Airlines around the world have effectively mothballed their operations for the foreseeable future as governments battle to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has grounded fleets and reduced services, leaving millions of travellers scrabbling to change their bookings, or trying to recover money previously spent on now-cancelled flights. In what are very difficult and fast-changing circumstances, complex aviation industry protocols for dealing with rebookings and refunds, and legal frameworks designed to protect the consumer, have been tested to the limit.
To help you find your way through that maze, we’ve summarised the amendment, cancellation and refund policies of our major airline partners on our essential information page. We’re constantly updating this information as the policies change, to ensure you’re getting the right guidance. However, if your flight was booked via an agent – like Netflights – it is through that agent that you must make all changes or seek a refund, not the airline direct.
The impact of the pandemic on aviation is such that airlines have been forced to take unprecedented steps, implementing and updating individual policies as the situation has evolved. Many are encouraging customers to accept a ‘travel voucher’ or guaranteed credit note for the value of an original booking to be used when normal operations resume, while others are simply turning bookings ‘open’ – meaning that they can be amended at no cost for travel within a certain timeframe.
- If your flight has now been cancelled – directly by your airline, or by Netflights – we will apply to your airline on your behalf for a refund, and pass those monies back to you when we have received them (as your agent, we passed the monies you paid us to your airline as soon as your flight was ticketed). If you would like a refund, find out more about cancellations and refunds. Alternatively, if you want to re-book, find out more about amending your booking.
- Usually, the refund process might only take a couple of weeks – but with the current volumes and upheaval that both we and our airline partners are dealing with, we anticipate this process will take substantially longer.
- We’ve listed all of the airline refund, amendment and rebooking policies on our essential information page, so please take a look to see the latest updates. We’re in the process of contacting all our customers with flights that were due to depart during the period currently covered by FCO advice (up to 15th April 2020) to explain what is happening.