Air travel watchdogs are under pressure to ban ‘rip-off’ clauses which allow flight companies to cancel return tickets if a passenger misses outbound journey
- Airlines under pressure to drop clause for cancelling return tickets for passengers who missed their outbound flight
- Customer being left stranded on return after not taking original outbound trips
- Civil Aviation Authority has warned that passengers could sue if they are not told
Air industry regulators have come under pressure to ban ‘rip-off’ no-show clauses which enable airlines to cancel return tickets if passengers miss the first leg of their flight.
Consumer group Which? said passengers have been left stranded and hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket when their return ticket was voided after they were unable to take their scheduled outbound flight.
It accused airlines of ‘cashing in’ saying they were ‘effectively able to double their money’ by reselling the seats they cancel, with no refund given to passengers.
Air industry regulators have come under pressure to ban ‘rip-off’ no-show clauses which enable airlines to cancel return tickets if passengers miss the first leg of their flight (stock photo)
Earlier this week the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned airlines could be successfully sued by passengers if their return tickets are cancelled without being told.
The watchdog added that if passengers have a legitimate reason for missing the first flight, airlines should allow them to keep their return ticket.
But Which? accused the CAA of ‘putting the interests of airlines ahead of passengers’ by failing to stop them from being ‘ripped off’ in the first place. It urged the CAA to enforce an outright ban on the controversial ‘no-show’ clause.
Caroline Normand, of Which?, said: ‘It’s totally unreasonable for an airline to cancel a passenger’s return flight – often without warning – simply because they’ve missed the first leg of their journey.
Earlier this week the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned airlines could be successfully sued by passengers if their return tickets are cancelled without being told
‘Airlines have been able to cash in with this tactic for too long – leaving people miserable, stranded and hundreds if not thousands of pounds out-of-pocket. If airlines are not going to do the right thing and stop this disgraceful practice on their own, the Civil Aviation Authority should step in and ban these rip-off clauses.’
In December Which? wrote to nine airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic informing them the practice is potentially in breach of consumer rights legislation.
British Airways say that many of its tickets allow customers to make changes to their flights if they inform the airline before they travel, and stated that the policy is common practice.
It said it is designed to stop ‘tariff abuse’ – when passengers buy return tickets that are cheaper than a single flight.
Virgin Atlantic state that it will not cancel inbound flights where there has been a legitimate change in circumstances, provided the customer gets in touch first.