Ryanair is the worst airline for giving refunds on cancelled flights - these are your legal rights

Are you still waiting on a refund? (Photo: Shutterstock)Are you still waiting on a refund? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Are you still waiting on a refund? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ryanair is the worst major airline in the UK for refunding British customers whose flights have been cancelled as a result of coronavirus, according to Which?

More than eight out of 10 customers (84 per cent) are still waiting to get their money back for cancellations.

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Is refusing a refund legal?

EU and UK airlines, such as Ryanair, are legally obligated to issue refunds within seven days of a cancellation.

While travel companies are entitled to offer alternatives to a refund, such as a credit note, in the event of cancelled bookings, it is a customer’s legal right to be given the option of a full cash refund.

However, only five per cent of Ryanair customers surveyed by Which? have reported receiving their money within this time frame.

Almost 85 per cent of Ryanair customers are still waiting to be refunded.

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This is in stark contrast to rival airline Jet2, with only 19 per cent of customers still awaiting a refund, and 23 per cent of customers at British Airways.

Refunds are also slowly being processed by easyJet, with 60 per cent of customers still waiting to receive their money back.

Do I have to accept a voucher?

Ryanair has come under fire for confusing customers with its numerous changes in approach to refunds and vouchers.

The airline initially told customers it was processing refunds at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, although many reported that the refund forms did not work.

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Ryanair then attempted to force vouchers on passengers who had specifically requested a refund, and suggested that customers may have to wait as long as 12 months before getting their money back, according to Which?.

In May, the Civil Aviation Authority warned airlines that the law was clear and customers must be granted a refund if they request it, rather than being offered a voucher or credit note.The CAA said: “Under the law, consumers are entitled to receive a refund for their cancelled flights.

“Despite the challenges the industry is currently facing [...] it is important that consumers are given a clear option to request a cash refund without unnecessary barriers.”

In a statement, Ryanair said that it would offer refunds, but customers may have to wait until the coronavirus crisis was over.

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The airline said: “The process time for cash refunds is taking longer due to the fact we are having to process 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and have fewer staff available due to social distancing measures.

“Customers who choose not to accept a free [booking] move or voucher will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over.”