Obtaining a refund after cancelled travel plans has not been straightforward for many
Obtaining a refund after cancelled travel plans has not been straightforward for many

Ryanair, Virgin and Love Holidays among worst companies for travel refunds, survey finds

Only four per cent of customers polled said they’d had a refund

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 10 July 2020 11:19
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Ryanair, Virgin and Love Holidays have been named the worst-performing big firms in a new travel survey of over 77,000 people.

Conducted by MoneySavingExpert, the report assessed satisfaction rates of people trying to get refunds for cancelled trips following the coronavirus epidemic and subsequent travel ban – and how many had actually received a refund so far.

Ryanair came bottom of the list of major companies, with a net score of -89 per cent, followed by Virgin (-88 per cent) and Love Holidays (-81 per cent).

The survey, which ran between 30 June and 6 July, revealed that only four per cent of Ryanair, Virgin Holidays and Love Holidays customers polled said they’d had a refund to date – while the majority of Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic customers polled stated they’d been waiting more than two months for a refund since first asking.

At the very bottom of the list was travel agent Alpharooms, with a net score of -99 per cent, followed by Jetline (-97 per cent) and Teletext Holidays (-96 per cent).

Out of the 326 survey respondents who had booked with Alpharooms and Air Transat, not one had received a refund for a cancelled trip, while Virgin Atlantic and Teletext Holidays had a refund payout rate of just one per cent amongst those who’d had trips cancelled.

At the other end of the spectrum, Travel Counsellors came out on top, with a net score of +84 per cent, followed by Trailfinders (+81 per cent) and both Jet2 Holidays and Jet2 (+79 and +77 per cent respectively). Of these, 87 per cent of Jet2 and Jet2 Holidays customers surveyed said they had received a refund from the firm.

When approached, Ryanair told The Independent that they were “not commenting on this survey specifically” and instead cited a recent press release dated 3 July stating that it was making “rapid progress” in processing customer refunds. It continued to state that 90 per cent of the backlog would be cleared by the end of July.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said that the firm continues to be “inundated” with enquiries, including refund requests, following the global travel restrictions, but that its “absolute focus remains on supporting all of our customers to amend, rebook or cancel plans.

“We would like to reassure all customers that if they’ve requested a refund for a cancelled trip, it will be repaid in full, and the work to process refunds is our priority. In order to accelerate the process, we have boosted the size of the teams handling refunds and trained additional staff to use the required systems, which is increasing our capacity to process refunds.

“We are making every effort to reduce this timeframe wherever possible in these extraordinary circumstances and would like to thank all of our customers for their patience.”

A Love Holidays representative shared a statement with The Independent which claimed that more than 42,000 refund requests had been “actioned”, representing over 25 per cent of affected customers.

“Unfortunately, due to the scale of cancellations involved, while we are working as hard as possible to process refunds, it is taking longer than we would like,” it read.

“We are listening to customers and appreciate they have had trouble contacting us as our live chat has been overwhelmed but we are working on improving that. Automated processes have been introduced to speed up the refund procedures with further improvements being worked on.

“We will continue to review and evaluate our refund processes and will try to make this as fast as we possibly can and we would like to apologise to customers affected.”

A spokesperson for Teletext Holidays gave the following statement to The Independent: "We are delighted to advise that a high percentage of our customers with cancelled holidays have now either rebooked with us, or are happy to receive a credit note which enables them to rebook for a later departure date.

"For customers who have requested a cash refund, we are continuing to work exceptionally hard by processing refunds as quickly as possible. For these bookings, we have already processed cash refunds for 62 per cent of customers who were due to depart in March, and 41 per cent of customers due to depart in April. All customers with holidays booked during these months, and who have requested cash refunds, will receive funds by 17 July 2020.

"All customers have been contacted by email and we continue to deal with other cancelled bookings on a departure date basis in line with the communication with those customers."

Air Transat and Alpharooms have been approached for comment.

The 10 worst firms for travel refunds

1. Alpharooms

2. Jetline

3. Teletext Holidays

4. Opodo

5. TravelUp

6. Ryanair

7. Air Transat

8. Virgin Holidays

9. Virgin Atlantic

10. Fleetway

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