Just five per cent of nearly 2,800 airline customers who had flights cancelled since mid-March as a result of the pandemic said they had their money returned to them within seven days – the time frame that EU carriers are legally obliged to process refunds within. Only one in six Ryanair customers have received a refund at all.
Which? surveyed nearly 2,800 airline customers that had flights cancelled since mid-March as a result of the global pandemic, to find out about their experience with their airline. Of those, over 1,600 people told Which? they asked their airline for a cash refund.
Ryanair was the worst of the UK’s four biggest airlines for processing refunds for cancelled flights, with 84 per cent of those who asked for a refund telling Which? they have still not received their money back.
Travellers have complained repeatedly about the airline’s approach to processing refunds, with numerous changes to its approach to refunds confusing customers of their options.
Despite initially telling customers it was processing refunds at the beginning of the crisis, customers reported that Ryanair provided refund forms that didn’t work, before attempting to force vouchers on passengers who had specifically requested refunds. It also repeatedly changed the timeframe for receiving a refund, suggesting at one point customers may have to wait up to 12 months for their money back.
Easyjet customers also reported finding it difficult to get a refund. Just one in seven Easyjet customers received a refund within seven days, and around three in five are still waiting for their money back.
In contrast, a quarter of British Airways customers and one in five Jet2 customers are still waiting for their money back, with four in 10 BA customers receiving their money back within the legal time frame, and three in 10 Jet2 customers refunded within the seven day window.
British Airways has previously been criticised for its approach to refunding customers, removing its online form for requesting a refund and instead directing customers to a phone line where they are often unable to speak to someone due to high call volumes.
A spokesman for EasyJet said the company was processing refunds for customers and aims to do so in less than 28 days.
Ryanair said that the process time for cash refunds was “taking longer due to the fact we are having to process 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and have fewer staff available due to social distancing measures”.
It added: “Customers who choose not to accept a free move or voucher will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank our customers for bearing with us”.
A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.Joy YatesEditorial Director