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British Airways and Ryanair are to face action over their Covid refund policies, in an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
During last year’s travel bans, the airlines ‘refused to give refunds to people that were lawfully unable to fly,’ reads a CMA statement. ‘By failing to offer people their money back, both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket.’
The CMA is now seeking to resolve these concerns with the airlines, which may include seeking refunds, or other redress, for affected customers.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, commented: “While we understand that airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law. Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control.
“We believe these people should have been offered their money back.”
British Airways and Ryanair now have the opportunity to respond to the CMA’s concerns.
Scroll down for more on this and today’s other travel headlines.
‘Shambolic’ Covid rules stop Scottish passengers getting off cruise ship in Scotland
Passengers on a cruise ship touring the UK have been told they will not be allowed to disembark in Scotland because of the SNP’s Covid rules.
The MSC Virtuosa left Liverpool this week with planned stops in Greenock in Inverclyde, as well as Belfast and Southampton – but it has been denied disembarkation in Scottish ports. All the passengers are UK residents, fully vaccinated, and recently tested negative.
Although the ship can carry more than 6,000 passengers, it has just under 900 currently on board to allow for social distancing measures. Train, aircraft and car passengers can currently travel between Scotland and the other parts of the UK.
A statement from Ryanair
Responding to the CMA’s findings, a Ryanair spokesperson commented:
Ryanair today (9 June) welcomed the UK CMA’s update on its review of airline policies on refund requests made by UK consumers whose flights operated during periods of lockdown.
Ryanair has approached such refund requests on a case by case basis and has paid refunds in justified cases. Since June 2020, all our customers have also had the ability to rebook their flights without paying a change fee and millions of our UK customers have availed of this option.
A statement from British Airways
Responding to the CMA’s findings, a BA spokesperson commented:
During this unprecedented crisis we have issued well over 3m refunds and helped millions of our customers change their travel dates or destinations and we’re grateful to them for their ongoing support.
We continue to offer highly flexible booking policies at the same time as operating a vastly reduced schedule due to Government-imposed travel restrictions, and we have acted lawfully at all times. It is incredible that the Government is seeking to punish further an industry that is on its knees, after prohibiting airlines from meaningful flying for well over a year now.
Any action taken against our industry will only serve to destabilise it, with potential consequences for jobs, business, connectivity and the UK economy.
Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s news:
- Summer holidays abroad on hold, says Matt Hancock
- Portugal goes amber; seven countries turn red
- Holidaymakers left in quarantine limbo after tests fail to arrive
- Green list snub was political, says Malta’s Foreign Minister
- Government extends list of places from which residents are urged to ‘minimise’ travel
Now, on with today’s stories.