RYANAIR has been accused of refusing refunds to passengers who have flights booked to Cyprus even though Brits aren't allowed to travel there, reports a consumer group.
Flights to the country have started running again after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office lifted "all but essential" travel restrictions to Cyprus last week.
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But the Cypriot government has banned holidaymakers from the UK until at least August 1 in an attempt to stop bringing new Covid-19 cases into the country.
But customers have been complaining that Ryanair is telling passengers who are affected to reschedule their trip for a later date, reports Which?, – and insisting they pay the admin fee and cough up the price difference for the new ticket.
Ryanair typically charges between £50 and £95 to change your flight.
It is offering to waive the fees to new bookings made in July, August and now September but those who've already booked still have to fork out for them.
Only citizens of Cyprus and their immediate family members are allowed into the country, as long as they have tested negative for coronavirus 72 hours before departure.
Ryanair is now running 1,000 flights a day after operating a skeleton schedule since mid-March.
In this instance, the budget airline isn't legally obliged to offer passengers refunds – you are only entitled to your money back if Ryanair cancels your flight altogether.
Early on in the pandemic, Ryanair refused to give customers' cash back but waived charges to rebook holidays affected by the outbreak.
It is no longer offering that option and normal terms and conditions apply.
One customer who was due to fly from Liverpool to Paphos on July 8 was charged a £270 "change fee" even though the new flights, booked for May 2021, were £75 cheaper than the original booking.
Ryanair said that passengers should check government guidance before they travel but this won't help those who booked holidays before the impact of the pandemic was apparent.
A spokesperson told Which?: "For non-cancelled flights, standard T&Cs apply.
"Travel restrictions update regularly, so Ryanair urges all passengers to check the latest travel updates on the Ryanair website and with the relevant authorities before they fly."
EasyJet has since cancelled all flights to Cyprus until next month and is giving passengers the option to rebook for free later this summer after The Sun stepped in.
It comes after QVC TV presenter Lee Clark told us he'd been asked to fork out £756 to change flights for his family of three to visit his parents who live on the island.
The airline has now reassured customers that passengers that are charged to change bookings will be refunded the difference.
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But it warned that there may be a delay in responding to your complaint due to the high volume of Covid-19 related queries, local lockdowns and reduced staffing.
A spokesperson added: "We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding and reassure them that the option to change their flights to Cyprus for free will remain after their original flight has flown."
British Airways has resumed flights to the island this week but the airline is offering passengers who've booked tickets for before the end of August the chance to reschedule for free.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to get a refund for your flight to Cyprus through your credit or debit card provider.
If your flight had been cancelled, you may be able to make a claim through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act but in this instance you won't be.
This is because the flight hasn't been cancelled and the only reason you're not travelling is because you have decided not to board the plane.
However, it's worth checking your travel insurance policy as you may be covered.
Policies bought early on in the year may cover you if you're no longer able to go ahead with your trip – this is called travel disruption cover.
But in March, insurers began withdrawing these deals once it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was going to cause widespread travel disruption.
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