/ Travel & Leisure

We’re taking your travel stories to the CAA

The situation with travel refunds isn’t improving, so we’re now reporting companies that are openly breaking the law to the Civil Aviation Authority. Share your story.

28/05/2020 Update

We’ve heard from you on Which? Conversation how difficult it has been to get a refund for your cancelled flights.

Now, new research from a Which? Travel survey of more than 2,800 customers has shown more of the scope of the problem, with Ryanair proving to be the worst of the UK’s four major airlines at providing a refund.

Ryanair, like other EU and UK airlines, is legally required to issue refunds within seven days of cancellation. Of the Ryanair customers surveyed by Which?, just 5% reported receiving their money back in this time, with 84% still waiting to receive anything.

Are you a passenger still waiting on a refund? Share your story with us, and we’ll take it to the Civil Aviation Authority.

22/05/2020 Taking your stories to the CAA

Despite publishing our ten-point plan almost a month ago, we have yet to see the government take any significant action to ensure that people get their refunds back for cancelled flights and holidays.

Instead, passengers continue to face an uphill battle as some airlines suggest they will have to wait up to a year to get back the money that they are owed.

Our research has already called out companies that are breaking the law by failing to refund customers and we’ve raised concerns that industry behaviour risks permanent damage to the sector.

Record low trust

In fact, our latest Consumer Insight Tracker shows that trust in airlines and holiday companies is at an all-time low – with overall trust dropping from a net score of nine in February 2020 to -12 in May 2020.

This drop of 21 points is the lowest score ever recorded in the seven years Which? has collected the data.

Seven in 10 people surveyed by Which? who had booked a holiday or flight prior to the lockdown had some or all of their plans cancelled, with the majority (58%) still waiting for their money to be returned to them.

Of those waiting for their money back for a cancelled trip, nearly half (47%) have been left more than £500 out of pocket, and nearly three in 10 (27%) are owed more than £1,000.

This is only going to get worse as we approach the summer holidays and more and more people inevitably have their flights or holidays cancelled. It’s time for the government to intervene to support the industry and make sure that trust in travel is not permanently damaged.

Sharing your stories with the CAA

There is a clear need for the government to make sure that airlines and travel companies refund their customers, especially as many people may find themselves in financial difficulty of their own.

Consumers should not have to prop up the travel industry

That’s why our ten-point plan has called for the government and the regulator to urgently introduce measures, including a Travel Guarantee Fund, to support the industry to fulfil its legal obligations to its customers.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recently announced it will be reviewing airlines’ handling of refunds during this crisis and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating cancellations and refunds for UK holiday accommodation.

We’re now compiling your stories of airlines letting passengers down to take to the regulator.

Share your story here

Is your airline openly breaking the law? Submit your story, and let us know about your experience in the comments.

Comments
Hilary FitzGerald says:
22 May 2020

Hi, firstly thank you for doing this. Here’s my sorry tale:
08/02/20 – booked flights to Tenerife online with Ryanair with my Visa card – Cost £1,283.94 for 08/04/20 – 14/04/20.

16/03/20 – email from Ryanair asking if I’d like to postpone the flights to “the future”

20/03/20 – email from Ryanair cancelling the flights. Offered a refund (with the promise to pay within 7 working days of receiving an application) OR a chance to re-book without any fee charged.

20/03/20 – I applied for a refund using Ryanair’s email link and received an acknowledgement that I would receive a refund within 5-7 working days (if my request was approved). I was therefore expecting to receive a full refund by 31/03/20 at the latest.

24/03/20 – another email from Ryanair exactly like the one on 20/03/20
24/03/20 – I responded again via the link requesting a refund.

06/04/20 – I emailed Ryanair customer services and forwarded my copy of their acknowledgement screen for my initial refund request (20/03/20), asking when they would be making my refund as it was due by 27/03/20.

09/04/20 – Ryanair sent a holding email, saying they were very busy and my refund was in a queue.

20/04/20 – Ryanair sent an email to say I have been issued with a voucher for future use (valid until 18th April 2021). I clicked through the link “If you do not wish to accept this voucher option and wish to move your flight or request a refund, please click here to contact us.” and used the Ryanair online refund request. Started with a Chatbot that told me it couldn’t deal with specific bookings and didn’t answer my question so I asked to speak to support. 20 minutes later is was “chatting” online with their agent “John P”. I have screenshots of my discussion with him, which is a good job as they didn’t send me a transcription of the call. John agreed to change my status from “Voucher” to “Refund” and gave me their standard info that due to government distancing advice etc it is onerous to make refunds when working from home and difficult to say exactly when I would receive it. I pressed him, stating that I really needed the money and needed an idea of what the timescale was likely to be (bearing in mind that I should have been paid by the end of March). He told me it usually takes 28 days (from now as only now has my request been formally noted as for a refund, despite having asked for one on 20/03/20).

28/04/20 – Ryanair sent me another email:
“Dear Customer,
You have recently received an email with a voucher code to the value of your original booking.
Please note that this voucher is valid for 12 Months and can be used for your future travel plans, please note that if you do not use the voucher the voucher before the expiry date you will receive a full cash refund, in the event you use the voucher in part you will also receive the option of a voucher for the balance or a cash refund after the expire date.
Please click on the link below to accept the voucher”

I did not click on the link.

Tried to email them back with:
“Dear Ryanair,
Thank you for your email. I will not click on the link because I do not accept a voucher. I requested a full refund on 29/03/20 which I still have not received. Please repay our money (booking ref *******). Thank you.
Yours faithfully”
BUT the mail was returned as their inbox was full !!!

I re-directed the email to ‘ryanairen@ryanair.com’ (which I took from the Ryanair website customer services page). I got an automated email reply to this, just directing me back into the claims queue.

30/04/20 spoke to VISA company re making a claim against Ryanair for not refunding as promised. They advised:
• We have 120 days from the date of the flight (8th April) to make this claim.
• We will get one chance to claim – VISA would give us the credit and then Ryanair get 60 days to dispute this refund. If they successfully dispute the refund then the money would be taken back from us and Ryanair could then withhold subsequent payment to us as we are now “in dispute”, rather than accepting their offer.
• At the moment re the VISA guidance we have not declined their offer and must wait to see when they are going to pay.
Decided to wait a bit longer to see if I get my refund (need to apply to VISA by 04/08/20).

22/05/20 I have not yet received any money back.

This is really frustrating and a shocking “customer service” policy, not to mention straying across the fringes of legality. I really would appreciate any help you can give me, either with direct advice to me or as part of a more general approach to the CAA.

With many thanks.

RYANAIR FULL YEAR PROFITS UP 13% TO €1BN
https://investor.ryanair.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Ryanair-FY20-Results.pdf

I cannot find an email for M O’Leary but this might be worth contacting hutchinsonb@ryanair.com

”That’s why our ten-point plan has called for the government and the regulator to urgently introduce measures, including a Travel Guarantee Fund, to support the industry to fulfil its legal obligations to its customers.

How is this fund to be provided? I hope it will be by a levy on the travel industry (so travellers) and not by government “support” – that is, by the taxpayer. We have enough financial problems already, with more to come, so need no more that favour particular sectors if they should be on the edge. We don’t normally refund consumers from taxpayers’ pockets when they lose money due to a company failure.

Em says:
23 May 2020

If there is now a need for a Travel Guarantee Fund, could someone in the know – preferably Which? who are promoting this idea – please explain why the current regulations are failing?

It would seem obvious to me that payments made by the consumer towards the cost of a future holiday should be held it trust (i.e. the money is ring-fences for the consumer until the bargain is fulfilled – as with house purchase deposits, etc.). I have always operated that way with amounts paid for the music business I manage, particularly weddings where the amounts are significant and the outcome is never guaranteed. The money is not mine until the fat lady sings.

Reading up on the various protection schemes available to the travel industry (ABTA, ATOL, TTA, … ) it appears there is a legal requirement to hold some kind of bond or insurance against corporate failure. But what form does this bond or insurance scheme take, if it does not hold the equivalent amounts to those falling due if a holiday is cancelled? And why are those funds not available to draw on, if the liabilities are reducing through offering refunds?

Is the bond/insurance just a peppercorn amount that will never cover the operator’s obligations to refund in full?

How is a Travel Guarantee Fund different, and who is going to underwrite it? And who can afford to contribute to this at the very moment when the travel industry cannot meet its current obligations, let alone future ones?

Very good points, Em.

I have always presumed that the CAA sits on funds provided by tour operators in return for their ATOL licences and is used from time to time for repatriations and travel disruption compensation if the operator is liquidated or defaults. I doubt such sums would be sufficient to make much of a dent in the refund obligations now arising. As every day passes the operators are no doubt reorganising their finances to minimise the impact of refunds on their current trading.

I have no idea what the underlying financial support for the ABTA protection scheme is or what it actually protects or provides when things go wrong. It seems to me to be more of an accreditation scheme confirming that the operator is a paid-up member of ABTA and therefore complies with the basic terms and conditions of membership [e.g. code of practice, standards and obligations, complaints procedures, disciplinary code, etc] in order to foster good practice within the travel trade and thereby improve public trust. That is basically a trade protection function that has some spin-offs for the public good.

I am afraid I know even less about the TTA [Travel Trade Association] except, as its name suggests, it is a support network for the trade and provides various operational and developmental services to its members. The ‘consumer protection’ it provides is not for the direct benefit of travel trade customers but for its own members [the association’s consumers]. I do not get the impression that it will be of much help to the public in the present circumstances and could actually be in conflict with the consumer interests recognised by Which?.

Perhaps Which? could explain how current schemes work and, as well as demanding something must be done, make known their thoughts on what should be done and how that could be achieved.

You’re asking a lot there, Malcolm. It’s name is Which?, not How?.

Perhaps it could launch a sister publication with the title you suggest – or at least a Convo topic. It does trade on the aim of making consumers as powerful as the organisations they have to deal with. But has it the ability to fulfil that aim or is it just one of those once-popular mission statements that were rarely lived up to?

Alison Jones says:
23 May 2020

Alpine Elements .Package holiday for 6 people, ski holiday with all extras , lift pass etc, total cost £7800, due to travel 6/4/2020.
Cancelled by company, contract says refund within 14 days, as per norm, being offered vouchers, refunded, now being told refund could take until Jan 2021!They tell me they are waiting for refunds from suppliers, as there was a month or six weeks at best of ski season left I don’t see there being much to recoup so where is my refund?
Most annoying is they are advertising on their website that” your money is safe with us, blah , blaa”
I don’t see where my money is going to come from if they don’t have it now!

Hi Alison. This sounds really frustrating – if your holiday was cancelled, you are entitled to a refund by law and you don’t have to accept a voucher. Which? advice states: ‘If your flight or package holiday was cancelled, you don’t have to accept a voucher or credit note, nor do you have to rebook. You are legally entitled to a refund. Make this clear to the firm, in writing. If it still won’t do the right thing, you could try to claim through your card provider.’ I’ve also seen a lot of other stories where people have been told they have to wait for a certain amount of time to be issued their refund, which is really frustrating.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/coronavirus-outbreak-advice-for-travellers/

One of the risks with the present situation in which travel operators are deferring or side-stepping the payment of mandatory refunds is that they hope to use the money from new holiday sales to reimburse travellers whose trips were cancelled this Spring. This is basically unsustainable and could just be building up liquidity problems for the future making holiday bookings even more fraught with potential uncertainties and failures.

One of the problems with looking for a way out of this dilemma is that the front end of the travel trade has very few capital assets that can be used either as security to ease cash flow problems or for conversion into
value to maintain the ongoing business. Nobody wants to see a panic-led foreclosure of the present operators thus preventing them from paying the obligatory refunds but some do not deserve to be kept afloat at public expense. Relaxing the refund timescales will only bring a short period of relief. Government bankrolling of the refund credit notes and future travel vouchers for a temporary period would be helpful but could also throw a burden onto the taxpayer in the event of company default and collapse.

I share Malcolm’s concern at potential taxpayer exposure to bailouts and refund liabilities. It would not be equitable, given the prevailing impact of covid-19 on vulnerable and poorer people, to support the affluent end of the market to the full extent of their losses just because an EU ordinance said so several years ago. The regulations were made without any premonition of the present circumstances which are unprecedented and exceptional so, in my view, should be distinguished from the run-of-the-mill incidents and circumstances that give rise to refunds for relatively small numbers of people at a time.

In the event of default by operators, the CAA will presumably be expected to take over the administration of their ATOL-protected refunds, pick up the bill, and possibly become preferential creditors in a liquidation process – but, as mentioned earlier, there will be very few assets on which to exercise distraint and pickings will be thin as overdue staff wages and secured creditors will come first.

I don’t think there is an overall satisfactory solution to this problem. I guess the government’s apparent lack of action or response to Which?’s 10-Point Plan is because it is not comfortable with its implications for the public finances. The travel industry’s generally disengaged attitude to refunds is indicative of a feeling that the money paid by travellers was entirely disposable because it was going to be spent on a holiday; the government might share that view and consider it a low-priority expense given the other demands on the Exchequer and the stronger claims of other disadvantaged groups.

I would suggest, for consideration, that one way out is to agree that every adult passenger should meet the first £300 of their loss, that the full amount of any loss between £300 and £600 should be refunded by the CAA [possibly in stages over a two-year period], and that 30% of any loss above £600 should be refunded up to a maximum of £180. There should be additional relief for people who have been thrown out of work as a direct result of the emergency legislation after the beginning of March 2020; this could take the form of loans at 1% interest. Such a proposal contains many elements that could be tweaked to obtain alternative outcomes. The moneys spent by the CAA in this way should be recouped from the travel industry through increased licence fees or by a special turnover-related levy. This would increase the cost of pleasure trips and holidays, but these are not essential expenditures.

We all want to avoid financial loss and find ways we can recover it. So what about all those whose investments have suffered from COVID-19 – loss of income, pension and value from companies that have gone bust. Do we recompense them?

There are so many undesirable effects of COVID placing financial stress on us all. What are the priorities?

Em says:
23 May 2020

There should be additional relief for people who have been thrown out of work as a direct result of the emergency legislation after the beginning of March 2020; this could take the form of loans at 1% interest.

I don’t agree with that! What’s the difference between:

a) a £1000 holiday booked for 1 March 2020, and

b) a £1000 holiday booked for 1 April 2020.

Currently, neither party has anything of any material value.

Party a) has a few selfies and no hope of recovering any money spent. But Party b) has the chance of their now unaffordable expenditure being refunded, at least in part. And they get a low interest loan to reward their imprudence as well? Where does it stop?

IFA says:
23 May 2020

Absolutely malcolm r!

People who have invested in the stock market for their retirement have seen 30% – 40% wiped off SIPP values. They may recover, they may not. But substantial amounts of money – much more than the cost of any single holiday – will be lost if you are forced to crystallise your pension now; quite possibly as a result of losing your job due to Covid-19. And the Government are already warming us up to the idea of abolishing the triple lock on the meagre state pension.

I can’t see that government compensation is warranted to pay back those who “invest” their money in holidays that have no material value the minute they fly home. It’s the ultimate discretionary spend. At least a new car has some residual value you can recoup, should you fall on hard times.

If you don’t agree, go and join the queue headed up by the people who have lost money they need to live on in later years, all let down by the government, courts and respective regulators.

Equitable Life non-GAR pensioners had to dip their hands in their own pockets to help bail out GAR pensioners, who also lost some of what they were promised.
Travellers should do the same to help each other, rather than expect taxpayer funded government hand-outs.

But I thought investment was, at its heart, a gambling game? Do correct me if I’m wrong, but I wasn’t aware that any stock market investment had a guaranteed return?

It sounds worryingly like the Names at the Lloyds of London Asbestos scandal in the ’80s, where, in exchange for handsome tax benefits and the promise of substantial returns, the Names pledged to cover losses which, in many cases, far exceeded their means. When that happened, they turned to the courts, arguing that it was terribly unfair that they’d actually lost money doing what they’d promised.

We only have the shares passed down to us by my father, which have performed well, and shares in Grid, which have performed extremely well. But if they hadn’t I would accept that as part of the risk one takes.

I am not suggesting that any public money is used to refund travellers whose holidays have been cancelled but any scheme has to be authorised and managed by the government.

Whether we like it or not the ATOL scheme is a government pledge of last resort and the government cannot renege on it absolutely. I am suggesting a way of managing the situation reasonably equitably given that some people do now actually need their refunds in monetary form whereas they might not have known that when they booked their holiday.

My suggested March 2020 cut-off date was based on the coronavirus legislation date, not on the departure date. People on holiday before the lockdown were unlikely to have had it cancelled.

As has been pointed out, there is a big difference between those who have lost a holiday and those whose whole life has been turned upside down. I feel that Which? should temper its demands on behalf of the former and be more considerate to the interests of the latter.

Investment is a gamble. Precisely – you cannot be certain how a company will perform in the future. We take that risk knowingly and don’t expect compensation from the state or anyone else (well, some might). Paying a company for a service in advance, either in part or in full, is also a gamble as you do not know whether they will, or can, fulfil their part of the bargain when the time comes. In the latter case I believe you can insure against loss. Not in the former.

Ah. The return of the anonymous downer.

I have done first aid, Malcolm. It’s probably someone who has paid for a holiday and not received a refund.

Agreed, Malcolm.

The golden rule with investment was never to commit more than you could afford to lose.

The same should perhaps be applied to holidays. Probably not because some risk is inevitable in the world we live in and cannot all be hedged without making travel prohibitively expensive. This emergency will pass and we should learn from it ending up with a better market and safer operators. One of the lessons is to be wary of on-line-only travel intermediaries who do very little and leave travellers in the lurch when things go wrong.

Gambling and financial investment are characterised by an element of greed, but good gamblers and investors will write off their losses – not expect others to cover them.

I think I may have a solution Malcolm. As soon as you report an anonymous downer, report it and those in agreement can immediately reinstate it as I intend to do. The alternative is for 3 people to press the report button and make your point known.

It seems to be working Malcolm, you now have 2 thumbs up 🙂

Thanks Beryl 😀

Someone is having a laugh Malcolm your 2 thumbs up have been negated. I will press the report button. We need 2 more!

IFA says:
24 May 2020

Gambling, investment, call it what you will. The fact is that many of those saving for a pension – including employees with company or workplace pension schemes – are now heavily dependent on stock market investments and returns to provide an income in retirement. Interest rates have been decimated by successive government “quantitative easings” – with no doubt more to come following the current debacle.

Sure there are some people who try to play any system, including the stock market. I wonder how many Universal Credit and furlough claims are genuine? But stock markets originated and are still the primary source of capital to enable Western economies to operate.

Stock market “gamblers” have €6.8 Billion invested in IAG, the parent company of British Airways, half that amount in EasyJet and a whopping $25 Billion in Carnival Cruises (P&O et al). People clamouring for refunds should be careful not to bite the hand that feeds them, or there will be no holidays left to take.

Some people think the glory days of ocean-going cruises and long-distance travel to oriental pleasure domes are over anyway now. A shortage of cash at home will draw in many people’s horizons and fears over conditions on aeroplanes and cruise ships will dampen enthusiasm further.

The dividends that prop up pension schemes are already heading downhill fast so the damage is done for investment returns. If share prices fall far enough new investors will be drawn in; eventually confidence will return and luxury foreign holidays will bounce back in a year or two.

There will be plenty of surplus capacity in the form of ships and planes that new operators could acquire so new opportunities will emerge. The recovery from the current crisis is bound to involve various forms of economic stimulus that will attract investors and generate healthy yields so I don’t buy all this pessimism; yes, the immediate future will be bleak but stability will return and the overall long term position looks no worse today than it did at new year.

If more of people’s hard-earned money stays in the UK over the next few years that will be no bad thing. Retail spending figures show that a lot of money is being saved at the moment and that will work its way out into the market in due course.

One of the questions that this whole business gives rise to is what sort of solvency margin and protections should there be in order to offer services a long time before they are to be delivered.

If the true state of Thomas Cook had been in the public domain things might have been very different and the company would have been wound up before it had made so many unfulfillable commitments and saved a lot of heartache and public expense in getting people back home.

Should travel companies be allowed to trade on tomorrow’s income for today’s operations? Is ‘light touch’ regulation [i.e. hardly any] appropriate for such an industry?

As I have said before, the travel trade promises dreams but gives us nightmares. It will no doubt recover because of overwhelming public demand, but restoring trust will be a long haul flight with turbulence along the way.

Ian Murray-Watson says:
25 May 2020

I had a flight biooked from Amsterdam with Transavia. It was cancelled. The airline has repeatedly refused a refund despite at least a dozen emails from me refusing a voucher, and depite admitting in emails that they are obligated to provide a refund. They claim support for their position from the Dutch government. Appeal;s through an arbitrator have had no effect. A direct appeal to the EU Commission resulted in their asserting that the law still stands, but they seem unable or unwilling to enforce it. Transavia have now sent a voucher, which I have (again) refused. My bank has initiated chargeback proceedings against them, but there is no guarantee that this will be successful. It amounts to little more than disgraveful bullying on the part of Transavia.

Hi Ian, sounds so frustrating for you. You are right to refuse the voucher when you are entitled to a cash refund for a cancelled flight. Let us know how you get on with the chargeback proceedings, as our advice also states that you can try this option if you have no luck with the airline.

Em says:
26 May 2020

Lufthansa has just received a €9bn investment from Germany. Yesterday it was the turn of AirFrance-KLM to receive €7bn French and €2-4bn Dutch Government support.

Lufthansa are no.2 and AirFrance-KLM no.4 in Europe by passenger numbers.

RyanAir is no.1, IAG (British Airways / Iberia) is no.3 and easyJet is fifth. How long can they hold out?

Trell Burton says:
27 May 2020

Booked 2 week holiday to Lefkada with TUI. Paid for in good time – approx. £2700 for my mum and me. Supposed to go in 2 and a half weeks (14th June 2020). Despite the Greek government stating it’s not open for international tourists until 1st July (some possibly on 15th June), and the UK govt advising against all but essential travel, TUI hasn’t contacted us or updated what’s happening. I have left repeated messages with them, found it impossible to contact them by phone – hearing a recorded message basically saying they were closed.
Replies from TUI on Facebook to those with similar concerns (I haven’t been lucky enough to get a reply) repeatedly say, ‘Don’t worry, your holiday won’t be cancelled.’
If we were going, obviously taxis need to be booked, pets taken care of, not to mention the bits and bobs you need to buy to take with you. It’s very stressful to live with this uncertainty.

Hi Trell, sorry to hear about your experience with TUI. It’s definitely true that a lot of people aren’t hearing about what is happening with their flights or holiday until very close to the scheduled time – many flights aren’t being cancelled until a few days before in some instances. The UK government is set to bring in quarantine rules on 8 June. Arrivals into the UK will be required to isolate for 14 days – including UK nationals returning from holiday, making a lot of trips abroad impractical. I hope you hear back from TUI soon.

This page is really helpful in providing some advice – https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/airline-train-accommodation-wont-cancel-but-restrictions-mean-i-cant-travel-can-i-get-my-money-back/

One of the things that needs to be considered in any review of the handling of flights and holidays during the present emergency [unlikely to be the last] is the extent to which companies have been hiding behind the lockdown to shut down proper communication with their customers who are entitled to receive important and timely information on their travel plans.

Obviously it was right that travel agencies had to close their outlets to minimise the risk of infection but I cannot believe the difficulties reported by so many people to Which? Conversation were entirely justified. Understandably, some staff might have to self-isolate, some might actually be ill and cannot do any form of work, and not all staff can work effectively from home, but it does seem that the travel trade has been avoiding its customers and refusing to engage with them over cancellations, refunds, and other issues. It is possible that, in order to save money, more staff were put on furlough than was advisable or necessary for maintaining a proper service.

It would be useful if some form of reckoning was attempted by Which? – possibly through a Connect survey – to find out which firms were the most helpful and which the least helpful [or deliberately unhelpful] during this crisis so that people can support the good ones in the future.

I really cannot believe that anyone who has subscribed to Which magazine has booked flights with Ryanair. If you’re on a beach and fancy a swim would you really rush in past the red flag?

Life is not always that straightforward, Nick. Some friends have a property in Spain and Ryanair are the only airline flying from a convenient UK airport to a Spanish airport near their place. I don’t know whether or not they are Which? subscribers but they are certainly savvy consumers.

We have never flown with Ryanair ourselves but for those who want a convenient no-frills short transit it can be an economical and satisfactory experience and probably no worse than with some other operators.

Jan Headen says:
31 May 2020

I booked a package with Expedia 27/12/2019. The package was for outward bound flight to Pisa with Jet2, hotel in Lucca then return flight to Manchester with EasyJet. All booked through Expedia.
I have had a refund from JET2 because flight out to Pisa cancelled (they have been brilliant). Therefore we are unable to get to our destination but not heard a thing from Expedia as we would like a full refund. Hotel has said they are planning to open for the period of our booking (but we cant get there). EasyJet have said we can claim a voucher to use in the next 12 months (but we want a refund as they may collapse and if we cant get there… we cant take a return flight). I have sent e mails to Expedia using an e mail address then last Friday using the same e mail it acknowledged my e mail but said I would not get a reply as it is unmonitored (even though I’d used the same e mail address about 2 weeks ago). I believe they are playing games and are making it as difficult as possible for customers to contact them. Trying to use their support links just takes you around in circle or does not apply to your enquiry. Please Help!!

Jan – I can’t help you directly but I can recommend you to report this to the CAA which is the regulator and the enforcement authority for air travel in the UK and manages the ATOL protection scheme. Under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 you have the right to a refund and I suggest you submit a formal claim in writing to Expedia.

I also recommend you to visit Lucca one day as soon as that is possible again. It is a delightful town. I would also recommend staying on the coast at Viareggio for a few days if your itinerary allows; it’s an easy train ride from Lucca.

Jan – Yesterday I forgot to include a link to Which?’s guidance on the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations which give you your consumer rights. Here it is –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/package-travel-regulations

Ann Spencer says:
1 June 2020

An update on my experience, please bear with me here! Booked package holiday with Jet2 for 10 nights in Portugal 16th March. I also booked a 3 night stay in Lisbon with 1 night in Faro before catching the early train to Lisbon the following morning, I had also booked and paid for 2 cultural trips in Lisbon all independently of Jet2. On 15th March my accomodation in Lisbon contacted me advising that Lisbon was implementing social distancing and that bars and restaurants were shutting down and day tours were being cancelled due to coronavirus therefore I cancelled my Lisbon trip, the hotel in Faro and my train tickets.
I then did some research into what was happening at the resort I was booked to stay at and it was a similar story, social distancing, bars and restaurants shutting down, restrictions on the amount of people allowed in shops and planned beach bans. I rang Jet2 with my concerns and was told my holiday was going ahead the following day and the FCO had not advised against travel to Portugal and I was advised not to cancel as it was so close to departure and I would lose everything. Reluctantly and thinking I would be financially protected I flew out as scheduled on 16th March. I received a text from Jet2 the following day 17th apologising that my scheduled flight to the UK on 26th March was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak and my new flight was the very next day 18th March. Less than three days on holiday.
I have been battling for a refund ever since finally being offered a partial refund of £146.24 they say this is because my holiday was made up of flights, transfers and hotel blah blah and they just keep repeating that as a UK airline they were following the advice of the FCO…phew! sorry it’s so long winded and of course I would like to know if it’s worth pursuing for the whole amount of £638.07? a recent email states they cannot offer any further amount and I feel dismissed like a naughty schoolgirl by them saying I have reached the end of my enquiry… shouldn’t I be the judge of that?!

Ann – Yes, I think you should assert your consumer rights and continue to pursue your request for a full refund. Jet2 have generally been behaving better than other airlines according to correspondents to this site, but I feel they have let you down with the confusion over the flight departures and cancellations.

As a package holiday, your trip was covered by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations which give you your consumer rights. Here is a link to Which?’s guidance –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/package-travel-regulations

Isla says:
1 June 2020

A full refund is not due. I am not entirely clear from Ann’s post if this is a package holiday or not, and how many nights accommodation you paid Jet2 for. You should have an ATOL certificate, if package holiday regulations apply.

Even if that is the case, Jet2 are only liable to make a pro-rata refund for those elements of the holiday they could not provide:

16.—(2) The organiser must offer the traveller an appropriate price reduction for any period during which there is a lack of conformity, unless the organiser proves that the lack of conformity is attributable to the traveller.

(3) The organiser must offer the traveller, without undue delay, appropriate compensation for any damage which the traveller sustains as a result of any lack of conformity.

(4) The traveller is not entitled to compensation for damages under paragraph (3) if the organiser proves that the lack of conformity is

(a) attributable to the traveller;
(b) attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the travel services included in the package travel contract and is unforeseeable or unavoidable; or
(c) due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.

Since 16.2 applies, Jet2 are not liable for a full refund, and 16.4(c) there is no entitlement to compensation.

It would seem that Jet2 have carried out their transport obligations to the letter by repatriating Ann on the next available flight. The only dispute should be over the value of the accommodation lost. If we assume that is £500 of the package cost, and therefore £400 pro-rata for nights not provided, then around £250 is in dispute, not the whole amount.

Isla – Ann did say at the beginning of her comment that it was a package holiday, including 10 nights in Portugal [she booked three additional nights in Lisbon and one in Faro independently].

It would seem that Ann had only one clear day of holiday, 17 March. Arrival was on 16th and departure on 18th. She was prevented from using her four other days of holiday booked independently.

So out of ten nights included in the package, Ann had two before having to return home. I therefore feel that she should claim a refund for the eight nights lost under the package.

As a direct result of the cancellation of the scheduled return flight on 26 March Ann lost the four other nights’ bookings she had made separately. I would consider that to be a consequential loss for which she can claim compensation.

I feel it is Jet2’s responsibility to make the case for any reductions in the refund or the compensation for consequential loss. I don’t believe Jet2 has the right to close down the claim or to refuse to discuss a settlement because they are not in a position to pay any higher amount. Surely Ann has the right to press her claim further, through legal action if necessary, if she considers it in her interests to do so?

Sounds like Ann should contact Which? Legal with the full facts and find out her entitlement. It seems unlikely to be worth contacting a solicitor as she has less than £500 at stake; much of that may go if her consultation and subsequent action is not covered by a free session.

Ann Spencer says:
2 June 2020

Hi John, yes Jet2 do seem to have generally been behaving better than other airlines and I have been holidaying with them for years but on this occasion I do feel very let down.
I would like to mention the following scenario which has added much confusion to the situation. My partner was booked on this holiday with me but very sadly and suddenly he passed away and I made the decision to go on this holiday alone. The booking was amended to reflect this on 9th February and I was assured that every aspect of the booking, room, board basis, flights and transfers would remain the same the only change being it was in my name only. On arrival at the hotel though they had not been informed and enquired where the other guest was and if they were on another flight etc I informed them of the circumstances and received condolence and I thought it had been amended there and then. However on checking out on 18th a different receptionist asked where the other guest was and were they staying on. When I informed her of the circumstances she fled in tears and the check out procedure was not completed as my transfer coach arrived.
Since my return and up until 18th May I kept receiving confirmation bookings for this holiday complete with ATOL certificates and transfer and hotel vouchers. Bizarrely on of these confirmations had had the room changed from 1x Deluxe Double or Twin to 2 x Deluxe Double or Twin. I have since discovered that this booking was for some reason still active.
When I requested that they stopped sending these I was simply told to delete them as I didn’t need them!
I would certainly like some answers from Jet2 on this I neither want nor expect preferential treatment because of this but am wondering if all this angst is worth my time, energy and emotion.

Ann Spencer says:
2 June 2020

Hi Isla yes it was a package holiday which included flights, transfers and hotel for 10 nights with four of those nights away from the hotel i.e one night in Faro and three nights in Lisbon and the last two nights back at my original hotel booked within the Jet2 package.
In one of they say I was provided with flights and transfers I have been charged for them and understand that.
They also say that the hotelier have charged them (Jet2) for the nights I stayed there and was provided with my room and board basis as booked and for this reason they have offered a refund of the unused portion of my hotel stay.
I still think this is wrong especially as I was told on the 15th which was the day before my departure not to cancel as I would lose everything with it being so close to departure which made me believe I was financially protected.
It seems not to be the case and in hindsight I am beginning to wish I had cancelled as £146.24 is almost a total financial loss anyway.
Thank you for your response, I do appreciate it, stay safe and well 🙂

Ann Spencer says:
2 June 2020

Yes Malcolm I did consider that but as you pointed out it is not really financially viable and may well add to the frustrations of it!
Thanks to everyone here doing amazing jobs to help and advise us…so grateful! 🙂

Pauline Beirne says:
2 June 2020

My daughter wants to cancel a flight to Bali booked before lock down for Sept. She can no longer travel and is worried about travel restrictions. Klm will not let her cancel even though she has given them 6 months notice. She is very worried. Klm website says vouchers only for flights up to August 30th. What action can she take. Flights cost over £400

Hi Pauline. That’s disappointing that they won’t let her change the flights, I wonder if she waits a while longer, KLM will extend the period in which you can change the flights to a later date. The airline will only be able to provide a refund for flights that are cancelled – if your daughter cancels the flight herself she won’t be eligible. It may be that travel restrictions are eased significantly by September. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/airline-train-accommodation-wont-cancel-but-restrictions-mean-i-cant-travel-can-i-get-my-money-back/

Ann Spencer says:
2 June 2020

Argh! no idea why those emojis are at the end of my comments…not there intentionally, don’t want to offend anyone at all 🙂

What confuses me is not emojis but the fact that you are Ann Spencer on this page and under Recent comments your username is Tatty2Shoes and you have an avatar. Others share the same skill. 🙂

Ann Spencer says:
3 June 2020

Hi wave change, do you think I am an imposter… or perhaps a troll? :-/ you are correct in that I have a username and avatar.
Unfortunately I have been unable to gain access as both my username and password were not recognised on the many attempts I made to sign in. Likewise all attempts to reset my password failed.
This may have something to do with the fact that my laptop now has a life of it’s own doing what it likes rather than what I would like.
So I abandoned my alter ego and posted on here instead on a different device which was far easier. I hope this alleviates your confusion…my own continues apace! take care 🙂 no emoji!

Hi Ann – I am not suggesting anything like that. I’m just confused by the fact that the software makes it possible for you and some others to do this. At one stage Alfa, who is one of our regulars, had three avatars shown on the system.

If you want to get the problem sorted out you could contact conversation.comments@which.co.uk

An advantage of being logged in is that you can easily see if anyone has responded to your posts.

See you soon.