Passengers on ‘illegal’ Covid flights will not be reimbursed as the government abandons its intentions.
According to reports, government ministers have canceled plans to require airlines to refund passengers who booked ‘illegal’ Covid flights. Customers having tickets for flights that become ‘illegal’ due to Covid limitations will not be entitled to a refund.
Ministers are alleged to have dropped proposals to give the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) more authority over refund enforcement. Passengers who claim they are entitled to a refund will be disappointed.
When a customer purchases a flight that is later cancelled, they are usually entitled to a refund.
During Covid, however, many flights were not cancelled by the airline, but rather became ‘illegal’ according to UK pandemic legislation.
Because the flights had not been canceled, passengers were not automatically entitled to a reimbursement.
Some MPs have argued that additional enforcement powers against airlines are needed to protect customers’ money because of the legal loophole.
The Department of Transportation stated in April that it will give the airline watchdog more authority to “promote consumer confidence and develop trust in booking travel.”
The proposed plans aimed to strengthen safeguards for clients’ money in the event of a cancelled reservation.
However, aviation minister Robert Courts has stated that the plans for further powers would not be implemented at this time.
“We do not feel it appropriate at this moment to examine the statutory duties of the CAA overall,” he stated in Parliament, “due to the substantial impact that the Covid 19 incident has had on both our aviation industry and the CAA.”
“However, where required, we will explore reforms to the CAA’s powers and responsibilities.”
Customers were rejected refunds for the ‘illegal’ flights by a number of airlines, including British Airways.
“When a customer’s flight is cancelled, we always contact them to provide choices, including a full refund,” it said in a statement.
“Customers who are unable or unwilling to fly may continue to alter their flights or request a voucher for future use as part of our Book with Confidence policy, which has been in effect since the outbreak began.”
During the pandemic, Ryanair also refused to refund clients for ‘illegal’ flights.
“It’s outrageous that the Government is indicating it could backtrack or delay its proposals for reforming the CAA’s powers,” Rory Boland, travel editor of Which? Magazine, told The Times.
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