RYANAIR has left more than eight in ten passengers waiting for a refund, according to new research by Which?.
The consumer group found 84 per cent of holidaymakers who'd asked for a cash refund after their flight had been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis were yet to receive their money back.
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Just 5 per cent of Ryanair customers surveyed said they'd had money returned to them within seven days, while only one in six (16 per cent) had received a refund at all.
Which? says refunds should be processed within seven working days.
Ryanair customers also told Which? that online refund forms didn’t work, they'd been pressured to take vouchers instead of cash, and that the timeframe to receive a refund constantly changed.
The airline's current position is that cash refunds won't be processed until after the coronavirus crisis has ended.
How many airline passengers are still waiting for refunds?
HERE'S how many airline passengers are still waiting for refunds for cancelled flights, according to Which?:
- Ryanair - more than eight in ten (84 per cent) people
- easyJet - three in five (63 per cent) people
- British Airways - a quarter (23 per cent) of people
- Jet2 - one in five (19 per cent) people
And here's how many passengers were refunded in seven days:
- Ryanair - 5 per cent
- EasyJet - 14 per cent
- Jet2 - 29 per cent
- British Airways - 39 per cent
Which? surveyed 1,632 airline passengers whose flights had been cancelled since lockdown began in March and who opted for a cash refund rather than a voucher or alternative flight.
When it comes to other carriers, it found three in five (63 per cent) easyJet customers are still waiting for their money back, a quarter (23 per cent) of British Airways customers are awaiting refunds, and one in five (19 per cent of) Jet2 customers are still waiting for refunds.
In addition, the research found easyJet refunded just one in seven (14 per cent) customers within seven days, while four in ten (39 per cent) British Airways customers and three in ten (29 per cent) Jet2 customers received cash within seven days.
British Airways also came under fire from Which? for removing its online refunds form and instead directing customers to a phone line where they are often unable to speak to anyone due to high call volumes.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “We have heard from thousands of frustrated passengers who have told us they are finding it almost impossible to get refunds they are legally entitled to from airlines, with some having waited months now without a penny returned to them."
What can I do if my airline won't pay out? Do I have to accept vouchers?
If you're on an EU flight, which is any flight leaving the UK or any flight with an EU carrier that lands in the UK, you're entitled to a full refund or alternative flight if yours is cancelled.
Refunds must be paid in cash if you request this option, although it's worth being mindful that the airline industry is suffering right now so if you can afford to take a voucher and think you'll fly again, it may be worth opting for this.
EasyJet, for example, has offered airline passengers three different ways to get a refund, meanwhile British Airways is offering holidaymakers Avios points, cash or vouchers.
But in the scenario you want a cash refund, contact the airline in question or travel agent if you booked via a third party to request one.
If the airline doesn't pay out or respond you can escalate your claim to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body.
Different airlines are signed up to different ADR schemes, you can see the full list on the UK regulator's website.
Be aware that some ADR schemes charge up to £25 to use the service, while some airlines such as Ryanair aren't a member of any scheme.
In this scenario, you can take your complaint directly to the UK"s Civil Aviation Authority.
Which? is also compiling evidence of rule-breaking, so you can report your airline if you've been unable to get a refund for a cancelled flight.
Alternative options include checking whether you can claim on your travel insurance, or finding out if you can make a claim to your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or via your card provider's Chargeback scheme for debit card users and those spending less than £100.
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When will I get a cash refund?
EasyJet says it aims to process claims in "less than 28 days" while Ryanair says passengers will be refunded "once this unprecedented crisis is over" and apologises for "any inconvenience caused".
British Airways says it's processing refunds as quickly as possible, and points out that refunds can be requested at any point up to 12 months after the start date of the journey.
And Jet2 told us it's "working tirelessly" to contact customers in departure date order to discuss their options.