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According to the research by consumer brand Which?, an estimated 2.3 million people in the UK have not received their money back for flights that they were unable to catch during the pandemic.
The majority of the holidaymakers were hit by circumstances that legally meant they would be unable to travel to their destination.
"Lockdowns, restrictions on entry to their destination and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against non-essential travel were among the reasons cited by passengers for being unable to travel," the report says.
"Under EU 261 regulations, passengers flying on an EU-based carrier or flying from a country in the EU are entitled to a full refund within seven days if their flight is cancelled by the airline.
"However, these regulations don't offer passengers any protection if their flight is not cancelled. And many flights have continued to operate to allow essential travel throughout the pandemic."
A survey of 2,001 adults, weighted to represent the UK population, revealed that the most common reason people were unable to travel was because of lockdown - with 49 percent claiming they couldn't take their flight due to national or regional lockdown laws, which had instructed them to stay at home.
The report states that Ayesha Ellis paid £1,600 for Ryanair flights for a family holiday to Gran Canaria on 13 February 2021, which had been booked in March 2020, before the UK went into its first lockdown.
The flight went ahead as scheduled, despite the UK being in its third lockdown and non-essential travel currently being illegal.
Ryanair told Ayesha that the cost to rearrange the flights would be €95 per person per flight - a total of €760 more for her family of four - plus the fare difference for the new flights.
The airline told Which? that she cannot be refunded a non-refundable air fare, which 'she herself has chosen not to change to a later date'.
Rebekah Evans, from Barry in Wales, was also stung by a similar situation, having booked Easyjet flights costing more than £2,000 from Bristol to Turkey at the beginning of 2020, using an online travel agent.
Two weeks before the trip, the Vale of Glamorgan entered a local lockdown, which was due to be reviewed the day before the flight.
Evans did not rebook the flights or accept a voucher, hoping that she would be allowed to fly if the local restrictions lifted, but the Welsh government then announced a rolling lockdown. As England was not in a lockdown at the time, the flight went ahead.
A statement from EasyJet, shared with LADbible, said: "Our flexible lockdown policy was in place for all UK was between 5th Nov and 2nd Dec due to the England lockdown and again from 20th Dec and currently remains in place so passengers can receive refunds even on flights that continue to operate.
"At the time of Miss Evans' flight our lockdown policy only covered countries we operated to and from. However, we were providing customers with the flexibility to change their flights without a change fee up to 14 days before departure and we offered her a voucher.
"We do require customers to contact us ahead of the flight departing to select an alternative option. Unfortunately Miss Evans only contacted us after the flight had operated. As a gesture of goodwill, on this occasion, we will be in touch to offer a voucher for the value of her flights."
Ryanair also responded to LADbible's request for comment, saying: "Passengers who book non refundable flights are not entitled to refunds if they choose not to travel on flights which have operated.
"All Ryanair passengers can avoid being 'out of pocket'... by availing of Ryanair's change facility, even for bookings which were made prior to any Covid-19 flight restrictions being introduced."
Read the full Which? report here.
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