Several major airlines are going against EU guidance and are refusing to refund unused vouchers for flights cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic, consumer watchdog Which? has said.
Guidance issued by the European Commission in May recommends airlines automatically refund unused vouchers 14 days after they expire.
According to Which?, though, British Airways and easyJet are insisting that once issued, vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash – meaning passengers could be left out of pocket if they do not use them before they expire.
EU airlines, or airlines operating from EU airports, are obliged under EU Regulation 261 to provide cash refunds for cancelled flights within seven days of cancellation.
However, many airlines opted to flout the law and issue vouchers instead when air travel largely ground to a halt in March and April.
Meanwhile, Which? said many passengers subsequently struggled to get hold of their airline to request a cash refund, or complained of what they felt were deliberately obstructive or misleading practices.
Airlines have since reduced their networks significantly or actively closed bases owing to the pandemic, rendering vouchers useless to some passengers within their limited timespan.