BTA calls on airlines to offer cash refunds

Airlines must adhere to IATA regulations where flights have been cancelled due to COVID-19, says the Business Travel Association.

The Business Travel Association (BTA) has called on airlines to adhere to IATA regulations and offer refunds to corporate travellers.

Many major overseas carriers are continuing to refuse to offer refunds, even where flights have been cancelled as a result of government advice or action, in breach of IATA ruling 824r.

These airlines are instead offering customer credit vouchers which prevent the BTA’s member travel management companies from refunding their corporate traveller customers, and their companies. These credit vouchers are often valid for up to a year or two and will be lost if not used within that timeframe.

The Guardian reported that some airlines are offering switches to flights in the future, in some cases at a higher cost.

The BTA is calling on all airlines to offer cash refunds rather than vouchers, through the quickest means possible.

This will enable TMCs to reimburse their clients and ensure that corporate travellers and their companies are not unfairly penalised due to the pandemic.

Clive Wratten, the BTA’s CEO, said: “We understand that these are very challenging times for the airline industry, but those difficulties are also being faced by other parts of the business travel supply chain and, indeed, across the wider business community.”

“The business travel industry will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery but, for that to happen, we need to work together now.”

The US Department of Transportation requires airlines to give passengers the option of a refund if their flight is cancelled, whether or not it is the airline’s fault.

In the UK, British Airways and Ryanair are among the airlines that are now offering full refunds for cancelled flights. 

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