It is outrageous British Airways is set to make millions in profits by not refunding passengers for Covid cancelled flights

The airline could make millions from unredeemed vouchers for Covid cancelled flights - but if customers now rather a refund this should be accepted

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It has surfaced that British Airways could get millions of pounds in profits from passengers who haven’t redeemed flight vouchers - and that is appalling.

During the pandemic, when many flights were cancelled, British Airways (BA) customers whose flights were affected were offered a full refund or flight vouchers to use at a later date. Many opted for a flight voucher but of course, back in 2020, people didn’t know how long the pandemic would roll on for.

For people who chose to take vouchers and haven’t been able to use them for one reason or another, the airline should be reimbursing their money.

One reason reported was that the vouchers were very difficult to use.

A colleague of mine at NationalWorld had his flight cancelled during the pandemic in 2020 and at the time he was offered either a flight voucher or a full refund.

He said he decided to take the voucher - in hindsight wishing he had got a refund - as even the process of using the voucher was a faff.

He mentioned that the code wouldn’t work, it was difficult to call up and get help with this from BA. In the end he was issued another voucher.

The BA vouchers were originally set to expire on 30 April 2022 but it was then extended to 30 April 2023, 30 September 2023 and now to September 2024.

British Airways to profit from unused flight vouchers is outrageous. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)  British Airways to profit from unused flight vouchers is outrageous. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
British Airways to profit from unused flight vouchers is outrageous. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The Times reports that IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, in its last annual report stated that it had about £550 million worth of unclaimed vouchers, and the group could book the amount outstanding as revenue, enjoying a boost to profits, once the vouchers expire.

MoneySavingExpert previously reported that British Airways issued 3.3 million flight vouchers for Covid delays and cancellations and many have yet to be used by customers, but who would blame people?

It has been far from easy jetting off on holiday in recent times from airport strikes to extreme weather events such as scorching heatwaves and deadly flooding making people second guess whether they should book that trip or even hop onto the plane to their destination.

Instead of unused vouchers and British Airways potentially earning a profit from this, the airline should do the correct moral thing and give passengers their money back - even if they decided three years ago to opt for the voucher.

In January this year Jennie Barber took British Airways to court as the airline refused to give her a refund after she had chosen a flight voucher.

She had booked two return tickets to Japan in January 2020 with her flights set to depart in May that year. But they were later cancelled because of Covid restrictions.

Ms Barber, during research at her local library, discovered the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 which outlines that, as her ticket is deemed “a contract governed by English law” she was legally entitled to a full refund.

The court ended up awarding her £2,523.42, which covered the flight tickets, interest accrued and additional costs - showing that passengers are legally and rightly entitled to getting their money back.

The fact that British Airways is still not wavering on allowing those who chose flight vouchers to get a refund instead is appalling. They have pushed the deadline further back to September, but surely if there are so many unused vouchers the airline should not sit on the money but give it back?

So if passengers haven’t redeemed their voucher and would prefer a refund now, BA needs to honour this and give them their money back.