What can I do if my flight is cancelled because of COVID-19?
With airlines grounding their planes and daily flight cancellations becoming a common event, people are left wondering what they're entitled to. Read on to find out what to do if you're caught in this situation.
What am I entitled to if my airline cancels my flight?
In short, you're always entitled to a refund. Or if you prefer, an alternative flight or voucher. This is because of your rights within the EU, known as EU261.
This assumes your flight is within the EU or the UK and/or with an airline based in Europe. If your flight is neither of these, then your rights will vary from country to country.
As your flight is departing from within the EU or the UK, you have certain rights. In a nutshell, these rights entitle you to a full refund. No ifs, no buts from the airline. You can also choose a voucher if it's being offered or an alternative flight. But, if you want a refund, your airline is legally obliged to give this to you.
What if only one of my flights is cancelled as part of my trip?
The good news is, it doesn't matter. You're entitled to a refund for your whole trip if all your flights are with the same airline.
In the words of the regulator: "You can get your money back for all parts of the ticket you haven’t used. For example, if you have booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket back from your airline."
What if my airline isn't offering a refund?
You're not alone!
Lots of airlines are flouting the rules and your rights by not offering refunds. Some airlines are pushing you to rebook or to accept a voucher instead or making it very very difficult to get a refund. With everything going on right now, it might feel too risky to accept a voucher, so naturally, you'd rather just have a refund.
So what can you do?
- Clearly articulate that you only want a refund and remind them of your rights within the EU.
- Be patient and don't give up. The airlines are being inundated right now, so it's possibly going to take some time to get your refund.
- If this still doesn't work, you can complain to the CAA themselves. This is the Civil Aviation Authority.
Importantly, you can only claim on your insurance for non-recoverable or non-refundable costs. So where an airline has cancelled your flights, you may not be able to claim for these as we would expect the airline to reimburse you, even if this takes some time.
If the airline is still refusing, you can request a refund from your credit card provider as many purchases are protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Or if you paid by debit card, your bank may be able to perform a chargeback.
If you're still not able to get a refund from any of these companies, you can submit a cancellation claim with us.
My flight is still scheduled, can I get a refund?
This will be down to the airline to decide how to handle this as you're not necessarily entitled to a refund.
Your insurance may also help you out here, but you'll need to show your insurer that you cancelled your flights and that you weren't provided a refund.
But don't cancel too soon. The flight may be cancelled at a later date or if it's a long time away, you may even be able to travel. With Pluto, we ask that you only cancel with your airline at most, 5 days before your departure date.
How is my claim affected if my airline isn't responding?
There's no rush to submit your claim and we completely understand that things are moving slower than normal when it comes to dealing with your airline.
We would just ask for your patience, to keep working with your airline for any refund and then to submit your claim afterwards.
I have more questions
You can get in touch with us anytime with any travel question on email or through our webchat.