In 2020, when at one point virtually every flight was cancelled, passengers were offered travel vouchers to use for their next trips with the same airline. A year later, we are still not fully out of the pandemic — and passengers are learning that their flight vouchers are about to expire.
What can you do in this situation?
1. Get your money back
Unfortunately, many passengers are not aware of the fact that they were, in most cases, entitled to a full flight refund, instead of a flight voucher. In the European Union, the legal base for this is Regulation EC 261/2004 — it obliges the airline to refund the full price of the cancelled flight ticket within 7 days after the flight got cancelled.
Note for British travellers: after Brexit, the European regulations regarding delayed and cancelled flights has been adapted into the UK law as 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019'.
The good news is that even if you have already received the travel voucher from the airline, you might still be able to exchange it for an actual flight refund — many airlines offer such an option for up to a year after the cancelled flight. To check if you are indeed eligible, use our Claim Calculator and let us know the details of your case.
2. Ask the airline for an extension of the travel voucher
Airlines are currently trying to look as customer-friendly as possible in order to rebuild trust among passengers. Some airlines, such as easyJet, decided to show goodwill and extend the cancelled flight vouchers for all affected passengers. So, before you actually proceed with any actions, carefully check your email inbox (including the spam folder) and/or your account on the airline’s website for any info on the travel voucher’s expiry date.
If you are not able to find any details on the extension of your flight voucher, you can still reach out to the airline directly. When you contact customer service, mention the reasons why you have not been able to use your travel voucher so far — for example, that you are still afraid of taking a plane in the current circumstances or that your children are not yet allowed to vaccinate. Many passengers were successful in persuading the airline representatives to extend their cancelled flight vouchers.
Did you know that you might be able to claim a flight delay compensation even 6 years after the flight date?
3. Book a change-friendly flight
If you are unable to get a flight refund or extend your travel voucher, you can also utilise current customer-friendly fee-free rebooking options. For example, British Airways is waiving their change booking fee for ‘bookings made from 3 March 2020 onwards for travel to be completed by 31 August 2022’. Similar policies have been introduced by some of the other airlines, such as KLM.
If your airline does not offer such an option, you can also buy a flexible ticket (usually a bit more expensive than a standard ticket) with a free rebooking option included.
4. Book a far-off/safe flight
If none of the above options applies to you, you can also simply use your cancelled flight voucher for a far-off booking or a so-called safe booking — for example, for a weekend trip to a relatively close-by destination or the Christmas holiday. Remember that usually, the later your planned flight is, the cheaper the price of the ticket.
And if you ever again have a cancelled or delayed flight, exercise your passenger rights and claim a flight compensation or a flight refund with Flight-Delayed.co.uk. We operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ policy, meaning you don’t have to pay us anything if you don’t receive the money from the airline.