Depending on your circumstances, various laws apply to claim a refund for a cancelled flight or cancelled holiday.
These include The Consumer Rights Act, guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority, but also contract law – the agreement between yourself and the holiday company or airline that became binding when you made your reservation.
Additionally, EU Regulation 261/2004 is applicable for cancellations affecting flights departing the EU (Including the UK) or arriving into the EU, with an EU airline.
Be warned, none of these laws will protect you if you choose to cancel your flight or holiday. Please do not cancel the booking yourself; it will severely weaken the rights you have to receive a refund.
These legal rights are applicable for all circumstances relating to flight and holiday cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We believe it covers all consumers who may have –
- Flights or holidays with a departure date that has now passed.
- Flights or holidays with a departure date in the next three months.
- Airline Passengers with tickets for a route an airline continues to fly even if the FCO guidance warns against travel to that country.
- Airline Passengers who booked using air miles.
- Holidaymakers who have booked a cruise.
Flight Cancellations, EU Regulation 261 And Coronavirus.
Irrespective of the circumstance, EU laws that have been in place since 2005 for claiming compensation for flight delays and cancellations are valid in claims relating to cancelled flights because of Coronavirus.
It is specifically EU Regulation 261 laws relating to cancelled flights that are relevant for cancellations relating to Coronavirus. Under this law, you are legally entitled to a refund within seven days equal to the price you paid for your ticket.
This law applies to flights that would have departed from the EU or arrive in the EU on an EU based airline.
The United Kingdom is still part of the EU until the end of 2020, so the above criteria apply at a minimum to all EU and UK based airlines.
Don’t worry if your ticket is with a non-EU airline. You can still claim under EU 261 if your origin was in the EU.
Equally, don’t worry if your origin was outside of the UK as there are further laws that are in place to protect you.
Contract Law And Coronavirus
When you purchase an airline ticket or book a holiday with a travel firm, you enter into a contract. This contract is to protect both sides. In many cases, there will be clauses within this contract that will entitle you to a full refund.
Each travel company’s contract with you will be specifically worded and unique to that organisation. However, our experienced legal team can pinpoint these legally binding clauses for each, and claim for the refund on your behalf.
However, even if the travel company’s terms and conditions don’t expressly stipulate that you are entitled to a refund, you may still be able to claim a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or under general contract law.
Claiming Refunds For Upcoming Flights Or Holidays Because of Coronavirus
Many travel firms are using The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against travel to all overseas destinations as a point of reference when choosing to issue refunds. Unfortunately, the current FCO guidance is against all travel “indefinitely” rather than up to a specific date, which can leave the advice open to interpretation.
As such, some travel companies may delay issuing refunds as they may consider that “indefinitely” could change at any time. However, as it seems unrealistic that this advice will change in the near future, the majority of travel companies are issuing refunds 21 days in advance of the departure date.
But even in instances when travel companies are refusing to issue a refund for your flight or holiday, you are still entitled to a refund according to the Competition and Markets Authority.
While the CMA has acknowledged the pressure that holiday companies and airlines are under, equally, they have emphasised that consumer rights should not be ignored.
As such, the CMA has a Covid-19 Taskforce in place to identify businesses that are frustrating or not respecting cancellation rights of consumers.
The CMA states clearly on the Government website, “where a contract is not performed as agreed, the CMA considers that consumer protection law will generally allow consumers to obtain a refund.
In particular, for most consumer contracts, the CMA would expect a consumer to be offered a full refund where:
A business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services;
No service is provided by a business, for example, because this is prevented by Government public health measures;
A consumer cancels or is prevented from receiving any services because Government public health measures mean they are not allowed to use the services.”
The guidance on this is clear; you are legally entitled to a refund irrespective of the current FCO guidance and within reason, the dates of your flight or holiday.