/ 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:
Today 18:08

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.

Margaret Noding says:
24 July 2020

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

KW says:
28 July 2020

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.