Holidaymakers could find themselves paying their airline to change the date of a flight again next year, even if the change is due to the pandemic.
Most airlines have waived cancellation fees since the start of the pandemic, as passengers were forced to reorganise their trips due to the spread of Covid-19.
But despite the coronavirus continuing to disrupt some travel plans, several airlines could start charging customers to alter their flights once again at the start of 2022.
Easyjet has said it will be reviewing its policy for the beginning of next year, and others could follow as their cancellation policies only run until the end of 2021.
Easyjet is one of the firms that could start charging customers to change their flights again
This will come as a blow to many who may have to change their plans last minute as the pandemic continues to affect worldwide travel.
Although there are currently no countries on the UK’s ‘red list’ for inbound travel, Britons still face restrictions when visiting many locations.
Whilst the potential changes to cancellation policies won’t affect customers taking their families away at the end of this year, many will have planned ahead of time for a trip in 2022.
Most who have booked trips abroad are relying on being able to change their flights via their airline if there are any complications due to coronavirus.
This is Money spoke to several major airlines to find out if they were planning to remove the free changes and if so, how much they would be asking customers to pay for in future.
Easyjet said its current Protection Promise, which allows customers to change their flights without a fee, at any time up to two hours before departure, only applies to alterations made before 31 December 2021.
After that, it said it is ‘continuing to review’ its policies – with no guarantee that changes will be free.
Those who have already got flights booked for next year and want to change them now can do so without penalty.
Easyjet added that, whilst its plans for the new year are unknown, customers can still move to any flight on any route on its network, up to the end of September 2022, and to any other destination on its network.
British Airways said that, as it stands, customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their flights with the fee waived for journeys that will be completed by 31 August 2022.
Alternatively, customers can request a voucher for future use as part of its Book with Confidence policy. These vouchers are valid until 30 September 2023.
Many people had to alter plans due to the pandemic with most relying on fee-free changes
WizzAir said: ‘Those who have opted for the basic fare can cancel or rearrange their booking for a fee.
‘Those who added Wizz Flex to their booking have the option to cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any cancellation fee, and get 100 per cent of the original fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.
‘If Wizz Air cancels a flight, passengers are entitled to 120 per cent of the original fare in airline credit, or a full refund or the option to rebook for free.’
Jet2 and Ryanair did not respond to our request for comment.
However, according to its website, Ryanair will allow customers to make two flight changes without being charged a flight change fee. This applies only to bookings made between 10 June 2020 and 30 September 2021, for travel before 31 December 2021.
It says flight changes must take place at least seven days before the original scheduled departure dates. Changes to flights in 2022 are excluded from this.
This suggests that customers might have to pay up if they have to change their flights next year.
On the website, it says that those looking to change their flights will usually have to pay between £35 to £95 with the price depending on the time and route.
Meanwhile, it says on Jet2‘s website that if customers have got a flight booked but have to self-isolate due to NHS Test and Trace, they can amend their booking fee-free.
It added that even though bookings are non-refundable and non-transferable, the airline can help customers with date changes.
However, it will charge the administration fee of £35 plus the difference in price between the original fare and the new fare.
If the overall fare has decreased since a customer made the original booking, no refund will be paid.
Neither Ryanair or Jet2’s website confirmed what their policy would be for changing flights as of next year.
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