Monday 23 October 2017

I cancelled my €250 flight -- can I get a refund?

QThe question of cancelling flights is a regular one at this time of year. We book flights in eager anticipation and often well in advance of travel. But then life takes over; something happens and we can't travel.

Esther put the question clearly when she asked: "I booked a flight with Aer Lingus and paid €250 for it, and I can't go. Will I be able to get a refund?"

A I'm afraid the terms and conditions for Aer Lingus flight tickets don't allow you to get a full refund if you cancel.

However, you are entitled to a refund of taxes and charges and must apply to the airline for that. But even that isn't as straightforward as you might think.

Aer Lingus charges a fee of €20 each way for administering this refund (so €40 for a return flight), and this tends to cancel out the amount that would be refunded to you.

Nonetheless, if you choose to do this, there is an Irish website that was established to help people with this process: www.airtaxrefund.com.

An alternative would be to see if anyone else can use the ticket. But it's costly -- a name change costs €100.

Another option would be to change the date or route if you are able to travel at another time. Aer Lingus charges €40 each way for that (or €100 each way if the flight is to the US) plus any difference in cost between the price of the original and new ticket, so that is likely to add up pretty quickly, too.

These date- or route-change fees don't apply if you have a flex fare or business class ticket, though.

If you have travel insurance, you might also check that to see whether it covers cancellation in your circumstances. But remember, even if you are covered, you're likely to have to pay an excess on any claim.

Irish Independent

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