Consumer watchdog Which? has urged airlines not to “cash in” on their customers’ misfortune where travel is disrupted due to the coronavirus crisis.
Which? said it has received an increasing number of reports of passengers being charged “extortionate” flight change fees, or being left stranded in countries under lockdown or where travel restrictions have been stepped up to guard against the spread of the virus.
“Airlines must stop cashing in on the misfortune of their customers and prioritise getting them home safely – going above and beyond their legal obligations where necessary,” said Which? travel editor Rory Boland.
“The government must also up its game and provide British citizens fearful of being stranded abroad with useful advice. Where scheduled services have been withdrawn, it should explore all options to get these people on flights home.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We recognise any British people currently overseas may be nervous about the impact of coronavirus on their travel and their health.
“We are in close contact with travel providers and our international partners to provide support to those British people affected by ongoing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
It comes after the FCO on Tuesday (17 March) issued an extraordinary travel notice, advising UK nationals against all non-essential travel worldwide for 30 days.
Several carriers have pledged to continue operating rescue flights, including Jet2.com which said it would convene flights for its own passengers as well as any other Britons who find themselves stranded without support from their airline.