Travel firms and airlines ranked best and worst by consumers based on their record in handling refunds for cancelled trips during the Covid-19 pandemic have been listed by MoneySavingExpert.com.

The survey attracted more than 77,000 responses in the period between June 30 and July 6.

Of firms that received at least 100 responses, Alpharooms came bottom with a net score of -99%, followed by Jetline (-97%) and Teletext Holidays (-96%). Ryanair came near the bottom of the survey with a net negative score of -89%, and was joined by Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Holidays (both -88%) and Love Holidays (-81%).

Travel Counsellors came out on top with a net score of +84%, closely followed by Trailfinders (+81%) and both Jet2 brands (+79%, +77%), all of which have shown a “big improvement” since the last time MSE ran the survey in May.

But less than a third of customers who had bookings cancelled had received a full refund.

Alpharooms and Air Transat were the worst performers, with not one of their combined 326 survey respondents saying they had been refunded for a trip each firm had cancelled.

Teletext Holidays and Virgin Atlantic both had a refund payout rate of 1% amongst those who had trips cancelled.

Top performers

Only 4% of Ryanair, Love Holidays and Virgin Holidays customers said they had a full refund, according to the study.

At the other end of the spectrum, 87% of Jet2 and Jet2holidays customers with cancelled bookings said they received refunds.

Trailfinders and Airbnb customers were also likely to get a refund, with 85% and 83% respectively saying they had been refunded.

Airbnb achieved the shortest time in handling refunds with 87% getting money within two weeks. Also quick were Jet2holidays (57% within two weeks), British Airways (56%) and Jet2 (55%).

Big firms

Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair were the worst of the big firms with 69% and 59% of respondents having to wait two months or more  respectively.

Around three quarters of those who got refunds said they were happy, as did 70% of those who rebooked for a future time.

But only 29% of those who accepted a voucher or credit note said they were happy, with another 42% saying they thought this was a ‘reasonable’ solution.

And despite getting their money back, half of those who had to fight to get a refund via their card firm or travel insurer were unhappy or very unhappy.

Since MSE’s last travel survey in early May, Virgin Atlantic has dropped 37 percentage points from -51% to -88%. Aer Lingus and Lufthansa also suffered significant falls in their net score (-30 and -29 percentage points down on last time).

However, First Choice improved its score from -60% to +5%, while Trailfinders improved by +49 percentage points and Riviera by +47 points.

Firms that have recently prominently changed their stance to offer customers refunds also saw an improvement, including Tui up from -60% to -21%, Hoseasons up from -68% to -36% and Holiday Extras up from -92% to -65%.

Although not a statistical random sample of the UK public, the survey claims to paint a strong picture of what’s going on in travel refunds.

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis said: “This refund farce has now gone on too long. The pandemic has been a torrid time for millions, who have faced huge financial shocks.

“Having thousands of pounds tied up on what was once a dream, has turned into a nightmare. It’s left people in distress and some will have seen their mental health impacted.

“It is time for regulators and politicians to take action.

“Even now, after months, less than a third of people in our mammoth survey have received the full – usually – legally required refunds, and it simply isn’t good enough.

“We will be passing a dossier on this to the Competition and Markets Authority, Civil Aviation Authority and Department for Transport.

“The CMA’s already called for full cancellation refunds. It first focused on childcare, weddings, events and UK holiday accommodation sectors. And it’s worked, with firms U-turning on refunds.

“Now it must turn its attention to these travel firms – pressure needs to be put on Virgin, Love Holidays and others – as people have run out of options.

Industry devastation

“Of course, we understand the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry sector is devastating. It’s why I’ve long called for forbearance both ways – if people can help by taking vouchers or rebooking then they should.

“Yet how individual firms have treated their customers during this time will long be remembered. And the fact so many firms are flouting the law and treating customers poorly means those that have bent over backwards in a difficult time need applause.

“Bravo then to Jet2, Trailfinders, Hays Travel, Airbnb, Travel Counsellors, and all the small firms that have helped that weren’t big enough to make our survey. I’d urge your customers to remember this, and reward you with their future custom.”

MoreMoneySavingExpert lists best and worst companies for refund responses [May 20]


Money Saving Expert ranks travel firms from best to worst for refunds:

[The ten biggest firms in terms of number of responses received about them are listed in bold]

Firm

Number of responses

Net score

Change from last survey

1. Travel Counsellors

745

+84

-7%

2. Trailfinders

974

+81

+49%

3. Jet2 Holidays

2283

+79

+25%

4. Jet2

3269

+77

+30%

5. Airbnb

1102

+69

+13%

6. Hays Travel

1629

+64

-6%

7. British Airways Holidays

342

+63

+18%

8. Haven

245

+54

+24%

9. CenterParcs

302

+53

+11%

10. Saga

230

+52

+26%

11. Disney Holidays

246

+51

+14%

12. Co-Operative Travel

188

+34

New result

13. EasyJet Holidays

311

+31

+21%

14. Norwegian Air

309

+23

New result

15. HomeAway

276

+17

+9%

16. British Airways

3248

+11

+3%

17. American Airlines

137

+9

+8%

18. Eurocamp

105

+7

New result

19. First Choice

292

+5

+65%

20. Booking.com

1221

+4

-14%

21. Hotels.com

482

+3

-18%

22. Riviera

266

+2

+47%

23. Ebookers

128

+1

+12%

24. Travelbag

126

-3

New result

25. Qatar Airways

127

-6

+15%

26. Travel Republic

575

-12

+15%

27. Villa Plus

234

-17

New result

28. Tui

5901

-21

+39%

29. Cottages.com

242

-22

+32%

30. P&O Ferries

120

-24

New result

31. Eurostar

268

-24

+22%

32. Expedia

1059

-29

-1%

33. P&O Cruises

1052

-31

-1%

34. Brittany Ferries

441

-32

New result

35. Princess

100

-33

New result

36. Onthebeach

1042

-34

-16%

37. Wizz Air

215

-34

+14%

38. Netflights

225

-36

New result

39. Hoseasons

313

-36

+32%

40. EasyJet

6407

-39

-11%

41. Emirates

743

-48

No change

42. Vueling

196

-52

+9%

43. Etihad

112

-54

New result

44. Turkish Airlines

113

-60

New result

45. Holiday Extras

634

-65

+27%

46. Shearings

377

-65

New result

47. Aer Lingus

551

-68

-30%

48. Air France

198

-69

+7%

49. Loganair

183

-73

New result

50. Iglu

191

-73

New result

51. Travel Trolley

270

-74

+21%

52. Secret Escapes

386

-77

-1%

53. Lastminute.com

877

-77

+10%

54. Sykes Cottages

683

-77

+2%

55. Lufthansa

310

-78

-29%

56. STA Travel

239

-78

-1%

57. KLM

575

-79

+3%

58. Love Holidays

2806

-81

-11%

59. Budget Air

300

-82

New result

60. Barrhead

195

-87

New result

61. Fleetway

297

-87

New result

62. Virgin Atlantic

2675

-88

-37%

63. Virgin Holidays

2518

-88

-15%

64. Air Transat

173

-88

New result

65. Ryanair

8897

-89

-7%

66. TravelUp

703

-89

+6%

67. Opodo

726

-92

-6%

68. Teletext Holidays

507

-96

-2%

69. Jetline

198

-97

New result

70. Alpharooms

188

-99

New result


MoreMoneySavingExpert lists best and worst companies for refund responses [May 20]

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