Fair Play: Island netballers cry foul over Flybe ‘refunds’

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FLYBE say that two squads of young Island netball players can claim back their £46.10 in unpaid airport taxes – but only if they each pay a £50 administration fee.

Parents are out of pocket because the airline would charge each one of the 24 players – from the Island U16 and U19 squads whose trip to the UK was cancelled in February – more to claim the money than they would get back.

Flybe are standing firm and say that their policy on administration fees was made clear when the parents bought the tickets.

The mother of one of the girls who was meant to go on the trip works at a travel agent. She says that the administration fee is way too much and that £10 would be a fairer charge than £50, especially as all 24 tickets were made on one booking.

Anne Riant said: ‘In an ideal world, where everybody is customer-friendly, Flybe might say that we will refund the taxes and possibly charge you £10 a head.

‘Other airlines that I have contacted charge a tenner a head. To reclaim the taxes is just a click of the button. I am speaking on behalf of the parents. We just think that enough is enough. We cannot afford to lose £3,500. We fund ourselves.’

The parents spent £3,500 on the airline tickets, but had hoped to get just over £1,000 back in reclaimed airport taxes.

The netball team’s trip to Bath was meant to happen on the weekend of 8 February, when much of Britain was covered in heavy snow.

That meant that although the team could fly into Southampton, they would not have made it up to Bath to play their matches, and no alternative could be put together at short notice because the roads were covered in snow.

They cancelled the flights, but Mrs Riant contacted Flybe about reclaiming the airport taxes that they were entitled to a refund on.

We took the netball teams’ fight on for them and contacted the ‘low-cost’ airline, but Flybe said that they were sticking to their policy which, they said, was clear to all passengers who bought tickets.

In a statement responding to the parents’ complaint, the airline said: ‘Flybe is a non-refundable airline as is standard industry practice. Also in line with common airline practice, where a passenger elects to cancel their journey, we do apply an administration charge of £25 per person per sector.

‘This information is clearly available to passengers on our website at the time of booking. In addition, for group reservations the terms and conditions are also very clearly set out in the confirmation.’

The Jersey Netball Association would not make an official comment because they need to use the airline and did not want to upset them. That is why it was the parents who got in touch with the Fair Play team.

What a shame that common sense seems to have gone out of the window with Flybe, especially when so many sporting organisations use them throughout the year.

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