Travel Trolley refusing full refund on October 2021 USA flight

It has been widely reported that the USA will start accepting fully vaccinated travellers from the UK in November 2021. We have flights to New York booked for October 2021 via Travel Trolley (Finnair out and Finnair operated by BA return). As we now know we can't travel, we're asking for a full refund so we can book somewhere else. However, when we contact Travel Trolley, they say the flight is still fully operational and if we cancel there will be a tax refund of £90 per adult (2) and £20 per child (1), the tickets cost over 900 hundred pounds.
As far as we're concerned the situation is - the flight is going and the fact that you can't travel is bad luck!
Can anyone offer us any advice because this seems like sharp practice to me!


  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    Advice for the future would be:
    1. Don't use cheap and (sometimes) cheerful online travel agents
    2. Book flexible/refundable tickets if you anticipate that you might need flexibility (you presumably booked during the pandemic?)
    3. Ensure that you have adequate travel insurance that covers such eventualities
    4. Consider expanding the scope of purchases to buy packages rather than flight-only, to benefit from greater protection
    5. Pay by credit or debit card (as a rule, although these wouldn't help in this scenario)
    Does the insurance point apply here, perhaps?  If not, then you're probably stuffed, as you're subject to the cancellation/refund policy associated with your purchase, which presumably only allows for refunding of the unused tax elements, but worth checking your fare conditions and supplier terms in detail.

    As a potential long shot, you could try to argue that Travel Trolley's terms and conditions are unlawful and take them to court, but you'd need to commit time and (probably) money to trying to build such a case....
  • mattyprice4004mattyprice4004 Forumite
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    To be fair the flight is going - just the USA won't accept you as a tourist. 
    This is a 'you' problem and not a 'them' problem - the travel agent is providing the flight, the carrier will be operating the flight - just the destination country says you don't meet their entry requirements. 

    This is an insurance claim scenario (if you have the correct cover), if not you'll be out of luck I'm afraid. 
    It's not sharp practice at all, there's still lots of reasons people can and do enter the USA for - but tourism isn't one of them. The reason for your trip isn't the airline's or agent's concern. 
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
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    I assume you would not have been allowed to travel at the time when you booked these flights (ban been in place for 18 months) and were maybe hoping that things would change before travel date
    When you booked did you confirm what the situation would have been if the ban was not lifted before travel date but the flight operated?
    Finnair have information on their site re refunds (agent will only pass on what they get back, minus any admin fees you agreed to)
    "Please note that if we haven’t cancelled your flight but you wish to cancel your reservation, refund will be according to the ticket rule." so the information from Travel Trolley appears accurate
    If your travel insurance does not cover this then the best way to avoid losses would be to change the dates of the flights.
    Finnair details here but you will need to work with Travel Trolley to achieve anything and pay their fees (a lesson for the future to book direct with the airline)
  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    If a refund isn't an option, you may be able to change the dates.  Finnair are allowing this under their own flexible booking policy.  Ticket changes | Finnair United Kingdom (same link as @Caz3121 posted).  Note that Finnair are waiving their own change fees, but you will need to pay any change fees that TravelTrolley  charge.

    Or, your travel insurance may cover you, but will very much depend on your level of cover and policy.

  • Andym68Andym68 Forumite
    2 Posts
    First Post
    Thank you for all the comments above, very sound advice that will be heeded in future!
    Quick update.
    We have spoken to and emailed Travel Trolley lots of times and tried every approach.
    The flights can be moved but must be used before 31/12/2021. They must be on Finnair Flights operated by BA. We tried to change them to two equal value (on their website) tickets and me not travel as my wife and daughter break up a week earlier but they wanted an extra £520 and wouldn't explain or email a price breakdown. We will get the tax refunded but that's it - a very painful lesson learned.
    Please heed all the expert comments above and be careful when booking with Travel Trolley.
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
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    Andym68 said:
    Please heed all the expert comments above and be careful when booking with Travel Trolley.
    It is not just Travel Trolley but with any third party you will end up with additional sets of terms and conditions so it would have been important to understand the "what ifs" before you chose where to purchase and what to purchase.
    In general if flights operate then unless you have opted for expensive refundable tickets there will not be a refund apart from some taxes. Many airlines offer vouchers or if you had chosen BA flights booked with BA then you would have been able to get a vouchers valid till 30 September 2023. Although vouchers would still be issued in the names of the original passengers. Choosing Finnair codeshares mean the Finnair waivers apply instead which appear to apply only to those that book direct with Finnair.
    Any joy with your travel insurance?

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