Hundreds of customers are waiting on refunds for flights and holidays that were cancelled due to cancellations to EasyJet and British Airways flights.
As airlines and travel operators process millions of refunds many customers have reported jammed phone lines and a lack of communications, while others are concerned about future travel in the current conditions.
Experts have now revealed everything you need to know about getting your money back and booking travel when Covid hits.
During lockdown the BBC Sounds Moneybox show asked experts everything you need to know about booking a new holiday and getting a refund on holidays that you may have missed during coronavirus.
Tips including how to get a refund from Ryanair, after the airline delayed millions of repayments for holidays during the Covid lockdown. Despite UK law stating flight refunds need to take place within seven days, customers have been offered vouchers instead or have simply not heard from the airline since missing their holiday.
BBC presenter Felicity Hannah was joined by Jill Starley-Grainger, travel blogger from JetSet Journeys, and Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, to answer the most pressing questions about travel and money.
You can listen to the segment here.
How can you get a refund for cancelled holidays?
A caller asked the experts about flights from the UK to Berlin and London to Bergerac in France with Ryanair. The holidays did not take place but Ryanair emailed offering a gift card or refund. Since then Ryanair have not contacted the caller, who cannot get through via phone or the website chatbot.
The holiday cost £240 and the worried caller has recently been made redundant.
Jill says the best way to get money back for cancelled flights is to contact your card provider, as she did with a different airline that was delaying repayments.
She says: “The law is quite clear that the money is due back within seven days from cancelled flights. I went to my credit card provider and the money was back in my account within seven days.”
The process works for debit and credit cards if the flight was cancelled. Jill says: “If the flight went ahead you are not due your money back and you would have to go to your insurance.”
How can you get a refund for holidays booked via Paypal?
Contacting credit or debit card companies is fine for most but if you booked through PayPal.
Jill explains: “It is tricky with Paypal. The rules and laws are slightly different. Go to Paypal and they should refund you but that’s more in their terms and conditions and it’s not embedded in law like credit cards.”
“Always pay by credit card if you can and debit card as another option. Avoid making big purchases through Paypal if you can.”
What do you do if you’ve been offered a voucher?
Some customers may be offered vouchers via email instead of a cash refund. However, you do not need to accept this offer.
Ryan Boland says: “You absolutely can (turn down) vouchers. The law hasn’t changed so while the airline or tour operator can offer the choice of a voucher or a refund credit note it remains a choice.
“The law on cancelled flights is still seven days for a refund if you’re flying with a UK or EU airline. Some people may want to accept a voucher. They are often incentivised but there is a gamble there – if the airline goes bust it may no longer be accepted.”
“These emails often read like you have applied for the voucher but you absolutely have not. You still have that legal right to a cash refund. You’re going to have to keep refusing these offers if you want to get your cash back.”
He advises contacting your credit and debit card provider if you want a cash refund.
Will travel insurance cover coronavirus if I book a trip now?
Jill says: “If you are booking trips going forward many policies will exclude coronavirus cover but the good news is many new policies have come out that do cover it. Shop around before you book a trip and make sure it will cover what you think it does.”
The advice is that policies are out there that will cover you if you enter a local lockdown or if you are medically affected by coronavirus. However this will vary by policy so you will need to take time to speak to the insurer and read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure you are covered.
Many policies will not cover you if you go against FCO travel advice. You can search and check travel insurance policies via search engines such as Confused.com or Travelsupermarket, which both offer coronavirus cover policies depending on your circumstances.