Airlines lobbying to change rules so they don't have to issue refunds over Covid-19

Airlines lobbying to change rules so they don't have to issue refunds over Covid-19

Airline passengers may not be offered refunds for flights cancelled due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.

Eoghan Corry, editor of travelextra.ie, has said airlines are trying to change the rules to allow them to give flight vouchers instead.

Mr Corry said: "The law is that EU261 still applies, they have to give you back the cash within a two-week period.

"And we've got to bear in mind that the financial circumstances of a lot of households have changed dramatically over the last few weeks. Vouchers are of little use to people.

"Travel agents are caught in this because, legally under the package holiday directive, they have to give the cash back to the customers within that period of time and the airlines are telling then that they are not going to get the cash back from them, so travel agents are facing an existential crisis out of this."

Mr Corry said airlines face massive refund bills because of the pandemic and are determined to avoid them.

He added: "They trotted off to Brussels straight away and said 'can you make sure EU261 does not apply so we don't have to come up with cash and this is our solution to come up with vouchers instead'.

"Brussels initially said no, but the lobbying is still going on and it is interesting that five European countries have enacted legislation that effectively throws out EU261 and the package holiday directive."

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