refuses a cash refund

Be sure to request a cash refund, ideally by email. If the airline refuses or does not communicate with you, act before your flight takes place by accepting the voucher or the new booking offered to you. The fact that you have requested a cash refund on file may put you in a better position to claim your money retrospectively, should the Competition and Markets Authority act later and ask airlines to pay cash refunds.

You must also file a complaint with the AMC.

What easyJet, Jet2, TUI, British Airways and Ryanair say about refunds

EasyJet lockdown refunds

EasyJet will offer refunds to all customers.

It still operates domestic flights and a small number of international flights, but most flights will be reduced.

It said: “We are contacting customers whose flights are canceled with their options and all customers unable to travel due to lockdown restrictions, whether their flights are canceled or scheduled, can transfer their flights to a later date free of charge, or receive a voucher or reimbursement.

“Given the continued impact of the pandemic on travel, we continue to request sector-specific support, such as that provided to hospitality, where decisions have directly affected their ability to trade. The same principle should be applied to aviation.

EasyJet Holidays said all holiday packages will be canceled until and including March 24, but flight cancellations continue

Jet2 Lockout Refunds

Jet2 has canceled all public holidays and all flights until and including March 25 (April 26 for Iceland), with customers getting a full refund.

It said: When clients who have not yet traveled are affected by program changes, we have been repeatedly recognized for the way we have taken care of them, and we will automatically cancel those bookings with a full refund.

TUI lockdown refunds

Tui also says flight and vacation customers can request a full refund. It said:

“Following the latest national lockdown measures announced on January 4, 2021, all TUI public holidays will be cancelled. Customers who are due to travel from an English airport before mid-February will be contacted on the departure date to discuss their options, which will include changing to another stay with an incentive, receiving a credit note from refund protected by ATOL with incentive, or cancellation and receive a full refund.

“All public holidays in Scotland and Wales have been canceled until January 31 with the same options. We will constantly review holiday cancellations in accordance with updated travel advice.

British Airways lockdown refunds

British Airways is refunding customers whose flights are canceled but not those whose flight is still in service. They must make a new reservation or accept a voucher. It said:

“We are revising our flight schedule following the announcement of new national lockdown restrictions. Our aim is to keep crucial air links open – to transport vital goods and to ensure that those authorized to travel can continue to do so safely.As always, if a customer’s flight is cancelled, we offer a range of options, including a full refund.​

“We have issued over 2.9 million refunds, 1.9 million vouchers for future travel and we continue to offer very flexible booking policies to our customers during this unprecedented pandemic.”

For British Airways Holidays customers, the policy is better. It says:

“Customers who are due to leave before February 12, 2021 will be offered a refund for their holiday. Our teams continue to monitor the situation and update our policy accordingly.

Ryanair lockdown refunds

Ryanair did not respond to our request for comment.

Ryanair’s website says customers whose flights have been canceled can apply for a refund, but not for customers whose flights are operating. Passengers can change the date of their flight, but will have to pay any fare difference, and only until April 30 – when we may still be in lockdown. It said:

“A small number of flights will operate to/from the UK primarily to facilitate UK passengers stranded abroad and to assist passengers who need to travel for essential reasons. For passengers (booked on these operational flights) who do not wish to travel before 31st January 2021, Ryanair will facilitate a flight change, where no change fee will apply (any fare difference will be charged), on any new date until 30and April 2021. Any passenger whose flight has been canceled can also move to these operational flights, subject to availability.

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