‘We want money back, not vouchers,’ say Ryanair customers
- Credit: Greg Jurkiewicz
Ryanair customers are complaining that the airline is making it difficult to get refunds for flights cancelled because of the coronavirus and is offering people vouchers to be used within the next 12 months instead.
An avalanche of complaints has been made to this newspaper by disappointed passengers.
However, Ryanair says that for any cancelled flight it is giving customers all the options set out under EU regulations, including refunds.
Keira Johnson, from Takeley, was due to fly to Mallorca with her husband and five-year-old twins. The family says their situation is already difficult as Keira is self-employed with no income and her husband is a frontline worker who has been away from home for a month.
Keira says she applied for a refund immediately – but received an email this week with a travel voucher.
She said: “On their website it says you can apply a cash refund instead, which I had already, but now it doesn’t say how. I was on hold for an hour this week, trying to get through to them on the phone, but no one answered.”
Jo Williams, from Great Dunmow, was due to fly to Valencia on April 7 with her family. She says she spent £700 on flights and was hoping to get a refund as she is currently only receiving 80 per cent of her salary.
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Donna Buckle from Braintree, was due to travel with Ryanair to Rome at the end of March but the flights were cancelled. She says she was told she could apply for a refund - which she did.
“I had several emails saying there was a backlog and that they were still processing the refund. This week, nearly six weeks after my flight was cancelled, they have sent me a voucher for the value of my flights to use within 12 months.”
Donna had also booked Ryanair flights to Lanzarote for May, but says the company refused to cancel these flights and offered to exchange them for free until the end of August.
Donna says the timescales are “unfair” and only benefit the airline.
Rob Stillwell from Bishop’s Stortford was meant to travel to Malta with his wife, who is a practice manager at Newport surgery. They were celebrating a friend’s birthday.
They requested a refund worth £570, which Rob said was confirmed by email on March 31. On April 9, he received an email about the refund being processed and then did not hear anything until this week.
“I think it’s very poor they’re trying to force people into accepting a travel voucher,” he said.
Keely Gibsone was due to fly to Gran Canaria with her husband, two children and parents. She said she requested a cash refund but found out this week she had been given a voucher to use in the next year.
“They owe me £1,400. I am very annoyed that I can’t get the money back,” she said. “I am not planning on spending £1,400 with Ryanair in the foreseeable future.
“I can’t refund my parents for their flights without the cash. Who knows when we’ll be able to fly again and what the Ryanair prices will like then?”
Greg Jurkiewicz, who has been living in Elsenham for 16 years, was due to fly to Warsaw with his fiance Edyta Grzelak and their two-year-old son for Easter, to spend time with their family in Poland.
He said: “We applied for refund on March 24 and received a voucher offer available for 12 months on April 21. There is no clear option to apply for actual cash refund. If I wanted to get full refund, I have to wait until Covid-19 passes.
“Edyta has been furloughed and as such the incomes have to be carefully planned.”
Lisa Williams, from Stansted, was due to fly to Malta with her mother between March 24-31 and has received a voucher instead of a refund.
She and her husband are furloughed at the moment, so she says a refund “would be helpful”. However, they are considering taking the voucher to help the airline.
“It’s a case of do we accept the voucher and hope they stay in business so we can use it, or should we insist on the refund and also hope they stay in business long enough for us to receive it?”
Ryanair has been contacted for comment by this newspaper and a spokesperson said: “For any cancelled flight, Ryanair is giving customers all of the options set out under EU regulations, including refunds”. Twitter and Facebook users have been advised by the company to privately message with their booking reference, email address and passenger names to be put into the refund queue.