Ryanair has done a U-turn on its promise to immediately refund passengers for cancelled flights, and is now offering vouchers for future flights instead. Passengers demanding cash refunds have been advised that they’ll have to wait in a refund queue until the Covid-19 crisis has passed. This is proving to be totally unacceptable for customers who are now being left in a limbo-land of uncertainty.
UK Consumer campaign group Which? said the airline is breaking the law. Under EU regulations airlines based in the EU or flying from an EU country must refund passengers for cancelled flights within seven days. Some rival airlines are offering cash refunds but customers are reporting long waits to get through to call centres to put in their requests. Aer Lingus are offering a generous five year redemption on its vouchers plus a 10% bonus.
Legally, while airlines don’t have to pay compensation for cancellations caused by COVID-19, they are obliged to refund passengers within seven days.
How to get a refund from your airline
The law has not changed. You are still entitled to a full refund under EU261 if a European Union airline cancels a flight – or any airline cancels a flight from the European Union. If you want a refund there is no need to feel pressured into accepting a voucher. However you should be prepared for a struggle to get your money back. Aside from protracted and expensive legal action through the small claims courts, if your airline refuses or states that they will not refund you under the terms of EU261, you have two options.
Claiming from your bank or credit card
Many passengers have reported success in making a chargeback claim from their bank, or claiming on a credit card or PayPal accounts. The law says that credit card providers may be liable when a product or service is not provided. Claiming that refunds may be issued when the Covid-19 crisis is finished just isn’t acceptable in my opinion.
Fight for your refund
While it may seem impossible and lots of wasted time, numerous people have been refunded by the big airlines, it is worth fighting to get your money back and the law is on your side here. If you’re not in desperate need for the money however, then consider waiting until call centres calm down a bit. Alternatively you could accept the voucher if you are likely to be able to use it later this year. Aer Lingus has a 5 year validity on their vouchers which is very generous indeed.
Ryanair was one of the airlines praised by consumers and travel agents at the start of the Covid-19 crisis for the way in which it was handling cancellations but that has all changed rapidly this week. Ryanair’s vouchers are only valid for 12 months which is also causing outrage from angry customers. Travel Times recommends contacting www.flightrights.ie @flightrights or Phone: +353 1 6611700