It should come as a surprise to no-one that Ryanair and British Airways are still being dragged over the coals by the Competition and Markets Authority over the way they tried to squirm out of refunding customers who couldn’t fly during the pandemic.
Their actions did them no favours at the time, making customers angry and potentially alienating many people from flying with them again.
“That said, a lot of people declared at the start of the Covid crisis that they wouldn’t use businesses which treated staff or customers unfairly during the pandemic, such as airlines and pub operator Wetherspoon. However, the backlash against such companies seems to have quickly faded,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“Ryanair and British Airways were trying to avoid handing back cash at a time when their finances were under severe pressure and it will be up to the courts to decide if they broke the law by pushing vouchers instead of cash refunds.
“They’re still operating under severe restrictions, so the natural response from the airlines would be to criticise the CMA probe, implying it is kicking an industry which is already on its knees.
“Aside from potentially losing business in the future from irate travellers turning their backs on the airlines, the worst-case scenario might be compensation for some affected customers. The airlines would kick and scream, but ultimately they would pay and move on.”