/ Travel & Leisure

Has an airline offered you a voucher instead of a refund?

Refunds are required by law for cancelled flights from EU airports, including the UK. Have you been fobbed off with the offer of a voucher instead?

Now the vast majority of flights to and from the UK have been cancelled, passengers are entitled to refunds if their flight was with an EU carrier or their flight was within the EU.

You don’t have to accept a voucher or a change of date if you don’t want to. This comes directly from the Denied Boarding EU Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC).

The regulation states:

If a flight is cancelled, the airline must offer you the option of being reimbursed or rerouted (either on the next available flight or on an agreed date), and must also provide you with meals and telephone calls.

Despite this, we’ve been inundated with reports both on Which? Conversation and social media of airlines offering vouchers instead.


Our advice and other options

We’ve been clear that airlines, such as British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair, must comply with the law and offer the option of a refund.

It’s not right that many customers say they’re struggling to get information on how to get their money back. While the government must consider all options to support the industry throughout this period, consumers cannot be left without money they’ll need during this uncertain situation.

Guide: what to do when a travel company goes bust

We’d advise anyone who’s been outright refused a refund to continue pressing their airline on this point, while Which? will continue to lobby on their behalf.

If your flight has been cancelled and you paid with a credit or debit card, you could also consider contacting your bank and asking if you’re able to claim the money back.

For credit cards, this can be done with a Section 75 claim if the total cost of your tickets was more than £100. However, we have found that this only tends to work if you’ve been outright refused a refund.

If the cost was less than £100 or you paid on a debit card, you can claim under the chargeback procedure for flights and cancelled holidays by the provider.

Have you been offered a voucher instead of a refund for a cancelled flight? Let us know in the comments so we can continue to make the case for reimbursements on behalf of everyone.

If your flight was cancelled due to the pandemic, what compensation did your airline offer you?
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What's the main reason you don't want a voucher or travel credit?
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CD says:
21 July 2020

I ended up with a voucher because I couldn’t get through to BA. I have just tried to use it to book flights for myself and my wife. BA say I can only use the voucher for my own flight. They also say that because I have a voucher I can no longer have a refund even though that was impossible to get at the time. What a scam. They are still heavily promoting vouchers. My advice is do not accept them, insist on a refund.

raj says:
5 August 2020

I am in the same predicament – we went for vouchers as we could not get in touch with British airways at the time of the cancellation and this was the only thing available to us online. They themselves know that their call centers were inundated and were operating a scaled back call center team.

We didn’t realise that if you get a voucher, you could not get a full refund which is what British airways is saying. This wasn’t explicitly mentioned when we did the online refund via vouchers.

Is anyone else in this same predicament? What have you done to resolve / get your money back?

Please share as we can not let the likes of a big airline such as BA playing on technicalities to not offer a full refund.

Susan Edwards says:
17 August 2020

I am trying to chase £800 from easyjet for cancelled flights april 1st. These were for my sons 21st birthday. After a while he had the option for a voucher but no refund. So he clicked the damn button, he has since tried to get the miney back and now they are saying he choose a voucher so is now not entitled to a refund…..help

We are in exactly the same boat. What now transpires is you cant use the voucher to pay for taxes and charges on a companion ticket. I don’t understand why though and they are just refusing to engage on the issue.

If I had known that the voucher would be this restricted I would have kept pushing for the refund to the credit card.

Yvonne says:
2 December 2020

I am in the same predicament. My flights were cancelled for 3 passengers, I didn’t request a voucher but a few days later got an email from customer services offering a voucher and £5 towards an on-board meal. This email was a surprised to me as I hadn’t requested a voucher. I replied to the email stating that I didn’t request a voucher and didn’t want one and simultaneously filled out the refund claim online. I got no reply from Customer Services and waited 90 days to receive the refund. When that 90 days past I called Customer Services, 1 hour later and after speaking to multiple agents they said ‘you got a voucher so you can’t get a refund’. Despite me stating clearly I didn’t request a voucher. My only option now is to email customer support who apparently have no number to call according to Customer Services. I have emailed customer support with all my emails and refund receipt claim. After a few days of no response I have hit them with a Subject Access Request in relation to my booking reference number. I suspect customer services agents may have targets to convert customers to vouchers rather than refunds, and that this has caused an agent to apply for a voucher in my name thus causing issues with my refund. Everyone knows easyJet are in financial trouble – what they are doing here is keeping cash as an interest free loan to delay refunds. Its just not acceptable.
According to CAA even if you do request a voucher, you are entitled to change your mind and request a refund. They have no excuse for not refunding peoples money.

Three people was to fly to Chicago myself my husband and my Aunt. it was for my Aunt she was 90 years old in May 25th
Our flights were booked for 13th May, but by then every thing had closed down. Of course with my Aunt being 90 we could never have traveled in the pandemic
I myself have C.O.P,D so just could not risk it
The Airline is United Airlines, they offered us credit Vouchers, which we declined because my Aunt wanted to have her birthday in Chicago , she used to live there for 40 years and she would have got together with a few friends for her party. So she will not make a big milestone birthday again My husband and I was chaperoning her on the journey
The last correspondence we had was to say “we will look into it ” that was about 6 weeks ago

After waiting months for SAS to cancel my flights even though Norway was on complete lock down and not allowing any tourists into the country until late July I finally managed to negotiate my way through the cryptic website that tried to get me to accept a voucher. Now eight weeks after applying for a refund I get another email from SAS


Firstly, we would like to apologize for the wait of your pending refund. We understand that this is a cause for frustration. The corona outbreak has resulted in thousands of flight cancellations. This means that a lot of people have applied for refunds – including you. With the great amount of cases that we’re currently processing, it’s going to take time.

As an alternative, we would like to offer you the opportunity to get a voucher for your trip with booking reference XXXXXX.

If you accept this offer, the voucher will cover the entire XXXXXX GBP of your booking. As an extra compensation, we will be issuing you an additional voucher worth 30 GBP per person listed in your booking.

The voucher is a voluntary alternative to getting the monetary refund. It’s usually issued within two days and can be used for booking any trip on our website. You can even use the voucher as part-payment for booking multiple trips within its 12-months validity. Please note that the voucher is non-refundable.

If your refund application is processed and refunded to you before you take part of this offer, you are no longer entitled to the offer.

Kind regards,

This is so annoying, they can issue a voucher in 2 days but no idea when I will get a refund. This has nothing to do with processing time, if they can issue a voucher they can issue a refund in the same time frame.

Mark says:
28 July 2020

I have been told that Rynair will give me a voucher and if I don’t use it within 12 months, only then will I get a cash refund.

I’m absolutely raging. I claimed a refund from easyJet circumventing their attempts to divert me into having a voucher. They acknowledged my request for a refund, recently told me I would get the money in ten days but have now sent me another email today saying I’ve been given a voucher. They cancelled the July flight to Portugal, are clearly legally obliged to refund but it’s next to impossible to email them, they’ve closed their customer chat line and will not take phone calls on the subject. The only recourse I have is to try and get the money back from the credit card company and perhaps complain to the CAA.

M A Khan says:
21 August 2020

I am offered vouchers from Date of travel which was in February 2020.
Only six months left and PIA (Pakistan International airlines) flights are suspended from UK at the moment!

Due to Covid we had to cancel our holiday this summer. Tap Portugal offered vouchers against this year’s flights instead of a refund with a 20% uplift. Great we thought. So for a family of 4 that meant we received 8 voucher codes for 4 tickets booked as a single transaction. 4 vouchers for outward journeys and 4 for the return. This week we tried to book new flights for summer 2021. When you go to re-book the system only allows you input ONE voucher code against your transaction. When booking for family you need to book all the seats at the same time. After about 4 hours on the phone to them they are now saying they can only input THREE vouchers codes maximum against us trying to rebook our flights. NOWHERE on the Ts & Cs does it say this or anywhere on their website. They seem to be making it up as they go along. So basically the vouchers are useless as they won’t now cover the cost of our rescheduled journey. They won’t help on the phone or put us through to anyone senior until we have raised a complaint on their system…. They also say as we’ve accepted vouchers they won’t give us a refund. I don’t know where go with this apart from now pursuing it through our credit card company.

Hi – does anyone know what my rights are for this one please – so I booked fights to Spain with Easyjet which Easyjet then cancelled in July. I went online, somehow got confused as wasn’t clear on how to get a refund and somehow ended up with vouchers which I don’t want. I’ve spoken to Easyjet and they’ve said that now they’ve issue the vouchers they can’t retract this and give me a refund. Their advice is to speak to the Complaints team…

Just wondered if anyone else has done something similar and if so, how do I go about getting a full refund from them?

Sonia Anne Torrance says:
5 October 2020

i opted for voucher from easy jet to use next year but in the mean time easy jet have pulled out of newcastle airport which is where we we flying from and returning to, we cannot travel to another airport as the nearest one is edinbourgh, any advice on what to do

Emirates cancelled my return flight from Kathmandu to Manchester and left me stranded in Nepal for 6 months. I accepted their voucher as I was not notified that I could simply keep my ticket and rebook later. Now when I need to fly home I find that the voucher is worth $223 US but the same flight will now cost me $873 leaving me to find $650…I have complained formally, hoping they will cancel the voucher and reinstate my original ticket and they say they are investigating further.

I was offered vouchers by Easyjet for a flight to NIce from Newcastle due to depart when France was added to the Quarantine list. Easyjet has now withdrawn all flights out of Newcastle Airport. My partner has mobility issues so it’s not feasible for us to travel from an airport further away such as Edinburgh. They have ignored my emails explaining this and requesting a refund. Any advice appreciated. Thanks

Bob Down says:
24 February 2022

Did not want a BA travel voucher as assummed they would only put up the prices of the flights in the future and I would have to pay more for the original flight than was booked . I expected like for like flights at the same price. As I suspected they have increased the flights that now will cost me another 2 K Each. So I pay furlough through taxes to support thier staff . I phone a number at 0.07p a minute and no one answers had to ring off after 3 hrs and they retain my money in their bank for 10 months. Sorry BA You are not losing losing the plot You have lost it . Petition required to break up your landing slots for southern england.