§ Mr. Wiggin
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to require airlines to accept and refund customers who return air tickets within a specified period of time. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
The terms and conditions applying to the refund of tickets are set out in each airline's conditions of carriage. The International Air Transport Association publishes recommendations on conditions of carriage, applying to international flights provided by member airlines (Recommended Practice 1724). Following the intervention of the UK Office of Fair Trading, changes were made to RP 1724 in September 2000, principally extending the rights of passengers who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to use a purchased ticket. This recommendation is not, however, binding on carriers and does not apply to domestic flights.
Any legislative proposals affecting the air transport market within the European Community are a matter for the European Commission. In June 2002 the Commission published a consultation paper on airline conditions of carriage. This includes a proposal to require all EU airlines to apply conditions of carriage similar to those in the amended RP 1724.
Many European airlines, including all significant full service UK airlines, have signed up to a set of voluntary commitments on passenger service. These include a commitment to allow telephone reservations to be held or cancelled without commitment or penalty within 24 hours, and a commitment to provide prompt refunds where a passenger claims and is entitled to a refund.