What are the rules on travel refunds if your trip has been cancelled because of coronavirus pandemic?

Millions of people have had a holiday cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic – and many are still waiting for their money back.

Consumer group Which? has estimated that over £1billion in partial or full refunds is still being withheld from customers who have asked for their money back.

It said last week that one in five people are still waiting for their money back from package holidays alone.

Its research suggests the average cancelled holiday cost £1,784.

So what are you legally entitled to if your trip was cancelled and you are struggling to obtain a refund?

Here are seven key questions answered:

What are the rules on flight refunds?

For most cancelled flights, you are entitled to a full cash refund within seven days.

This covers flights where the airline is based in the UK or EU, or you are departing from a UK or EU airport.

What about package holidays?

Consumers are protected under the Package Travel Regulations, which mean they should get their money back within 14 days.

So those are the rules, but what is the reality?

Many consumers have faced long delays in getting refunds for cancelled trips during the pandemic.

Consumer group Which? says that more than four in 10 holiday cancellations have resulted in people waiting over a month to get their money back.

Why has this happened?

The outbreak of coronavirus led to a surge of refund requests.

Travel companies have faced the dual pressure of trying to slow losses and operational difficulties in processing more payouts than normal.

Also Check:  Bosses consider host of safety measures to help employees return to work

Is anything being done about delayed refunds?

The Civil Aviation Authority says its discussions with airlines resulted in them changing their practices and they are all now offering cash refunds.

The Competition and Markets Authority says it is continuing to investigate package holiday companies and it “won’t hesitate to take action” if it finds “any business is not complying with consumer protection law”.

What about alternatives to refunds?

Many firms have tried to ease their cash flow problems by encouraging customers to accept refund credit notes instead of cash refunds.

These allow people to re-book their holiday or request their money back at a later date.

What about vouchers?

Some companies have offered vouchers rather than refund credit notes.

Although these are often worth more than the original booking – to incentivise customers not to request cash – the Civil Aviation Authority has warned they are not Atol-protected.

That means holders face being out of pocket if the issuing firm goes bust.