British Airways and Ryanair investigated over refunds

The UK competition authority is investigating British Airways and Ryanair for failing to give refunds for flights that customers could not legally take because of coronavirus restrictions.

While the UK was under lockdown it was unlawful for people to travel for non-essential reasons.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that during these periods the two airlines refused to give refunds and instead offered vouchers or the option to rebook.

By failing to offer people their money back, both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket, the regulator said.

The CMA’s investigation only concerns flights that were not cancelled.

“While we understand that airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. We believe these people should have been offered their money back.”

British Airways said it had acted lawfully, while Ryanair said it had refunded a small number of people after looking into their specific cases.