Travel agents threaten legal action to claw back Covid flight cancellation refunds

An empty travel agency. File photograph.
An empty travel agency. File photograph. / SUR
  • It is estimated that, across Europe, airlines owe in the region of nine billion euros after the pandemic grounded flights

When the state of alarm was decreed in Spain on 14 March 2020 many flights were grounded and tickets were cancelled. And now, more than one year on, passengers are still waiting for their refunds.

And the wait is not just affecting individuals, who booked online, but travel agencies too. The unpaid amounts are suffocating these businesses and now the sector says that, after exhausting all other avenues, the only way out is the presentation of a barrage of lawsuits to the airlines to put an end to the situation.

The president of the Association of Travel Agencies of Malaga, Sergio García, has announced that there are members who cannot take it anymore and points out the case of a travel agency to which two companies owe almost 60,000 euros for cancelled flight tickets due to Covid-19 mobility restrictions.

The association says that the situation is “drowning” the agencies and urges the Government to force airlines to reimburse the cancelled trips.

García claims it has been calculated that in Europe the airlines still owe nine billion euros in ticket refunds and says that there are already 200 agencies that have permanently been removed from the Andalusian Tourism Registry because they have not been able to overcome the crisis.

He also said that 40 per cent of the businesses that have not opened since the pandemic began.

"The judicial route is the only recourse," he added.