Struggling to get in touch with your airline? I’ve got five steps that show to how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled.
In these uncertain times, airlines like many travel companies, are struggling to stay in business. You will see many airlines encouraging you to change your travel dates by waiving change fees, or by offering travel vouchers with bonuses attached. If you can afford to take a voucher, then please do – it will keep travel companies in business. However, it is important to note that airline vouchers are NOT government protected. This post on how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled only refers to flights, and not package holidays, hotel accommodation etc. It is also important to note that Ireland’s travel agency refund credit notes will be covered by the travel agency bond, so your money IS protected as they will be government protected.
For some travel vouchers are ideal, it is money that we know we have to spend on travel in the future. For others who have lost their jobs, or are unsure when they will be able to travel again, it is understandable that they want a refund. I have asked been numerous times how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled, I’ve got all the answers here.
How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled:
1. Apply via the airline refund form.
Most airlines have a travel disruption or refund section on their website. Read the terms and conditions to see if a refund is possible. It should be by law, but unfortunately not airlines are offering refunds immediately. You may find the page difficult to find so check their Frequently Asked Questions, as well as any travel disruption pages or information on vouchers – there will possibly be a link for a refund at the bottom of the page. If you can not find this link, try to contact them by email or web chat. Failing that try their social media channels.
It is best to have something in writing confirming how you tried to get a refund if your flight is cancelled, or if an airline has refused to offer a refund. I have added some of Ireland’s top airlines refund links below, however some airlines have taken the refund links off their website so you have no choice but to contact them.
2. Keep an acknowledgement of your request.
When you have applied for a refund you should receive an email to say that your request has been received. If not, take a screen shot of your application showing the time and date that you applied. If neither of these are possible, contact your airline via email, chat or social media to confirm that your refund application has been received.
3. Follow up with your airline if your refund has not been received within six weeks.
If a flight is cancelled, airlines are obliged to refund you within seven days. However, in these unprecedented times it is understandable that refunds are taking a lot longer to process. I would expect refunds to take up to three months from the original application, but I suggest following up your request six weeks after your initial application to check on the status of your refund.
4. Make a complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation
Understandably, airlines are trying to offer vouchers instead of refunds, however, they are still obliged by law to offer a refund. The regulation EU 261 still applies. The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the National Enforcement Body for EU 261, which sets out the rights of Air Passengers in the event that their flight is cancelled or delayed, or if they are denied boarding or downgraded. If your airline is not responding to you, or you are unhappy with the length of time that the refund is taking, you can make an official complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation and they will take up for case for you.
It is important to note that they can only carry out investigations in relation to flights departing from Irish Airports and flights arriving into Ireland from outside the EU where the flight is operated by an EU airline. For details on making complaints relating to departures from other EU countries, click here.
Myself and fellow travel journalist Ed Finn interviewed the Air Passenger Rights Manager, Sarah Fischer from the Commission of Aviation Regulation. Sarah explained to us in great detail how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled. Listen to the full podcast here:
5. Claim from your travel insurance
If for some reason you are still unable to secure a refund if your flight is cancelled, check to see if your travel insurance will cover you. Travel insurance companies insist that you try all other methods of securing a refund before you make a claim. If you can prove that you have tried to secure a refund and it is not forthcoming, you many be able to make a travel insurance claim.
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