Ryanair to refuse refunds for flights in November lockdown

2 November 2020, 18:12 | Updated: 2 November 2020, 18:15

Ryanair passengers will be denied their money back for operating flights
Ryanair passengers will be denied their money back for operating flights. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Ryanair customers will be refused refunds for flights in November despite the Government banning all but essential foreign travel in England’s second lockdown.

Michael O’Leary, the budget airline’s chief executive, said passengers would not get their money back if a flight was still running.

“There won’t be refunds on flights that are operating and travelling,” he said. “But we’ve waived the change fees for bookings.”

The Ireland-based firm is preparing for a “hugely challenging” period to continue as it reported a loss of 197 million euros (£178 million) in the first half of the year.

The Ireland-based low-cost airline said it “expects to record higher losses” in the second half of the year as a “hugely challenging” period continues.

Read more: Boris Johnson to warn of covid deaths 'twice as bad' as spring

Read more: What you can and can't do under England lockdown rules

Ryanair has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis
Ryanair has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Picture: PA

The spring Covid-19 lockdown saw 99% of the carrier’s fleet grounded for almost four months between mid-March and the end of June.

Ryanair said 17.1 million people travelled on its planes in the six months to September, compared with 85.7 million last year, and has paid out €1.5bn (£1.35bn) in cash refunds or vouchers for cancelled flights so far during the crisis.

Rory Boland, the travel editor of the consumer group Which?, said: “While Ryanair has recently made some improvements, we still get more complaints about its handling of refunds than any other airline, including from a steady stream of passengers still struggling to get their money back.

“Ryanair now risks adding insult to injury by refusing to refund passengers who cannot fly this month because of the latest lockdown.

“Some airlines have consistently broken the rules and ignored warnings from the regulator, which, without the ability to issue fines or take swift action, is unable to enforce the law. The government must urgently review the Civil Aviation Authority’s powers.”

No fee on changing flights only applies to bookings made after 10 June for journeys between July and November, according to Ryanair's website. A fare difference charge will still be applied, it adds.

Announcing the new national lockdown restrictions on Saturday, Boris Johnson told people in England they “must stay at home” bar essential reasons like exercise and food shopping from Thursday 5 November.

The shutdown is expected to last until 2 December, but Cabinet ministers have not ruled out an extension if the virus is still not under control.