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Airlines must not punish consumers for taking responsible decision

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on the government to step in and prevent airlines punishing people for taking the decision not to holiday abroad this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Brady said:

“I have had angry and disappointed families from right across Wicklow contacting me after they have had to cancel family holidays. Many of these holidays have been paid for over the last year.”

“Thousands of people have already missed their summer holidays abroad due to the ongoing pandemic.

“The Irish Travel Agents Association estimates that over €800,000 a day is being lost by people who had foreign holidays booked in advance of this pandemic, but now cannot go.

“People want to do the right thing and protect their families and wider communities from Covid-19. They are rightly taking a cautious approach, but they are being financially punished for this, as some airlines are refusing to provide refunds or flight vouchers, while others are charging exorbitant rescheduling fees.

“I’ve been contacted by hundreds of people about this issue, with one individual losing €3,000, another losing €6,700 on a holiday that they had to cancel.

“The airline sector is facing a huge challenge, and the state does need to address this in a proportionate and fair way. But the sector’s recovery cannot be based on taking money from families who make the decision not to holiday abroad this year, in line with advice from public health experts.

“Airlines should be offering refunds, flight credit or free rescheduling, while travel insurance companies should be compensating those who have already lost money due to the restrictions on travel.

“If airlines and travel insurance companies refuse to change tack, the government must take action, they cannot sit on the side-lines and allow this rip-off to continue.”

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