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Why is my Aer Lingus Covid cancellation voucher due to expire?

The reader contacted Aer Lingus on WhatsApp over the terms and conditions: ‘This is where the real confusion began’

It seems like a long time ago now but it is only 3½ years since the world was turned upside down by Covid, with the travel plans of countless millions of people falling apart in an instant – and the grounding of almost everyone was one of the more minor consequences of the global pandemic.

While the travel sector has rebounded faster than even the most optimistic predictions made at the height of the crisis, there are still aftershocks being felt by many. One of those people is a reader called Jessica, who contacted us in an understandably confused state after a series of exchanges with Aer Lingus.

“We were one of the many people with flights booked for the summer of 2020 with Aer Lingus,” her mail starts. “Due to the pandemic we were unable to travel at the time [and] opted to take a voucher to the value of our flights plus 10 per cent extra instead of a refund.”

You may recall that so great was the crisis that the European Union modified its rules to allow airlines issue vouchers instead of cash refunds to passengers who had flights cancelled.


“Due to many factors, including health issues and a pregnancy, we have still not used our voucher,” Jessica says. “We recently decided to check it for an expiry date as we are still not close to being in a position to use it. It states on the voucher that it expires May 2025. However, on reading the terms and conditions attached to the voucher, it states ‘vouchers are not subject to an expiry date’.”

She sent us a copy of the terms and conditions, and sure enough it states pretty clearly that the voucher does not have an expiry date.

Jessica contacted Aer Lingus on WhatsApp. “This is where the real confusion began. After many days of back and forth trying to get an answer as to which information regarding expiry was correct, they responded by saying the voucher expires in May 2025. I asked why the terms and condition stated different and they sent me a link to another set of terms and conditions. When I asked again for an explanation as to why there was contradictory information on the voucher, I was told the terms attached to the voucher was a mistake. The only reply I got after that was a link to make a complaint. My query, basically, is can they just say the terms were a mistake and enforce the expiry date?”

We contacted the airline to find out what was going on. A spokeswoman said that its vouchers come with a five-year limit and said it would “investigate any individual instance of contrary communications issued to customers”. She said there are two years validity remaining on vouchers issued during the Covid period, “so there has been no instance of a customer being adversely impacted by the expiry of a voucher. A significant majority of vouchers issued during the Covid period have been used and Aer Lingus issues regular reminders to customers holding unused vouchers.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast