Ryanair and British Airways cancel flights – can you get a refund?

THOUSANDS of customers have been left in the dark over whether they will be refunded after British Airways and Ryanair have scrapped flights.

This morning, British Airways revoked more than than 2,000 flights from its schedule between now and March next year.

Meanwhile, Ryanair had previously cancelled flights for more than 230,000 passengers.

The airlines have cut the flights because of a reduced demand for flying as a result of the pandemic, as well as fears over the new Omicron covid variant.

But for the few who were planning on whisking themselves away, confusion surrounds whether they'll be able to get a refund.

Can I get a refund?

Airlines do have to give a full cash refund or voucher if your flight is cancelled.

That applies to package holidays too, where customers are protected by Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).

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A British Airways spokesperson said: "Like other airlines, due to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule. 

"Where a customer's flight is cancelled, we always contact them to offer options including a full refund."

If your holiday is cancelled by your tour operator, the money has to be refunded within 14 days, or seven days if the airline called off your flights.

But if your flight has been cancelled and it's separate from where you'd booked to stay, you're not automatically due any compensation for the accomodation part.

When flight chaos ensued last year as cases picked up, a number of airlines and other travel providers would offer credit notes or vouchers instead of cash refunds for cancelled trips.

You don't have to accept these credit notes or vouchers and can request a cash refund instead.

British Airways customers are allowed to get a voucher for flights booked before August 31 next year.

Those vouchers are then valid until the end of September the following year, in 2023​.

Before, Ryanair was offering vouchers that would be valid for travel up to 12 months after the cancelled flights.

Customers could then choose to use them to book new flights in the future or, if they're not used within 12 months, they will be automatically exchanged for a cash refund anyway.

The only risk is that a credit note like this could become completely void if the airline was to goes bust in that time, then passengers would be simply left out of pocket.

What about if I decide not to go?

If you cancel the holiday yourself, it's a different matter.

You may lose any deposit or full amount you've paid if you cancel the holiday that you otherwise could have gone on.

That's the case if you happen to suddenly need to self isolate, or quarantine, or coronavirus restrictions change in the place you’re visiting.

If it's still allowed for the airline to fly and the flight is going ahead, but you personally aren't comfortable flying or you can't because of the reasons above, then you can cancel but you might not get your money back.

You can ask for a refund, but you won't automatically get one.

The British Airways spokesperson confirmed: "Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their flights or request a voucher for future use as part of our Book with Confidence policy, which has been available since the beginning of the pandemic."

What if my flight isn't cancelled?

If your flight isn't cancelled but you can't go, check with the policy of the airline on whether you can move it.

Then you might be in a safer position to travel, and you won't lose your money.

Last year, neither British Airways or Ryanair offered refunds to those whose flights did go ahead, despite the fact these customers couldn't fly under the law.

Over the confusion of tiers and differing rules of travelling to other countries, the travel giants didn't have to fork out for the money that many customers lost if their flight was grounded or they couldn't go personally.

What about if my refund is refused?

Despite being entitled to a refund automatically, it's been common for customers to have to fight tooth and nail to get their money back.

One customer had to sue Ryanair in order to get his lost £200 back, but it only took him 15 minutes to do, so it is worth fighting for.

But there is another way you can get your money back, especially if the airline refuses to refund you.

You'll have to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider though, so it's important that you paid this way to start with.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act, and it means you can get your money back in the right circumstances.

You need to contact your credit card provider directly and explain why you require the refund.

If you booked by debit card, you may be able to claim a refund via your bank using the Chargeback scheme which lets you reclaim cash for goods and services you didn't receive.

Claims apply for purchases made by debit card, or by credit card for purchases under £100, and must be done within 120 days of the transaction.

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