This almost reads like a The Onion story – Ryanair is actually telling people they cannot fly with them again unless they pay for flights that they never took. Um, ok, paying twice to fly Ryanair? No thank you! So, what is the deal?
Ryanair and the Chargeback Customers
Airlines had to adapt to the ever changing landscape of international travel last year during the covid slowdown. Countries that were typically open to almost everyone overnight locked down so that even their own neighbors were not allowed to enter. While many airlines canceled a lot of international flights, many flights were still flying since they were able to move cargo and there were still some passengers that needed to get from one place to another.
Ryanair and Passengers That Could Not Fly
I was one of those passengers. Flying from Europe to the US and back last summer meant that I was flying on an airplane that would normally have over 300 passengers but I had just 20 fellow flyers onboard. But, not everyone was able to fly to some places and some of these countries were not letting any outsiders in.
Ryanair had a number of passengers that were unable to fly to their flight destination due to such country restrictions. While most airlines were accommodating to customers who were not able to fly, Ryanair was not. Their policy was and is – if the flight takes place, you get nothing.
Well, there were many (unknown how many other than Ryanair saying it is a “tiny fraction of Ryanair’s 150 million passengers” – under 850 is one number they give) that filed chargebacks with their credit card company when they found they were unable to fly.
The Credit Card Chargeback
A chargeback is a tool that is very useful for when the company that sells you something does not operate in good faith or within the appropriate terms of payment. A bank will refund the passenger and then, upon completing an investigation, take that money from the vendor. If the bank decides that you were not due a refund, they will reverse their initial move and take the money back again.
Companies hate the chargeback so they will normally try to work with a customer to make something work out the right way. If a company wants to, it can dispute the chargeback and provide evidence to the bank that their end of the purchase was upheld.
It appears that the banks issued the refunds to passengers so Ryanair must not have originally disputed the chargebacks. At any rate, when some customers were showing up to fly new Ryanair tickets, they were being told they had to pay the amount owed for the chargeback before they would be able to fly. While people are used to Ryanair being the very low cost carrier, some of these refunds were close to €700!
If they actually want to fly that ticket they currently hold, they need to pay back the previous amount. Ryanair says this is because those flights did end up flying. However, unlike in many countries, there were many passengers in Europe that were unable to legally fly these routes due to Covid restrictions.
Yet, Ryanair’s attitude is that it is not their problem (even though some believe that they flew these flights so they wouldn’t have to refund customers). They do say they will refund the ticket you attempt to fly on if you decide you don’t want to pay for the chargeback (leaving you stranded without a flight wherever you happen to be at the time – generous!).
This is definitely just another thing to go in the column of why not to fly Ryanair. I do actually fly them but only on tickets where I don’t mind losing the money if something goes wrong. I have had to deal with them when things go wrong and it is definitely not fun and can definitely cost more money that what was saved when booking with them in the first place! Hopefully, these passengers are able to work something out to not have to be out this money, especially one year after the refund took place.
This is a good reminder to always have some kind of travel insurance or book with a credit card that offers such protection for when things go wrong!