Travel Payments

Virgin Atlantic Refunds Backlogged

Virgin Atlantic plane

If you’re expecting a refund from Virgin Atlantic, the British airline owned by billionaire Richard Branson, be patient.

The Guardian reported customers have been told they will have to wait up to four months to receive refunds for canceled flights.

In May, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Britain’s industry regulator, instructed airlines to issue cash refunds after customers complained they were being offered vouchers.

A Virgin Atlantic Refund Action page was launched on Facebook in late May and has nearly 800 members.

“Unfortunately many of us who have paid for flights to VA or through a ticketing agent for a VA flight have been left to our own devices to claim our money back,” the page founder wrote. “It is the law that all flights travelling from an EU airport or booked through an EU carrier must be refunded within seven days. As we all know, this has not happened and many have been given the runaround to claim our money back. I have set this page up so we can hopefully help each other.”

Gill Jones from Rayleigh in Essex told the newspaper she has been waiting since early April for a £1,895 refund for canceled flights to Las Vegas.

“Initially, we were only being offered vouchers but we stuck to our guns and insisted on a refund,” she said. “At the start, Virgin would only correspond by text, and took until 1 June before it finally emailed to say the refund would be processed. Then we were told it would be 60 days, but I am not holding my breath.”

In response, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said its customer service staff and finance teams are working from home with limits.

“We have boosted the size of the team handling refunds and these additional staff are receiving training,” the statement said. “We would like to reassure all customers that if [they’re] eligible for a requested a refund, it will be repaid in full and we are committed to completing each refund at the earliest opportunity.”

On Thursday (June 11), PYMNTS reported early signs of a resurgence in tourism could rescue the troubled airline industry.

Mark Manduca, associate director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa research at Citi, told CNBC’s Capital Connection that he is seeing “green shoots” on the recreation travel side of the battered airline sector.

“If you look at the facts, short-term demand is indeed recovering, particularly on the leisure side,” he said.

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