Hundreds of thousands of furious passengers demanding refunds from British Airways

Hundreds of thousands of furious passengers demanding refunds from British Airways. Credit: BA Media Centre

British Airways has bowed to furious passengers, agreeing to refund hundreds of thousands of travellers who were given vouchers for bookings cancelled during the Covid pandemic.

British Airways, which has retained some customers’ money for two years and issued 3.3 million vouchers instead, has begun to process refunds to those who qualify.

The airline, which has received thousands of complaints over issuing vouchers instead of refunds, made a minor concession in March by letting travellers refund their voucher if it was two years old, however, it only applied if the airline had cancelled the booking and not the passenger.

In a significant U-turn, British Airways has now started the pay automatic refunds – some worth several thousand pounds – to more passengers.

The airline said it was refunding passengers who are unable to use their vouchers online, those who used Avios air miles towards payment and other ‘complex’ bookings as well as BA Holidays vouchers which, however, still need to be two years old.

A passenger Tweeted about the airline’s change of heart, writing: “I’ve just now got a refund for all my vouchers. I had five flights booked with BA in 2020.”

Consumer experts criticised British Airways for retaining customers’ money for such a long period of time and urged the airline to refund travellers who will not be repaid in the current tranche of payments.

The airline still has not explained why some passengers with vouchers have not received a refund. It has also refused to say the number of vouchers that will be refunded in the latest batch or the outstanding number.

Personal finance analyst at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, Sarah Coles, said: “People have been out of pocket for the cost of their flights for a long time, and while it will be a huge relief for many to get their money back, the wait has been awful.”

“Remaining customers who are still waiting for refunds may now feel it is unfair some refunds are being issued, but only to people in a different position to them. Any broadening of refunds would be very welcome.”

One angry customer Tweeted: “We wanted a refund in 2020 but were forced to accept a voucher – and now business class seats to Las Vegas have doubled in price. Not good enough, BA.”

It is likely that British Airways will face fresh anger over the coming months for cancelling 16,000 flights during the busy summer season due to crippling staff shortages, the Daily Mail reports.

A British Airways spokesman said: “To give our customers maximum flexibility, we’re now in the process of refunding those with more complex bookings, such as those where Avios was used as payment (and) those who are unable to use their vouchers online. Any eligible customers will be contacted shortly, if not already, to process their refund.”


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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