top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

16 airlines agree to refund cancelled flights within seven days

List includes EasyJet, Ryanair and British Airways. European Commission says customers must be treated fairly and know their rights after Covid-related travel restrictions leave people out of pocket

Both KLM and Air France are among the airlines promising to change their ways. Pic: hans engbers / Shutterstock

Sixteen airlines have committed themselves to refunding customers for cancelled flights within seven days under EU legislation.

The European Commission and national consumer protection authorities were involved back in February, following a complaint from the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC).

"Many customers in Europe are still waiting to get their money back for flights cancelled during the first lockdowns of 2020," said BEUC Director General Monique Goyens. 

Reluctance to refund

The travel industry was hard hit by the pandemic and with planes grounded, airlines hit the headlines for their reluctance to refund tickets due to Covid-related travel restrictions.

In some cases, customers were offered a voucher they could use to book another flight with the airline, when they should have had the option of a refund.

"The [national consumer protection] authorities must ensure that all customers forced to accept credit notes are reimbursed, and take enforcement action if necessary," Ms Goyens added.

All 16 airlines have agreed to ensure that customers are better informed of their rights in the event that their flights are cancelled.

This means presenting customers with all the alternative options available to them, whether that means changing their flight, arranging for a refund or a credit note.

The 16 airlines are:

  • Aegean Airlines

  • Air France

  • Alitalia

  • Austrian Airlines

  • British Airways

  • Brussels Airlines

  • EasyJet

  • Eurowings

  • Iberia

  • KLM

  • Lufthansa

  • Norwegian Airlines

  • Ryanair

  • TAP

  • Vueling

  • Wizz Air

"It’s good news for consumers that the airlines have cooperated (...) and committed themselves to respecting passengers' rights and improving communication," said European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders in a statement.

What are the rights for European airline travellers?

Cancelled flights are those that were initially scheduled, but did not take off and on which at least one seat was booked. 

Airlines must give passengers the choice of either refunding their ticket within seven days for the part not flown (as well as the part flown, but no longer required), or rerouting them to their final destination in similar conditions.

If the latter option is chosen, the airline must foot the bill for food and accommodation until the passenger arrives at their final destination. 

However, if the passenger chooses to be refunded instead, the airline has no obligation to pay for food or accommodation.

In both cases, the airline must also pay you a lump sum in compensation. See the official government website for more information about your rights. 

Related articles

‘French Covid certificate maiden name issue almost cost me my flight’

Which French airports offer pre-flight PCR and antigen Covid tests?

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now