A WARRINGTON resident has spoken about his chaotic experience trying to request refunds for his cancelled flights back to the UK from Portugal.

The resident, who did not wish to be named, spent almost £800 in a bid to return to Warrington from the Algarve after travelling there on holiday before the coronavirus lockdown began.

The customer said: "Originally I had return flights booked with EasyJet.

"Before leaving the UK on March 17, EasyJet cancelled the return flight and I had two options- change to another flight for free or click for a full refund.

"A simple click of a button to get my refund had my money back in a day or two.

"I then booked my return flight for March 31 with Ryanair for £101."

Two days after arriving in Portugal, the country went into full lockdown and the Ryanair flight was cancelled.

The customer again chose a refund as no other flights with the air operator were available until May.

He continued: "I went online to book a return flight with EasyJet for April 2 and paid £85 for that.

"I think it was a day or two later, March 23, that Boris Johnson comes on TV with the lockdown plans.

"I dashed straight to the computer and booked the next available EasyJet flight for the next day, at £240."

Upon arriving at the airport for his flight back to the UK, the customer was told by an EasyJet spokesperson that the UK border was closed and the flight was cancelled.

The customer said: "I rang the foreign office in the UK there and then and they denied this and said it’s not closed to UK nationals returning home.

"I was forced to sleep in the airport over night and luckily I got a flight to Gatwick the following day for £120 and it cost me £200 to get back to Warrington by train."

It cost a total of £791, including all flights, airport transfers and additional travel arrangements for the customer to get home.

When chasing refunds for the various cancelled and rearranged flights, the resident found the refund options were removed from his online account by both EasyJet and Ryanair.

He says the phone lines and emails were permanently busy, making it impossible for him to finalise his refunds and putting him out of pocket.

A spokesperson for EasyJet said: "Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre.

"We are experiencing higher than average wait times so we would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown.

"For customers whose flights are not cancelled but would like to move to a later date, they can amend their flight online with no change fee and we have brought forward our winter schedule on-sale so customers have more choice to move their flights, up to February 28, 2021."

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: "The refund option was never removed.

"Due to the fact we are receiving more customer queries and processing huge volumes of forced cancellations, our system had a temporary glitch, which has now been fixed."

Both EasyJet and Ryanair have since contacted the customer to acknowledge his refund request.

Have you had trouble getting back to the UK or receiving refunds for cancelled trips?

Let us know by emailing newsdesk@guardiangrp.co.uk.