Frustrated customers ask airlines to simplify a refund request for flights canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic.
But the airline’s commercial body wants the right to give coupons, not refunds.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled when the fleets are ashore and the repayment process is under pressure.
EasyJet has faced a particular anger since the booking is made online, but refunds require a call to customer service and overcoming is almost impossible.
Holly Fitton, writing on Facebook, said: “I have been told to call you for a refund. I don’t want to rebook my flight as it is not possible and to adapt to our work right now.
“I will receive a refund and the money is needed. I called 14 times yesterday and was greeted with the noise of the busy line or” please answer. “
Another, Robin Parker, wrote: “Since my flights have been canceled, how can I get a refund? I don’t want” new flights for which I should pay the difference. “
EasyJet told the BBC: “Customers on canceled flights can transfer for free to an alternative flight or receive a voucher for the value of their online booking or request a refund through our contact center.
“We are experiencing above-average waiting times, so we thank customers for their patience and assure them that these rights will be available long after the canceled flight has flown.”
What are my rights?
- If your flight is canceled, you are entitled to a full refund of the original form of payment within seven days, although many airlines will struggle to meet that deadline. You can accept or decline vouchers or a new booking, but a voucher will likely not be valid if the airline goes bankrupt
- If you decide not to take a future flight, which has not yet been canceled, there will be no refund. Different airlines have different rules on what you can do, but many forgo any expense to upgrade to a later flight or have a voucher. Your travel insurance may cover you
- If you are trying to go home, the airline has a duty to bring you back. However, with so many canceled flights, this has become increasingly difficult. Now, the government has agreed to intervene when necessary to return those stranded
- If you are stuck in the EU and a British or British carrier is not directing you or helping you, you should be able to go home on any possible airline and bill the original airline for the new ticket. The airline is legally obliged to bring you home and they should divert you on your own. If they fail to do so, they are responsible for the cost of returning you home. But you should not cancel and accept a refund as this puts an end to the airline’s duty of care towards you and you will not be able to request a refund. It is better to pay by credit card
‘Change the rules’
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, who represents the industry, said that the financial situation is “very serious” for the sector.
He called on the government to do more to protect airlines so that they can continue operating in the future.
“At the top of the list is allowing airlines to issue vouchers instead of refunds in the event of cancellations, as other EU countries are doing, which would greatly help with liquidity and support airlines in the coming months,” he said.
Travel organization Abta asked for a four-month deadline to pay for package refunds.
However, consumer group Which? he said that even in unprecedented times, customer rights should not be considered an “afterthought”.
“It is essential that companies do their customers good, especially the most vulnerable ones who may urgently need to get their money back,” said Rory Boland, director of Which? Travel.
EasyJet is not alone in facing criticism.
Likewise, customers have reported long waits on the live chat system when pursuing refunds from Ryanair.
BA accused of “hiding” the refund option for frequent flyers. Many airlines are encouraging people to take vouchers instead of refunds.
Some people found themselves stuck in a gray area for refund rights.
Lancashire’s Pam and Bill Storey returned home from Fuerteventura and isolated themselves. He is 70 years old and has hypertension.
Their home flight Jet2 has been canceled. They said they were then invited to rebook on another flight. The couple went online but found the only flight available for € 1,800 (£ 1,592). They booked it expecting Jet2 to reimburse them, but now they are out of pocket.
- EasyJet knocks down the entire fleet of planes because of the virus
- Why do planes still fly?
“We are left very stressed. They have not offered any help with the booking,” said Storey, adding that they feel “abandoned”.
“In the first email they said they would refund us. In the second email they said nothing. Just order your flights.”
He said that their flight was full of people in similar situations, although some were transferred to another flight at no additional cost. He and his wife returned to Leeds Bradford airport, but others had to fly to destinations across the UK.
While in Fuerteventura they were able to go to the supermarket, pharmacy and doctors, but nowhere else. Taxis stopped working but people got together and the hotel staff helped carry luggage to the airport, also helping elderly and disabled guests.
Jet2 did not respond to the BBC’s request for a response to their case.