The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge problems for airlines, most of whom have had to ground most or all of their fleets. Ryanair is no exception, grounding the majority of its fleet.
It means there are millions of passengers wanting refunds for their cancelled flights.
What should I do?
First of all, bear in mind that that all airlines are overwhelmed by the current situation, and so will be working through hundreds of flights with tens of thousands of passengers.
If your flight is not for this week or next week, it may make more sense to wait a few weeks until the airlines have sorted our resourcing issues in call centres and also improved their online refund procedures. Many airlines also spent much of March sorting out urgent repatriation flights.
For general advice on claims, including EU261 claims, see
Coronavirus: How to claim flight compensation
Ryanair has cancelled my flight. How do I get a refund?
First off, head to the airline’s website. If the airline has cancelled your flight, then you are entitled to a refund. The airline will probably have sent you an automated email explaining what your options are, but if has not yet done so, it will do.
Ryanair says “Any passenger whose flight has been cancelled as a result of these Government shutdowns, will over the next week or two, receive an email outlining their options.”
Am I entitled to a full refund?
If the airline has cancelled your flight or the government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has advised against travel to the destination, then yes you are.
If the flight is still being operated, then normally, no.
Ryanair has Value, Regular, Plus and Flexi Plus. None of these allow you to cancel a flight which is still flying.
As its website says, “If you do not travel on your booked flight the air fare, fees and charges are non-refundable but you may apply within one month of the date of travel for a refund of the Government Tax paid using this link.”
Ryanair also charges ‘an administration fee’ when processing these government tax refunds. “If the refund amount is less than the applicable administration fee, no refund will be made.”
Ryanair has waived its flight change fee for any travel between 13th March and 30th April. (Fare change will apply.)
What does that mean?
It means you can postpone your flight to a later date in the hope that it will fly later.
My flight is still showing as flying, but it will get cancelled.
Then wait for it to be cancelled. If you wait for the airline to cancel it then you’ll get a refund.
If for some reason you need to do cancel now, then as stated above, you will get back only your government taxes. You may be able to claim on your travel insurance.
Can I claim on my travel insurance?
Possibly, depending on when you booked your flight – and also when you took out your insurance. See the following article for advice on that.
Coronavirus: will insurance cover your cancelled trip?
Note that the UK, like most of the world, is in a semi-lockdown mode. Anyone with any symptoms is to self-isolate for 14 days. In those circumstances all aviation call centres, no matter how many extra staff they employ / contract with, are experiencing difficulties responding at the busiest time they have ever experienced.
“We are dealing with unprecedented numbers of flight bans, we have had to reduce office staff by 50 percent for social distancing reasons and we ask customers to be patient and bear with us; you will receive email communications in due course. Please do not call our phone lines as the reduced staffing will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days, will be rescue flights.”
“At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last. The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced. We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions.”