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Ryanair wants to charge a fortune to change our flights


I’m sure you will have received many letters about Ryanair during the pandemic but I’d like your views on our experience.

We decided to take our extended family on holiday to Marseille in July 2020, so we booked flights – more than half with Ryanair and the rest with easyJet. Due to Covid we were unable to travel last July. EasyJet gave us vouchers for their flights; however, our Ryanair flights weren’t cancelled, so our only option was to change flights to this July, and to pay the extra charges of £1,000.

As this July approached it became clear we couldn’t travel as most of the party were not fully immunised. EasyJet cancelled its flights and issued new vouchers. The Ryanair flights were not cancelled, so once again we tried to rebook.

To avoid paying any more, I looked for flights that were well within the price we had already paid, leaving enough credit to pay the flight change fees. I found four to Lisbon but when I phoned Ryanair to make the changes, I was asked for another £470 payment.

At this point I decided I had had enough and refused. Had I gone ahead, it would have meant I would have paid £1,800 for four return flights to Lisbon – flights that I had just seen on the Ryanair website on sale at £800.

The company said rebooked flights are priced differently to new bookings. I cannot understand how this is legal – it certainly isn’t ethical. As a family we have collectively lost £2,500 to Ryanair, and only wanted £800 worth of flights, but the company wouldn’t do it. We feel very badly treated.
ST,
by email

I can well understand why you are so cross. Ryanair told me that as you booked the original flights before it introduced its “zero change fee” policy, a flight change fee and the difference in fare would apply – hence the extra charges. However, it should be said that only last week, the consumer body Which? reported that passengers who had tried to test out the airline’s zero change fee were still reporting being overcharged.

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As we found last year, Ryanair offers two-tier pricing – the online price for new customers, and the much higher price for those moving flights via its online portal. No explanation of this has been offered. The question as to whether it is legal remains unchallenged, as far as I know. It has certainly upset a great many passengers but, as we know, this is a company that appears to care less than others about such matters.

The simple answer is to always look at Ryanair flights as non-changeable, and accept that it will almost certainly be cheaper just to buy new ones if the worst happens. Meanwhile, if you still want to fly somewhere this summer, Ryanair has said that if you contact its customer services, “the change fee will be waived this time”.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions



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