British Airways and EasyJet are both accused of refusing to offer cash refunds for vouchers issued in lieu of pandemic-canceled flights.
Normally, airlines would have issued refunds to begin with, but with mass cancellations at the beginning of the crisis, cash-strapped airlines cranked out vouchers, and EU guidance was issued, sanctioning the process but with the idea that they would be refunded before expiration.
Which?, a British consumer advocacy group, has pointed out that while the refund guidance was not mandatory, other airlines, even including Ryanair, have followed it, making their vouchers fully refundable.
Like other airlines, BA and EasyJet have been heaping up losses over the year—EasyJet posted its first-ever losing year—and there were complaints from passengers that the airlines issued vouchers even to passengers who didn't agree to receive them in lieu of cash.
Looking ahead, even the vouchers may represent a big headache for the airlines; if vaccines and other developments change the Covid picture and passengers return to the airlines, EasyJet alone will owe free flights to something like five million passengers holding vouchers.