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Virgin Atlantic Faces Penalties for Not Refunding Passengers

Virgin Atlantic Faces Penalties for Not Refunding Passengers
Joe Cortez

Virgin Atlantic could be forced to pay a penalty to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, for not offering refunds to passengers holding tickets on cancelled flights. Authorities claim the international carrier has waited up to four months to give passengers their money back.

Virgin Atlantic may face penalties from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority, after the agency said they were “not satisfied” by the carrier’s refund times. A recent report released by the CAA notes the carrier may be the only one to face “formal enforcement powers” if they cannot refund passengers in a timely manner.

CAA Alleges Virgin Atlantic Waited Up To 4 Months to Issue Refunds

Around the world, flyers on cancelled flights have been waiting for their due refunds. In the United States, the policies have changed dramatically after the COVID-19 pandemic, with some airlines wildly shifting policies. In some cases, it means they are waiting for long periods of time before getting a duly-owed refund.

But for some Virgin Atlantic flyers, the wait can take up to four months. The CAA claims some asking for a refund in compliance with EC261/2004 have waited up to 120 days from their flight cancellation for recompense.

“In relation to refund processing timescales, at least initially the airline was taking up to 60 days to process refund requests,” the CAA wrote about Virgin Atlantic in their report. “However, the airline’s performance became significantly worse and it provided a commitment to consumers that the maximum wait would be 120 days.”

With a lack of defense, Virgin Atlantic notes they have been running significantly behind on refund requests. The airline says their goal is to process refund requests within 80 days by the end of August 2020, 60 days by September 2020 and 30 days by October 2020. Although the CAA is “not satisfied with this level of performance,” they are closely monitoring Virgin Atlantic to see if they can keep up with their proposed timeline.

While the CAA says a “number of major airlines have also committed to speeding up the time it is taking process refunds,” the agency is watching over airlines closely. At the end of their report, the CAA said they sent out over 30 warning letters to airlines based on customer complaints.

Several Other European Airlines Noted for Slow Refund Delivery

Although Virgin Atlantic is the only one to face potential sanctions over their backlog of refunds, the report shows that other airlines are also being slow to send flyers their cash back due to cancellations. At the beginning of the COVID-19 international airline shutdowns, British low-cost carrier EasyJet would take up to 90 days to refund flights, while Ryanair was taking up to 10 weeks to produce refunds. Middle East carrier Emirates is currently processing refunds between 40 and 50 days from the request.

In the United States, flyers’ biggest complaint with airlines was how they were handling refunds due to cancelled flights. The May 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report revealed customers filed over 3,000 refund complaints against airlines with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

View Comments (5)


  1. schelsr

    July 31, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Feels like foot-dragging whilst looking the other way by VA. Caught out not playing by the rules, now trying to “catch up” slowly without sanctions.


    July 31, 2020 at 5:49 am

    Does it have the money to make the refunds? For a long while there, it was very much touch and go…

  3. qofmiwok

    July 31, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    What is the best way to remind them they owe you a refund?

  4. OZFLYER86

    July 31, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    no airlines should refund one cent. They have no moneyfor this. Any funds should be used to keep them flying.


    August 3, 2020 at 8:04 am

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Good one OZFLYER86. A good Monday morning joke. :-)

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