The UK's Airlines and Holiday Bookers Decide Full Refund Laws Aren't Really For Them

By Gary Cutlack on at

The travel team within consumer watchdog Which? has found that the top 20 UK flight and holiday bookers are all failing to meet their contractual obligations for refunds in some way or other, with many of the firms failing to offer cash refunds for cancelled trips and trying their hardest to instead defer bookings and/or issue vouchers for future travel on an unspecified mended timeline, or simply deciding the process shall take months.

Virgin Holidays was one holiday booker that was shamed by Which? and it has been busy defending itself using the power of language. A spokesperson for the chain said: "Indefinitely is an unspecified amount of time, so we have to review bookings in some kind of order as we are unable to cancel holidays free of charge for any date in the future – whether that be Summer, Christmas or next year, we are monitoring the situation closely and working to a reasonable date band and have to prioritise those customers we know are impacted rather than the unknown for now."

Which? says it found the issuing of credit notes when cash refunds were actually requested is another popular sneaky tactic travel firms use, with TUI, Love Holidays and Ryanair hoping that's a good enough workaround to get people off their backs and out of their live chat windows for good.

TUI, for reasons known only to itself, has declared it a rule that it may only issue a credit note four weeks after the departure date of the original booking, which suits it but not any human customers it once had. Even modernist bookers like Lastminute and Expedia are leaving people waiting weeks for refunds, while Virgin Atlantic says it will take 90 days to upgrade one of its credit notes to a cash refund, for reasons it has presumably also invented internally.

They're all on the shit list, basically, apart from Virgin Atlantic, which has been removed from the shit list and now sits atop a new list we have started on a fresh bit of paper and pressed down so hard while writing its name that dotting the I's left two dents in the tabletop. For reasons of decorum we shall not tell you what that list is called. [Which?]