Refunds for cancelled flights due to coronavirus too slow

Airlines are taking too long to refund passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to the coronavirus. According to consumer group Consumer association Which?, airlines are falling short of promises made to the CAA.

Virgin atlantic airplane taking off

Waiting 120 days for refund of cancelled flight in corona pandemic

Last month the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) indicated it was not satisfied with the period in which Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and TUI were processing refunds. Despite this intervention, consumer association Which?, claims refunds are still too slow since airlines are still taking months to process some refunds. Therefor Which? has urged the government to enhance CAA powers to take action against airlines failing to pay refunds for flights cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Your refund right for cancelled flight

The rights under Regulation 261/2004 are still valid despite the coronavirus, meaning that passengers are legally entitled to a refund for cancelled flights within seven days after the cancellation. However, the CAA found out that the processing of refunds of multiple airlines had gone from taking up to 60 to 120 days.

Further action will take place in case airlines fall short

Which? has called for the CAA to be given new powers to take action against airlines that are too slow to refund passengers. The CAA stated that they will take further action in case airlines fall short of the commitments they made to them.

What are your rights in case of a cancelled flight due to the coronavirus?

During the corona pandemic the rights under Regulation 261/2004 are still valid. In the following information you can find your rights with a flights cancellation due to the coronavirus?

  • If the airline cancels your flight and offers you a
    voucher instead of choosing between reimbursement or transport on another
    route, this will not affect your right to opt for reimbursement. In short: you
    are not obligated to accept the voucher, but you can also opt for a refund of
    the ticket price.
  • You are entitled to care. The airline should provide
    you with food, drinks, extra transport and a hotel if necessary. This applies
    to travelers who are currently located outside the UK.
  • The right to care does not apply if you opt for a
    refund of the ticket price or voucher. The right to care also does not apply if
    you choose to travel with an alternative flight at a later date (not the first
    opportunity). If you choose to fly home at a later date – for example a few
    months later – it is not reasonable if the airline should cover your costs for
    care during that period.
  • A canceled flight due to the coronavirus is an extraordinary circumstance which
    means the right to compensation for time loss does not apply.
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