Air passengers wrongly forced to buy Covid kits at Edinburgh Airport reimbursed thanks to The Scotsman

Dozens of passengers wrongly forced to buy Covid test kits at Edinburgh Airport have been refunded after enquiries by The Scotsman.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 6:46 pm

It followed Border Force officials insisting that all those arriving on a Ryanair flight from Dublin on February 26 purchased the £210 kits to enter Scotland despite pleas that they were not required.

After waiting six weeks to be reimbursed, the passengers have finally got their money back after The Scotsman contacted the UK Government this week.

A spokesperson for Corporate Travel Management (CTM), which processed the refunds for the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care, said: "Everyone from [Ryanair flight] FR812 who was due a refund has now been refunded.”

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A total of 35 passengers were made to buy Covid test kits by Border Force officials. Picture: Greg Macvean

Border Force had told The Scotsman days after the incident – which the newspaper was the first to reveal – that it had taken “swift action to correct the error”.

It said it had contacted Ryanair on the day it happened “to provide instructions on how passengers could claim a full refund”.

However, one of the 35 affected passengers contacted The Scotsman nearly three weeks later after having difficulty claiming back her money.

She said she had spent hours on the phone trying to claim a refund.

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Edinburgh Airport arrivals from Dublin wrongly compelled to buy £210 Covid tests...

The woman, who had travelled with her partner, said: “The testing package was an unexpected expense that seems to have been charged in error.

"I'm a PhD student at Edinburgh University and that sort of money is a significant amount of my monthly budget.

“I attempted multiple times to get in touch with the Home Office and the suppliers of the testing package and got nowhere.

"I have gotten fobbed off time and time again, and no one has any information on how I might get a refund and no one is taking responsibility for this issue.”

The woman told The Scotsman on Tuesday that she still hadn’t received a refund, but within a day of The Scotsman raising it with the UK Government, CTM said the student had been reimbursed.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “CTM is required to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to assess each refund request to ensure they meet the necessary criteria, and we are happy to inform you that [this] request has been approved and the refund processed.”

The student today: "I can confirm I received the refund this morning.

“The CTM travel group hadn't responded to my email until you were involved.

"Thanks again and for your great work highlighting this piece in The Scotsman.

"I would have never known to look for reimbursement without it.”

A St Andrews University student and fellow passenger, who was also forced to pay for a kit, said: “I want to personally thank you for keeping up on this and staying in touch.

"It means quite a lot that somebody was able to get answers for us.

"I’m also very happy to hear that everyone on the flight who deserved a refund has been refunded.

"That is such good news

"I was most concerned about the people I talked with who traveled in families and had a much higher price to pay.”

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