/ Travel & Leisure

Does Ryanair’s ‘compensation levy’ take the mick?

Ryanair plane

Book a flight with Ryanair today and you’ll see a new compulsory charge. The no-frills airline now wants you to pay an extra £2 each way to cover the cost of cancellations and delays that are ‘outside of its control’.

Under EU regulations, if flights are cancelled or severely delayed, airlines must pay out for everything from refunds to passengers’ accommodation. They even have to do this when flights are grounded due to events like last year’s ash cloud crisis and snow.

Ryanair’s fed up with forking out for things that aren’t its fault, which has led to this travel industry pioneer being the first to introduce a specific levy to recoup these costs.

Is EU legislation hard on airlines?

I can see why airlines might say that the EU legislation is unfair on them. Perhaps it should be insurers who cover passengers’ extra costs?

Nevertheless, airlines know that these kinds of events can happen and so they should prepare for it. They may not like it, but this is the law, and they can no doubt insure themselves for events out of their control.

As far as Ryanair goes, you’ll now find a £2 surcharge on its booking page, described as a ‘Delay/Cancel levy’ rather than included in its ‘taxes and fees’ section.

But surely this levy should be factored into this no-frills carrier’s overall fare? Otherwise, where do you stop? You may as well add a separate fee for ‘staff wages’. Why not just add it to your headline price Ryanair?

Ryanair makes a point of saying that, unlike many of its rivals, it doesn’t levy a fuel surcharge on passengers. But isn’t this new levy just an alternative way of raising fares while blaming someone else?

It’ll be interesting to see if any other carriers follow suit – I doubt it. Easyjet’s already come out to say it won’t be imposing such a levy and Flybe has accused Ryanair of using the charge as a “thinly disguised fuel levy”.

Good news for stranded passengers?

Last year, Ryanair dragged its heels over paying passengers who had been stuck during the ash cloud crisis what they were due. So if travellers are now shelling out for this upfront, there should be no squabbling or delaying of payment next time another crisis grounds flights. I’d expect a proper refund service from the company now.

Are you annoyed by the ever-growing list of compulsory airline fees separated from the initial fare, or do you find it useful knowing how much all these separate charges cost? And do you think Ryanair can justify a so-called ‘compensation levy’?


In a new Conversation, Olly Smith asks: “Is this the last call for budget airlines?” Will they be put to bed by having to display most surcharges upfront?


Dave says:
22 April 2011

I don’t understand why people are so emotionally against Ryan Air. Flying to destinations is a) not a right and b) not the only method of travel available so if you don’t like it, don’t go. The birth of budget airlines such as RyanAir has meant I have been able to see much more of the world than I would have otherwise, often getting four or five European flights a year for the price of one with BA/Lufthansa etc. You get what you pay for, if you don’t enjoy using the service RyanAir provides, don’t use it.

nig says:
27 April 2011

thats not the point. the point is ryanair are passing on a charge to their passengers that in my view is completely their own responsibility. its a risk of the business that airplanes cant fly, it should be wholey subsumed as a loss of a company that provides the service. if a taxidriver has a puncture, he doesnt pass on that charge to replace his tyre to his next fair .. it is a cost in his business that he plans for. Big business is always far too willing to pass on charges that they incur as part of their daily existance to their loyal customers whilst continuing to rake in the money, and we let them do it because we are too lazy to think of something else. If ryanair want to charge this abomination of a charge, let them provide proof that they paid this 100 million. could it possibly be just another way for them to raid your walelts, gosh i wonder …… Ive flown maybe 5 times with them and every single time i have come off the flight in an utter rage, whether it being a snobby rude stewardess, the most uncomfortable seats ive ever sat in, being deafened by that **** tantantaraaa or having to wait 9 hours in dublin airport whilst their customer services constantly whispered in my ear that it would only be another 20 minutes. i will never fly ryanair again and would warmly welcome anyone else to never fly with them either. Punish their transgressions by not giving them any more of your money.

Bill Chubb says:
29 April 2011

The authors of some of the above comments must live in cloud-cuckoo land!
Were it not for Ryanair half of you would not be flying anywhere. I agree it would be better if Ryanair quoted an all-inclusive fare but, frankly, their prices still represent phenomenal value for money.
Those of you who state you will fly with some other carrier who quotes a more easily understood pricing structure, good luck to you. It’ll cost you a great deal more than flying Ryanair.

Tony says:
30 April 2011

Ryanair is always complaining that airports, governments and any laws they must comply with are unfair. Yet, they do not see that they are being UNFAIR and misleading when they show a flight for low fare which you could not get.

Until such time that the UK Government, OFT, Trading Standards and the EU put an end to these misleading prices, we will always have companies like Ryanair and now many others adding charges for things like paying by credit/debit cards.

Mr. Cameron says that Judges should not be making decisions and Parliament should pass legislation etc. Well so far Parliament and the OFT/Trading Standards do not appear to be doing
enough to stop us being mislead and ripped off.




Ed Wilcox says:
30 April 2011

I live in Málaga and have been investigating going to Brussels and Santiago de Compostela (2 separate journeys). It’s very difficult to avoid Ryanair. The more I look at it the more I think I’d rather go somewhere else than book with Ryanair. The airline currently has a major publicity campaign on the go in Spain, flights at 8€. Brussels will cost me over 500€ (2 passengers) and Santigago over 300€ (also 2 passengers). I came to this page as a result of googling for “delay / cancel levy”, it’s not on the consolidated fee page because it’s not a fee, it’s a levy!! The consolidated fee page is a mess, the kindest that can be said about it is that it’s ambiguous. Some of the charges on there have been declared unlawful by the courts in Spain some time ago, as have their demands for ID documents for Spanish children on domestic flights, but they haven’t updated their web pages. I’m still not sure what the baggage check-in fees are on a Spanish domestic flight.
My opinion is that the base price in their advertisements should be the cost of the flight when booked by telephone with one suitcase (up to EU standrad size), and paid for with Visa/Mastercard credit/debit cards. I say booking made by telephone because I’m fed up with being asked to make bookings on the internet and finishing up in an argument because the final price tag is much higher than expected. In the same way that the EU have dealt with Microsoft and Intel they should deal with Ryanair. A fine of 500 million Euros couldn’t fail to knock the plastic smile off O’Leary’s face.
I accept that most of what I’ve said has already been said, but I feel better for having said it!!!

Ed Wilcox says:
11 April 2012

I’m replying to myself because of recent events. In the courts of Córdoba (Spain) Ryanair have just been fined 3200€ for illegally demanding ID documents with a photo for 2 children aged 3 years and 6 months on a domestic flight within Spain. They flew the family from Madrid to Lanzarote with no problem, when they tried to return to Madrid they refused to carry the children. Personally I feel that the fine should have been at least ten times higher. In court they said that the parents didn’t travel back to Madrid because they didn’t want to. You couldn’t make it up!
Ryanair are having legal problems all over Europe mainly relating to corruption over the deals they’ve made to use airports that are not near any urban centre. Personally I don’t anticipate ever flying with Ryanair. Someone asked why are people so emotionally against Ryanair, to me that’s a big like asking why don’t people like cockroaches.

baltic bill says:
2 May 2011

Ryanair are just the most expensive cattle trucks there are, talk about pigs might fly!! With ryanair that’s exactly what you do. Cattle are treated better than ryanair passengers and after 2 weeks away with 1okgs you return smelling like one too!!

They can ground the lot for me, i never have used them for 5 years and saved money, time, stress and feel much better for it.

Jaz92 says:
3 May 2011

This is obviously bad PR for RyanAir. They don’t want to be seen as a cheap airline where you get what you pay for. However, when there is an increase in a price, I think you will all agree, you expect to see an increase in the service and product you are paying for and if the extra charge is really what is states its for then we are not going to see any change for our money. RyanAir needs to think about what message it is giving to its customers and how they are damaging their relationship and reputation with them by charging loyal customers extra when there is really no need. Is there??

In answer to JoeB-” Well thats a lie because their admin fee is £12, online checkin is £6 each, each way, so the costs BEFORE buying a ticket is at least £36. ”

Strong words there mate, What reason do I have to lie? As has been pointed out:
1.Use prepaid Mastercard, charged 2.9% of transaction value, as opposed to £6 per flight segment.
2. Only book “special offer ” flights which can be found without check in charges etc. The price you see actually IS the price you pay (other than comment no 1)

And just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, I’m going again in a few days time. for £36 + 2.9% for two of us. So that’s two flights & change from £40 then. Cheapest I ever did was 2p in total, return. I didn’t use it, just had to see if it was for real. It was, and that’s the truth.
So continue to beef about things you evidently have insufficient knowledge of, I’m off for a break, might have a couple of nights in Zaragoza-I’ve found a cracking deal on a hotel. But that’s a whole other thing. 😉

Stelios says:
21 May 2011

What a bunch whingers. Don’t like Ryanair? Use another carrier. Why should anyone in business have to refund more than the cost of the original purchase, or pay for hotels exceeding the cost of the ticket, when these delays may be the fault of airports, slovenly ground staff etc. Even more so when these rules are not applied to ferries and the like. You people need to educate yourselves. If it wasn’t for the Ryanair model you wouldn’t have cheap flights, certainly not from ‘flag carriers’.


No I don’t work for Ryanair. They’ve upheld their part of the bargain with me. A to B and back to A…exactly what I paid for.

Roy says:
27 May 2011

It seems that UK passengers incur a £2 levy while passengers from all other locations incur a €2 levy.

If it’s a levy then it should be consistently applied and not arbitrarily converted at a 1:1 EUR:GBP exhcnage rate.

Ed Wilcox says:
29 May 2011

It’s because Mick doesn’t like Brits. Because so many of them want to fly Ryanair he has to buy loads of fuel. If they boycotted Ryanair he could buy less and he’d like that.
Only joking. The real reason is because it creates less admin work for him and that saves him money. I wish someone would sue him.

Ted Inns says:
30 June 2012

Ryan Air should change its name to Dick Turpin Airlines

wlchubb says:
1 July 2012

Dick Turpin robbed the rich to give to the poor. Exactly what Ryanair does.

Steve in Essex says:
1 July 2012

Dick Turpin robbed the rich to give to the poor. Exactly what Ryanair does.

You’re thinking of Robin Hood, a mostly mythical character..

Turpin just robbed, often by torture. http://www.stand-and-deliver.org.uk/highwaymen/dick_turpin.htm

Perhaps there is a similarity between the 2 of them, after all.

I posted a couple of comments last year on this thread, and it continues to rumble on!! All I can say is, I needed to get back from Spain one way this summer, and I’ve got two tickets from Barcelona for the princely sum of £51. In mid July I’d say that’s not too bad. I just don’t get why people keep harping on-learn the rules and make it work for you. 🙂

wlchubb says:
30 June 2012

Wholeheartedly agree!

Steve in Essex says:
30 June 2012

Alfonso, I would remind you that this thread is about Ryanair knowing the rules, to compensate passengers for their failure to fly them somewhere, on time, and deliberately trying to flout them, or to make the passengers pay for them.

And as for a name change, I don’t think SABENA is in use any more.