Has your flight been cancelled? How do you get a refund? What counts as cancelled? Who has to refund you? What can you do?
Thousands of flights have been cancelled and passengers are struggling to get refunds from the Airlines and booking companies.
What are you legally entitled to and how can you get the refund?
What is classed as a cancelled flight?
A cancelled flight is not just a flight that is not flying any more. A flight also falls under the cancelled category when
- The flight time has changed by more than 3 hours.
- Departure airport or arrival airport has been changed.
If your departure airport has been changed by the Airline then have a read of this article Virgin cancels Manchester to Las Vegas route for further information. Applies to all Airport changes.
My flight has been cancelled, what can I do?
You may be offered a change of time, date or airport. If you are happy with the alternative then great. If not then you can insist on a refund.
You are legally entitled to a refund if your flight is cancelled.
The Law. The flight has been cancelled by the Airline. You are entitled to a FULL refund, payable within 14 days.
This is not necessarily what the Airline or whoever you have booked with will tell you. It is however the Law and you can insist.
The reality. Customers are not being told that a refund is an option. Refunds are taking far longer than the 14days.
It took 3 weeks for me to receive an email confirmation of my cancelled Virgin flight. After 70 days with no refund, or response to emails, tweets or messages, I contacted Amex who refunded me in 5 days. I should have done it much sooner.
Bookmark our flight delays and cancellations need to knows ready for your next holiday
If you have a balance still due for a cancelled flight / holiday then this is covered in our Booked with Loveholidays article and also applies to all other Travel Companies.
So how do I get a refund for my cancelled holiday?
If you paid by credit card (even part of the amount) contact your card issuer and ask for a refund under Section 75 (S75). This is usually done pretty quickly though it’s taking weeks with some instead of days at the moment due to the sheer volume. They will refund you if
- Your holiday date has passed – so was clearly cancelled.
- You have confirmation that your upcoming flight is cancelled.
The credit card company will refund you with the note ‘ If the merchant does send us documentation to support the charge at a later date, we may reverse the credit on your account.’
Only request the S75 refund if you have evidence that the holiday / flight is cancelled.
If you have a booking in the next couple of months – Don’t cancel it yourself. See our what if you want to cancel your Virgin Holiday article.
If you are booked with Norwegian Air have a read of how Lottyearns got her refund for her cancelled Norwegian flight.
So what can you do if you didn’t pay by credit card?
Wait it out, know that you are entitled to a full refund if you want, whether they initially offer it or not.
Be patient and aware that the refund will not be swift.
You can also check out getmyrefund.co.uk and find them on twitter @GetRefund . An excellent resource with free information, guides and template letters. Just one person helping travellers get their money back – brilliant.
I haven’t had any contact about my booking.
The whole travel industry is collapsing, cashflow is non existent and all travel companies are trying to protect their businesses by keeping hold of the money they have, whilst having no income from new bookings for the foreseeable future.
They know that the flight or holiday is not going ahead, but the refund countdown starts when they officially cancel it. They won’t be in any rush to cancel. Or inform you of changes, or inform you that you have the right to cancel and get a refund.
I have been told I need to rebook or accept vouchers.
- Travel Companies are entitled to offer alternatives such as vouchers, to customers of cancelled bookings.
- THEY MUST ALSO OFFER THE OPTION OF A CASH REFUND WITHIN 14 DAYS. This is the Law.
My agent is saying they need to wait for the Airline to refund them.
This is incorrect. Whether you have booked booked through Loveholidays, Expedia or whoever, that company must refund you
They may be waiting for refunds from the Airlines themselves but that is irrelevant.
You are entitled to a refund in full from your Agent within 14 days.
If you have a booking through Loveholidays or any other agent, have a read of this guide for all the relevant information. And for future reference this booking flights and hotels separately need to knows guide.
I can’t get through to anyone to find out what is happening.
This is the same with many holiday companies and it is a matter of keep trying. The law may be on your side but the reality of this unprecedented situation means you can insist all you like but it may not help.
Accepting this situation and chasing calmly, politely and regularly is the key.
The people at the end of the phone, responding on twitter or to emails are normal people like you and me. They can only do so much, respond as they have been told. That’s their job and at this time it’s not a job that can be bringing much joy.
Ranting, being rude, abusive or TYPING IN SHOUTY CAPS is not going to get you dealt with quicker or in a different way. All you’ll be doing is making someone elses day a bit more stressful and crap.
How do I book my next holiday?
Have a look around our site, we have plenty of ideas to help you Spend Smarter and Travel Smarter including:
- Beginners guide to Air Miles Flights are cancellable for a small fee
- Booking flights and hotels separately guide
- Flight delays and cancellations need to knows
- Las Vegas How to find the best deal for booking Las Vegas
- Weekend away without going anywhere Daft and fun, give it a try
- Intro to Travelscoop Our favourite travel website
- Turn £1 into £100s Start with a free share and get yourself free shares
- Compare cashback with CashbackAngel Compares Cashback rates and Airmiles
Add your questions or experiences in the comments, this will help others. It’s good to know you are not alone.
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