Passengers who took vouchers for cancelled flights will not get a refund

ireland
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Digital Desk Staff

Passengers who accepted vouchers in lieu of refunds from airlines when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold will not be getting their money back, according to the aviation regulator.

With international travel looking more and more unlikely as the pandemic rages on and uncertainty around vaccination speed increases, some passengers who accepted vouchers from airlines such as Ryanair last year have queried if they can instead get their money back.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) said airlines were not compelled to issue refunds if the passenger had willingly accepted vouchers at the time of postponement or cancellation.

CAR pointed to the EC 261/2004 regulation on air travel rights for consumers, which sets out the rules that apply when an air carrier cancels a passenger’s flight.

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A spokesman said: “This includes the right to a full refund of the cost of the flight, or to an alternative flight at no extra cost.

Informed decision

"Where a passenger chooses a refund, this may be paid by a number of different methods, including by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

“If a passenger was fully informed of their rights, including their right to refund by other means, and made an informed decision and signed an agreement to accept a voucher rather than another form of refund, the air carrier has fulfilled their obligation to refund the passenger once the voucher has been issued.”

Ryanair said last week that it is extending its zero flight change fee for all customers who book before March 31 this year.

It is also allowing up to two booking date moves until October 31.

The airline said that in light of ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, it is giving customers “greater peace of mind when booking their Easter and Summer 2021 holidays”, saying it believed air travel will reopen following the successful roll-out of vaccines in the UK, Denmark and many other EU states.

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