Retired Leyland couple owed money for over a year after flights to see daughter in New Zealand cancelled

A retired Leyland couple had been looking forward to travelling across the world to see their daughter in New Zealand, but say they are still waiting for their money back after the Covid-19 outbreak put a stop to their trip.

By James Holt
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:45 pm

They saw their plans to finally see their daughter Sharon for the first time in four years shattered at the start of the pandemic when Coronavirus put a stop to flights abroad for holidays.

Set to fly across the world, over 11,000 miles to New Zealand, Elizabeth and Edward Marshall, from Leyland were looking forward to spending a month living with their daughter who they hadn't seen for almost half a decade.

But when the first national lockdown was introduced due to the rising cases of Coronavirus, their flights were cancelled to stop people travelling outside the country.

Elizabeth and Edward claim they are owed almost £1,800 in flight refunds

They say they are still waiting to receive their refund of almost £2,000 more than a year later after first making their booking at the World Travel Lounge in Leyland.

Elizabeth, 73, said: "Back in 2019 we had booked to go and see our daughter for the first time in years and stay with her for a month in New Zealand for her 50th birthday. We had booked it for March 25 which was just as the lockdown came in, so we decided, in the end, it would be better to get a refund for our flights that were cancelled.

"We were told it would take 100 days to process our refund, but at Christmas, we were then told that we would be getting a voucher and not a refund, but we wanted the money we were owed.

"We have been calling them every week since and just haven't got anywhere. It is a lot of money to lose and every time we ask, we just don't get an answer. It feels like there is always some excuse from someone."

They hadn't seen their daughter for over 4 years before they planned the trip

Their flight would've taken them across the world on March 25 last year, but the growing concerns about the Covid-19 virus put a stop to the trip they had been so excited for.

In a flight that would take almost 24 hours, the couple were set to fly out from Manchester on March 25 to Dubai, before catching a connecting flight to Auckland.

Costing a hefty £1,763.78, Elizabeth and her husband Edward, 77, instead decided they would put the money towards selling their house, as they plan to move out of their Leyland home and into their apartment at Lytham St Annes.

But as anxieties grew, plans to move have been making the couple worried, as they claim they are still to receive their refund from flights cancelled more than a year ago.

Elizabeth said it is 'desperation time' as they are owed the money

Instead, they are now having to now rely on Facetime video calls to keep in touch with their daughter, who is over 11,000 miles away, as they would be forced to self-isolate in a hotel in New Zealand for a fortnight if they made the trip.

Elizabeth added: "We never get to see our daughter because she is so far away and it is difficult travelling all that way at our time of life. We were so excited to get a chance to go and see her for her birthday, but that has since gone by now and we don't know when we will be able to go again.

"That is why we wanted our money back to spend on moving house, which has been really stressful. I am so fed up with this, and there must be so many other people in the same boat who are owed money from cancelled flights from Coronavirus.

"Things are difficult over in New Zealand and we would have to isolate in a hotel for two weeks which would be really expensive, so right now it is just not worth it. This year has been really stressful enough and we are at the end of our tether.

"We haven't moved house for more than 40 years, so it is a big change to move into our apartment. It is desperation time and this money would make such a big difference to us right now."

The Post made contact with the World Travel Lounge, who confirmed it was not in control of the booking which had been affected by the collapse of Freedom Travel Group Limited.

It added that the bookings had now been taken over by Hays Travel and was working hard with both customers and Hays Travel to retrieve all refunds that were owed.

On the Hays Travel website, it states that it will 'do everything in its power' for all people who are owed a flight refund if it was cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

A statement reads: "If you are unable to travel because of the Coronavirus you are entitled to a refund. We at Hays Travel will do everything in our power to ensure that this is paid as quickly as possible.

"We are working hard to administer all refund requests from our suppliers. At the moment we are experiencing significant delays in receiving these refunds from some of our suppliers due to the volume of people requesting refunds.

"We are really sorry that this is taking longer than you would expect under normal circumstances and are very grateful for your patience during these unprecedented times Don’t worry, if you are entitled to a refund your money is safe."

The Post has contacted Hays Travel for a comment.

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, take out a digital subscription today by ​clicking here.