Roughly 2.3 million individuals throughout the UK haven’t obtained a reimbursement for flights they may not take within the final yr, in line with new analysis from Which?.
Because the UK went into its first lockdown in the midst of March final yr, tens of millions of individuals have had flight bookings that weren’t cancelled by the airline, however for causes that have been usually out of their management they may not take, which means that they weren’t legally entitled to a refund or assured a profitable declare by their journey insurance coverage or financial institution.
Analysis from the buyer champion has discovered that roughly 2.3 million individuals throughout the UK have been omitted of pocket for flights that weren’t cancelled, regardless of circumstances usually which means they moderately – or in some instances, legally – couldn’t journey to their vacation spot.
Beneath EU 261 rules, passengers flying on an EU-based service or flying from a rustic within the EU are entitled to a full refund inside seven days if their flight is cancelled by the operator, however the rules don’t presently provide passengers any safety if their flight will not be cancelled.
Nonetheless, in some circumstances the place passengers couldn’t journey, it may very well be argued that the contract between the passenger and the airline had been annoyed.
Many passengers have been prevented from travelling due to native or nationwide lockdowns, restrictions stopping entry at their vacation spot, or the Overseas, Commonwealth & Growth Workplace (FCDO) advising in opposition to non-essential journey.
Passengers in these circumstances would usually have solely been given the selection of rebooking their flight or shedding their cash.
Rebooking might have meant paying a major distinction in fare if the brand new flights have been dearer, and making an attempt to decide on new dates with out figuring out when worldwide journey is more likely to resume once more.
Simply over 1 / 4 (27 per cent) of these omitted of pocket mentioned they have been unable to fly due to restrictions in place at their vacation spot that might stop them from coming into the nation.
Others mentioned they have been unable to journey as a result of the FCDO had suggested in opposition to all non-essential journey to their vacation spot, with almost 4 in ten (37 per cent) citing this as their purpose for not flying.
Whereas these with package deal holidays would have had their bookings cancelled by the supplier in these circumstances, entitling them to a full refund, many airways continued to function flights to international locations with an FCDO warning in opposition to non-essential journey, on the idea that they wanted to function them as scheduled in an effort to facilitate important journey.
Whereas not unlawful, travelling in opposition to FCDO recommendation often invalidates journey insurance coverage, and will probably put your well being in danger by visiting a rustic with excessive charges of an infection.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Journey, mentioned: “For nearly a yr now, Which? has been listening to from annoyed passengers who’ve been omitted of pocket for flights they have been unable to take, usually by no fault of their very own, as a result of the flight went forward as scheduled.
“Whereas some have efficiently been capable of declare on their journey insurance coverage or by their financial institution, others have been left excessive and dry.
“With non-essential journey presently unlawful, airways should play their half in defending public well being by guaranteeing nobody is omitted of pocket for abiding by the legislation and never travelling.
“All airways ought to permit passengers the choice to cancel for a full refund, in addition to fee-free rebooking choices, whereas these restrictions stay in place.”