‘Cooling Off’ Period Needed For Online Airline Bookings

I have called on airlines to implement an honest cancellation policy on online bookings.

Airline companies such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus don’t allow their customers to cancel their bookings and receive a full refund, even in the 24 hours following the booking. In an era where online mistakes are easy to make and life events can change plans, airline companies need to put in place a fair cancellation policy.

It is common that online booking websites encourage customers to buy the product or service as quickly as possible. This can often lead to mistakes or impulse buying. As a consequence, this can leave people with unwanted or unusable flights, while incurring the full cost.

Under the EU Consumer Rights Directive, which applies to people shopping online, consumers have the right to a 14 day ‘cooling off period’, whereby they can cancel the contract for any reason and not incur any penalties or fees. This does not however, apply to flights bought online.

I believe companies such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus should be providing customers with the option to cancel their flight within a 24 hour period which should also be fully refundable.

Some airlines such as Easy Jet have already adopted this approach, albeit with a cancellation fee, proving that this model can be achieved. There is no reason other airlines could not develop similar policies.

The small print used in these circumstances to deny a refund are often deliberately dense, long and confusing for ordinary people. Companies should consider making the process more transparent and also take into account that plans can change in an instant.

Affording customers a cancellation period without losing their money, will make a fairer deal for us all.

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