Oct 7, 2021

UK drops BA and Ryanair probe into Covid refunds for passengers

The UK competition regulator has dropped its investigation into British Airways and Ryanair over refunds for passengers prevented from flying during the pandemic because of a lack of clarity in the law. Consumer protection law entitles customers to refunds when an airline cancels a flight, but does not stipulate whether there should be refunds when passengers are "Legally prohibited" from taking a flight that goes ahead. CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said "The length of time that would be required to take this case through the courts, and the uncertain outcome, can no longer justify the further expense of public money". Ryanair welcomed the CMA's decision to close the probe, saying: "We operated a limited schedule during UK lockdowns for customers who travelled for essential reasons. Passengers had the option to change their bookings without paying the flight change fee and many availed of this option." BA said: "During this unprecedented crisis, we have acted lawfully at all times, issuing nearly 4m refunds and offering highly flexible booking policies enabling millions of our customers to change their travel dates or destinations." The watchdog has been more successful in securing refunds for package travel holiday customers than flight passengers due to specific package travel regulations.

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