The UK’s competition authorities is investigating claims British Airways and Ryanair passengers were denied refunds for flights they couldn’t legally take.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed on Wednesday (9 June) it had opened enforcement cases into both carriers to establish whether either had broken consumer law.
It comes as part of a wider CMA investigation into the issue, which was launched in December.
The CMA said that during periods of lockdown in the UK, both British Airways and Ryanair refused to give people refunds for flights thy couldn’t take owing to Covid legislation.
It said BA instead offered vouchers or the opportunity to rebook, and Ryanair just the option to rebook.
"The CMA is concerned that, by failing to offer people their money back, both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket," said the authority.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, said: "While we understand airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law.
"Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. We believe these people should have been offered their money back."
A Ryanair spokesperson told TTG: “Ryanair today (9 June) welcomed the UK CMA’s update on its review of airline policies on refund requests made by UK consumers whose flights operated during periods of lockdown.
"Ryanair has approached such refund requests on a case by case basis and has paid refunds in justified cases.
"Since June 2020, all our customers have also had the ability to rebook their flights without paying a change fee and millions of our UK customers have availed of this option."
TTG has also approached BA for comment.