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Travelers who are forced to cancel a flight face a refund lottery, with some airlines refunding the entire amount while others don’t refund a cent.
And because it’s up to the airline to decide its own cancellation policy, some put all kinds of obstacles in your way to discourage you from filing your claim.
For example, Wizz Air customers who want a refund to their bank account can only obtain this by calling their customer service number, at a cost of £1.45 per minute plus the charges applied by their telephone company (this is not applies if refund is approved). ).
Instead, customers who apply online deposit their money into their Wizz Air account, where they can only spend it on future flights.
It’s up to each airline to decide whether to refund you, and they all have their own rules. Some reimburse you if you or a loved one gets sick, others don’t.
Wizz Air – If you want a refund you must call customer service for £1.45 per minute
It always makes sense to buy travel insurance, which can pay if you are forced to cancel, even if the airline refuses to refund you. You must do this at the time you purchase your ticket so you are covered in case you need to cancel.
And it’s worth checking your airline’s rules before filing a claim. Airlines don’t always play fair and reimburse you according to their own rules, and they have considerable discretion over when they decide to pay.
Earlier this month, Money Mail consumer champion Sally Hamilton had to intervene after Wizz Air refused to refund a customer the £364 cost of her flight when she had to cancel it following the death of her husband .
Here we look at how airline refund policies compare.
British Airways: You must cancel within 24 hours of booking for a full refund without penalty
If you cancel a flight within 24 hours of booking, you can claim a full refund without penalty. Once you are outside this window you will need to contact British Airways as soon as possible.
If you wish to cancel a flight due to serious illness or death in the family, you will need to provide documentation such as a medical or death certificate.
British Airways says it will refund tickets for passengers who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Those who are not seriously ill but cannot fly can generally have their tickets suspended for up to a year. But when they rebook, they will have to pay the difference between the two fares and any increase in air taxes.
EasyJet: Charge more if you call customer service to cancel instead of online
Passengers who cancel an easyJet flight online within 24 hours of booking will receive a full refund, less the £49 booking fee. Cancel online if you can, as the fee increases to £55 for those who do so by calling customer services.
Passengers suffering from a serious or terminal illness must submit an online medical declaration form; Once submitted, easyJet will review the case and may offer you a refund or flight voucher, which you can use within six months.
If you have suffered a loss, easyJet will review your case and may be able to offer you a refund, a free flight change or a voucher for a future flight, within six months.
All Jet2 flights are non-refundable. The airline suggests that passengers take out travel insurance at the time of booking to cover unforeseen events that may prevent them from traveling as planned.
Jet2 says there may be certain situations where it can help, but this cannot be guaranteed. You can change the name or date of your flight for an administration fee of £35, plus the price difference between your original fare and the new flight price. To make changes to your flight, visit jet2.com/login.
Ryanair: The airline does not offer refunds for common illnesses such as chickenpox
You may be able to cancel a Ryanair flight and claim a refund if someone you were traveling with or an immediate family member dies. Ryanair does not consider aunts, uncles or cousins to be members of its immediate family.
Depending on the circumstances, the airline may refund the full cost of the flights to everyone traveling on the reservation.
You may be able to get a refund in the form of a travel credit if you become seriously ill and can no longer travel. All requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and the airline does not offer refunds for common illnesses such as chickenpox or routine medical procedures, including pre-planned treatments.
Visit refundclaims.ryanair.com to apply.
If you are diagnosed with a serious or incurable illness, you may be able to claim a full refund once you provide an official medical certificate.
All refunds are paid as Wizz Air credit, so if you want to refund to your bank account you must call the airline’s customer service, which costs £1.45 per minute (this does not apply if refund is granted).
Tourists who are sick but not in critical condition may be entitled to a 50 percent refund if they send the airline a copy of their medical certificate.
The refund only applies to the patient and not to the rest of the passengers included in their reservation.
If your child is sick, you can request a 50 percent refund of their ticket and yours. And if a close family member dies within 30 days of the flight’s departure, she can request a full refund by filing a claim online.
A Wizz Air spokesperson says: “When booking, we recommend using our WIZZ Flex service if you think your plans may change in the future.”
Travelers face lottery as airlines decide their own cancellation policies when you can’t fly
Demand your tax refund
Even if you are not entitled to a full refund, you should be able to reclaim the air passenger taxes you paid for your ticket. This tax is paid by passengers and passed on to HMRC by the airline. However, the tax is only payable if you take the flight, so if you don’t, the airline will have to refund the tax.
Airlines don’t automatically reimburse you for it, and yours may not even tell you that you have the right to claim it. Contact your airline and tell them you want to claim yours; Otherwise, you will keep the money. The amount of air passenger tax you pay on each flight depends on the distance you travel and the type of seat you reserve.
A passenger flying from Edinburgh to London Gatwick in an economy seat will pay £7 in tax, or £14 for a premium seat, such as those with extra legroom.
For a flight of less than 2,000 miles, to destinations such as Italy, Greece or Turkey, you’ll pay £13 in tax for an economy seat or £26 for a premium seat.
For further afield hotspots, such as the Bahamas or Costa Rica, you’ll pay £88 for a standard seat, but this rises to £194 for an upgraded seat.
A flight to a destination more than 5,500 miles away, such as New Zealand, has £92 air passenger fare on an average seat, or £202 for an upgraded one.
Anna Bowles, head of consumer policy and compliance at the Civil Aviation Authority, says if customers have a problem with their booking or flight, they should first complain to their airline.
“If they are still not satisfied with the response they receive, consumers can seek redress through the approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service, which will independently review their complaint,” it says. Visit aviationadr.org.uk.
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