A WOMAN has won back more than £2,500 from BA after the airline wouldn't give her a refund for a cancelled flight.
Jennie Barber managed to win back the cash by representing herself at Magistrates Court, according to the BBC.
Ms Barber, from Birmingham successfully argued that she should have been given a refund for a BA flight that didn't run because of Covid travel restrictions.
The airline initially offered her a refund in the form of travel vouchers for the cancelled flight to Japan in March 2020.
Ms Barber accepted the vouchers at first, but with Japan's borders still closed nine months later, she then requested a cash refund.
After approaching the airline several times, she decided to take her case to court.
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At the hearing, she was awarded £2,523.42 to cover flights, interest and costs.
In a statement, a BA spokesperson told the BBC: "We were the first UK airline to offer customers the unprecedented flexibility to change their plans during the pandemic by providing them with vouchers for future travel."
What should I do if I couldn't make my flight due to Covid?
If you found yourself in a similar situation during the pandemic, you may also be able to get compensation.
The airline may refuse to refund you if the flight went ahead, such as in this case.
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You can complain to its "ombudsman" – once you've given the airline eight weeks to respond.
You could also try complaining to regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
If you don't want to go to court, you could try going through your card provider, though there are no guarantees of success.
If you paid on a credit card for something costing more than £100 then you can try under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
If you paid by debit card or your flight was less than £100 on a credit card then try Chargeback.
It's worth noting that if you do end up going to small claims court then there are fees that apply.
The court fee is based on the amount you’re claiming, plus any interest.
For example, if you're claiming up to £300, you'll have to pay £35 in court fees.
If you claim £300.01 to £500 you'll pay £50.
The more you claim the more you pay in fees – you can find out more about exact fees on the gov.uk website.
Although, if you win then you'll get this money back.
If you lose you won't get fees back and you may also have to pay expenses (but not legal costs) to the other party too.
You can take complaints to the small claims court within six years from the date of the flight.
Can I get a refund or compensation if my flight is cancelled?
So long as you're faced with a certain series of events, you can usually get your money back when your holiday goes wrong.
Most passengers will be protected by what's called Denied Boarding regulations.
This means that you have to be offered either a full refund for a cancelled flight or a seat on the next possible flight, or another one at a better time.
You have to be catered for if you're left waiting a while between the cancelled flight and your new one too.
That means if you've got an overnight stay between the reimbursed flight and the time of cancellation, then you'll get meals, accommodation and transfers provided for the inconvenience.
You may also be able to get some money back if your flight is delayed by three hours or more.
How do I get back what I'm owed?
You'll have to go straight to your travel provider if you want to get back anything you're owed.
Customers can find out more information on their airline's website, usually under a "manage my booking tab".
There may also be a specific refund request page.
To claim compensation though, usually your flight needs to have departed from a UK airport, arrived at a UK airport and was with a UK or EU airline or arrived into the EU and was with a UK airline.
You could be able to claim £220 per person on shorter journeys, and £520 on longer distances says one travel expert.
If these don't apply, you need to contact the airline to get back anything you feel you may be owed.
Why wouldn't I get my money back?
The airline doesn't have to give you a refund if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond their control, such as extreme weather.
They'll usually say this is because it is down to an "extraordinary circumstance" but it can be a tetchy subject, and one plenty of customers prefer to contest.
You can try challenging this if you think you should have got your money back, or at least flown in the first place.
For example, other airlines may have set off at the same time yours was kept back.
Take any complaints to the aviation regulator the CAA.
You're also not going to get any money back if you were forewarned of the cancellation.
If you're told at least two weeks in advance you should have time to swap your booking without paying a penalty, at least that's the airline's thinking as they won't dish out automatic refunds.
You also won't be able to claim compensation for flights cancelled but rerouted that get you to your destination no more than two hours later than planned.
You can't of course get your money back if you do opt for the alternative flight.
Should I take any action myself?
You might be worried about putting your holiday in jeopardy amid the recent travel chaos, but jumping the gun could leave you worse off.
If you cancel your own flights without the right cover you could be refused your money back altogether.
A good way to make sure your back is covered is by getting travel insurance.
If you can't claim compensation directly through the airline, your travel insurance may refund you instead.
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Policies vary so you should check the small print, but a delay of eight to 12 hours will normally mean you qualify for some money from your insurer.
Make sure to get written confirmation of your delay from the airport as your insurer will want to see some kind of proof so to pay-out.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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