Aviation: Fares

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the proposal by the online travel agent TravelUp to ringfence civil aviation fares until departure to prevent customers having to wait long periods of time to be reimbursed for cancelled trips.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges. The department is keen to work with the regulator, industry and consumer groups to learn lessons from pandemic, to make changes that are practicable and deliverable.

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