British Airways in major U-Turn after hundreds of thousands of furious passengers demand refunds

British Airways in major U-Turn after hundreds of thousands of furious passengers demand refunds (and NOT vouchers) for Covid-canceled flights

  • British Airways has bowed to passenger fury and will refund travelers
  • They will receive refunds rather than vouchers for bookings canceled by Covid
  • The top airline company has kept some customers’ money for up to two years

British Airways has bowed to passenger fury and will refund hundreds of thousands of travelers given vouchers for bookings canceled by Covid.

The airline, which has kept some customers’ money for up to two years and instead issued 3.3 million vouchers, has started processing payments to those who qualify for refunds.

BA, which received thousands of complaints for issuing credit notes rather than refunds, made a minor concession in March by allowing passengers to request a refund if their voucher was two years old – but it applied only if the airline, not the passenger, had canceled the booking.

British Airways has bowed to passenger fury and will refund hundreds of thousands of travelers given vouchers for bookings canceled by Covid (file image)

British Airways has bowed to passenger fury and will refund hundreds of thousands of travelers given vouchers for bookings canceled by Covid (file image)

In a significant shift, the airline has started paying automatic refunds – in some cases worth several thousand pounds – to far larger groups of passengers.

BA said it was repaying customers unable to use their vouchers online, those who used Avios air miles towards payment and other ‘complex’ bookings as well as BA Holidays vouchers which, uniquely, still need to be two years old.

A BA passenger noted the airline’s change of heart, posting on Twitter: ‘I’ve just now got a refund for all my vouchers. I had five flights booked with BA in 2020. ‘ Consumer experts criticized BA for keeping customers’ cash for so long and called on the airline to refund those who will not be repaid in the current tranche of payments.

BA has yet to explain why some passengers with vouchers are not being refunded. It also refused to say how many vouchers will be refunded in the latest batch or the number that will remain outstanding. Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘People have been out of pocket for the cost of their flights for a long time, and while it will be a huge relief for many to get their money back, the wait has been awful.

BA has yet to explain why some passengers with vouchers are not being refunded.  It also refused to say how many vouchers will be refunded in the latest batch or the number that will remain outstanding (file image)

BA has yet to explain why some passengers with vouchers are not being refunded. It also refused to say how many vouchers will be refunded in the latest batch or the number that will remain outstanding (file image)

‘Remaining customers who are still waiting for refunds may now feel it is unfair some refunds are being issued, but only to people in a different position to them. Any broadening of refunds would be very welcome. ‘

One disgruntled customer posted on Twitter: ‘We wanted a refund in 2020 but were forced to accept a voucher – and now business class seats to Las Vegas have doubled in price. Not good enough, BA. ‘

The airline is likely to face fresh anger from travelers in the coming months for canceling 16,000 flights during the busy summer season in the wake of crippling staff shortages.

A BA spokesman said: ‘To give our customers maximum flexibility, we’re now in the process of refunding those with more complex bookings, such as those where Avios was used as payment (and) those who are unable to use their vouchers online. Any eligible customers will be contacted shortly, if not already, to process their refund. ‘

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