By Pepi Sappal • 02 April 2020 • 0:40
Most airlines are encouraging people to take vouchers, instead of refunds.
Frustrated UK travellers and holidaymakers are demanding that airlines and tour operators make it easier to claim a refund for flights and holidays cancelled as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
THE outbreak has seen hundreds of flights cancelled, fleets grounded, and the airline and holiday industry facing huge financial losses. While, the travel organisation ABTA has called for a four-month deadline to pay refunds for package holidays, the airline trade body, Airlines UK, wants the right to give vouchers, and not refunds.
So, most airlines are encouraging customers to take vouchers, instead of refunds. However, frustrated UK travellers want their money back, and not vouchers, and it appears that airlines are not making it easy to get a refund. Many have reported that it’s difficult to get through to the customer services of most airlines to get a refund, via phone or live chat, because of ‘long queues.’ Other travellers have accused some airlines of hiding the refund option, or simply making the process just ‘too difficult’ to get their money back.
Airlines UK Chief Executive, Tim Alderslade, described the airline sector’s financial situation as “very grave,” and has urged the government to do more to protect airlines so they could continue to operate in the future. “At the very top of the list is allowing airlines to issue vouchers instead of refunds in the event of cancellations, like other EU countries are doing, which would hugely help with liquidity and support airlines through the coming months,” he said.
However, consumer group Which? believes that customers deserve better. “It is essential that businesses do right by their customers, particularly more vulnerable ones who may urgently need their money back,” said Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel. “Even in unprecedented times, the rights of customers should not be treated as an afterthought.”
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