A lawyer has warned the industry to be “careful what you wish for” in taking refund and cancellation cases to court.
During TTG’s debate on the future of OTAs, the panel discussed the issue of refunds and cancellations when theForeign Office (FCDO) changes its travel advice.
Joanna Kolatsis, director of Themis Advisory, explained: “The FCDO advice doesn’t trigger a closure of airspace, and some people do still need to travel.
“Airlines are saying [to operators], ‘We’re not giving you a refund because it doesn’t affect our supply of the flights to you’.”
Asked when we could expect the first refund test cases, Kolatsis anticipated a backlog of about six months.
“A lot of the people tend to be settling, because ultimately the right of refund isthere,” she said.
“Where we might see a test case is with one of the OTAs, where they’re trying to delay or say to the customer, ‘We’ll only give you back what we get back’.”
She said later: “I really hope if someone takes a case they take it on the right facts, because you could end up with a bigger problem for the industry.
“I would hate for any of us to be left with a precedent [for PTRs] on the back of this, which is so unusual.”
Kolatsis said airline compensation Regulation EU261 had been “eroded”, “leaving the industry in a worse position”.