Four out of five Ryanair customers requesting reimbursement for flights canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic have not yet been compensated by the low cost Irish airline, despite the fact that European legislation sets a period of seven days. This is reflected today in a survey carried out by the British consumer association Which ?, which also exposes passenger complaints about their difficulties in requesting the full return of the canceled flight, since they maintain that companies prefer to issue vouchers valid for twelve months or changes in travel.
Which? He surveyed 1,632 people in the UK who had “accepted or applied for” a refund between mid-March and early May after Ryanair canceled their flight as a result of this health crisis.
84% of that total indicated that they have not yet received the money, compared to 5% that has been compensated within the seven days set by the European Union (EU). In a statement sent to Which ?, a Ryanair spokesperson stressed that her customers “will be reimbursed in due course when this unprecedented crisis is over”. “The time to process money refunds,” he explained, “is longer because we have to process 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and because we have fewer workers available due to social distancing measures.”
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary has previously warned that it will take “several months” for the company to “eliminate the huge delay” that has caused the cancellation of thousands of flights.
Differences between airlines
Regarding other European airlines, the study noted that 63% of British easyJet customers, Ryanair’s main rival in the economic flights sector, have not received a refund in the same period, compared to 23% of British Airways and 19% of Jet2.com.
“We have heard thousands of frustrated passengers tell us that it is almost impossible for them to obtain the reimbursements they are legally entitled to, which some have been waiting for months without having seen even a penny,” denounced the editor of the magazine “Which ? Travel “, Rory Boland.
He stated that “some airlines” are “acting better than others” in compensating their passengers, suggesting that although “the industry is going through difficult times”, the “retention” of their money is “simply unacceptable” .
Boland called on the British government and UK regulatory bodies, such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to take action on the matter. “The CAA must urgently hold airlines who blatantly break the law to account and the government must detail how it will help the sector if airlines cannot reimburse their customers without fear of sinking,” says Boland.
Earlier this month, the CAA already launched an investigation into how airlines are handling the issue of refunds in the UK. CAA Executive Director Richard Moriarty then asked the Commons Transportation Committee for more powers to carry out this task.