British Airways And Ryanair Probed Over Refund Fiasco On Covid Cancelled Flights.
British Airways and Ryanair are believed to be under investigation as to whether or not they breached consumer laws by not offering refunds to customers for cancelled flights due to the Covid pandemic. Under the current law, customers are entitled to a cash refund within 14 days.
British Airways and budget rival Ryanair had cancelled hundreds of flights as demand for travel dropped amid fears about the spread of coronavirus.
At the time, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: “Our focus at this time is on minimising any risk to our people and our passengers. While we are heavily booked over the next two weeks, there has been a notable drop in forward bookings towards the end of March, into early April. It makes sense to selectively prune our schedule to and from those airports where travel has been most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.”
The firm had also declined to say how many flights or passengers would be affected by the cancellations.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said both companies should have issued refunds for the cancelled trips when planes were grounded due to the pandemic.
Investigators said they will be writing to both airlines and will also look at whether refunds should have been given where flights took place but non-essential travel was banned due to lockdown restrictions.
As the pandemic struck the travel industry, BA offered vouchers or rebookings, while Ryanair provided the option to rebook, said the CMA.
The watchdog said: “The CMA is concerned that, by failing to offer people their money back, both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket.
“It is now seeking to resolve these concerns with the companies, which may include seeking refunds, or other redress, for affected customers.”
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli added: “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.”