In our experience the practice of offering vouchers has traditionally been a lot more commonplace with the American airlines but this article suggests now UK based air carriers such as Thomas Cook Group seem to be following suit.
Article 7.3 of the Regulations clearly states that compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight should be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders, or bank cheques unless the passenger signs to agree to accept travel vouchers and/or other services in place of monetary compensation.
The key point here is that there needs to be a signed agreement by the passenger to say they are willing to accept vouchers in place of money. If the passenger has not done so then they are under no obligation to accept the airline’s offer of vouchers and can insist on cash.
The key point here is that there needs to be a signed agreement by the passenger to say they are willing to accept vouchers in place of money.
The compensation amounts payable under EU261 are fixed according to the flight distance and length of delay so passengers may wish to weigh up the value of the vouchers offered by the airline with the EU261 compensation due. Consumers can find out how much they are entitled to for their particular delay or cancellation in under a minute by using our free flight delay compensation checker.
It is also worth noting that vouchers are often time limited and for the airline that you have (or should) have just travelled with. That airline might not do the route that you want next time you fly, be wary. The can also expire, for example after a year so consumers should think carefully about if this is the most suitable form of compensation for them given vouchers take away much of the consumer’s right to choose.
At Bott and Co we have had clients come to us who have been offered travel vouchers by the airline but are hesitant to accept these as compensation. Once such couple are the Parker-Thompsons of Preston:
The emergency landing of BA 762 at Heathrow on 24th May 2013 caused air travel disruption across the UK. The Parker-Thompsons arrived in New York an entire day late after a the Heathrow incident caused a two and a half hour delay on their BA1387 flight from Manchester to Heathrow, meaning they then missed their connecting BA plane to JFK Airport.
They were left without hotel accommodation by the airline, sleeping on the airport floor until the next available flight the following day. British Airways initially offered the travellers just £100 in vouchers to be spent on another flight with the airline. Bott and Co took on the case and recovered €1200 compensation for the passengers.