/ 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’?

Comments
Guest
Astraea says:
5 April 2011

All compulsory charges are, in effect, part of the price. If they are separated from the price, customers are misled into thinking the price is lower than it really is. This is clearly dishonest.

There may be other charges which are not, strictly speaking, compulsory – eg when passengers are charged for checking in online, and charged differently for checking in at the airport. Here, while there may be a choice between level of charge, and between form of check-in, the lower of the two is effectively part of the price. This is more subtly dishonest, but no less dishonest.

Guest
arb says:
5 April 2011

We really need to ignore Ryanair so called marketing methods. I never look at the headline price any more – we all now know there will be other costs.

Yes, they should put it all in together – if it is compulsory then it is part of the price. If it is likely (e.g. check in fee) then it probably should be as well. But my point is why do we worry – I pick out my flights and see what the overall cost is, then go to the next page and see what the extras are. Then go to the other airlines and compare.

Guest
Mat says:
5 April 2011

Ryanair claimed that last year it paid out over 100 million Euros for compensation relating to EU261 costs, however the carrier had total passenger numbers of over 72 million. Considering that within that year it had several unusual carrier problems, such as the ash cloud and the bad weather that are unlikely to be repeated again within the same year, I make the total revenue from this new levy to be at least 144million Euros. Not factoring in further increased passenger numbers this year, and assuming that the airline has to (unlikely) pay out a similar 100million for compensation, I see that as a pretty good 40-50 million euro increase in revenue. Nice work eh?

Guest
Sophie Gilbert says:
6 April 2011

Agree with Astraea and arb. What I look at is the overall price (and paying a few quid more will make me avoid easyJet and Ryanair like the plague: I HATE not having a seat allocated at check in and the free for all when boarding!!!!!). What I want to avoid is to see a 50p flight advertised and then have to go through the rigmarole of pretending that I’m booking the b****y (my asterisks) thing or whatever to eventually see what the overall cost is going to be (more than 50p, that’s for pretty darn sure), and again to be able to compare! What I want to see from the outset is the cost of the flight, including whatever is not deemed optional by the airline, plus the cost of each optional extra, hold luggage, insurance, whatever, all at once, right away, after having pressed no more than one button.

Guest
Longshanks says:
6 April 2011

I hope like me, all prospective airline customers stop using Ryanair where practicable, in favour of airlines who are more upfront with their total charges and more customer focussed. Until its customers start voting with their feet, profit over customer satisfaction will in my view continue to drive Ryanair’s actions.

Guest

I’d love not to have to use Ryan Air. Unfortunately, I’m sometimes forced into it when they’re the only airline to fly from the UK to fly to some regional airports abroad. -They seem to have cornered the market in flying to the 2nd cities of a lot of countries. So there is no choice or competition to force them to stop their evil ways! Customers – or income-generating cattle as they see/treat us – just have to put up with them at the moment…

Guest
Steve in Essex says:
6 April 2011

Well I have used Ryanair 3 times and after each swore I would never do so again – never because of the prices though.

First time, soon after they started, I got caught on the distant airport con, which meant that for my trip to Hamburg, by the time I got there I might as well have flown BA or Lufthansa

Second time I used them because they were the only people offering flights to my destination at a civilised time – except for the fact that they were 3 hours late and lied about it at both ends, so the taxi driver picking us up was not a happy bunny and it showed in his driving.

Final time I used them as the only people flying to my destination, but they had now introduced their hard plastic seats with no pockets and the whole experience was so horrible, that now I will not even compare prices until I have booked through someone else.
Guess what, they usually cost nearly as much for a much worse service.

Guest
silverdrling says:
6 April 2011

fares up front please. what the the administration fee actually is (i just paid it..) doesn’t seem to be shown onsite until you have paid!

Administration Fee 12.00 GBP

if anyone take take the joy away from getting a ticket to go on holiday its ryanair …

Guest
Geoff says:
6 April 2011

Just noticed this on their webiste. It definitely takes the Mick – if my flight isnt disrupted will they give it back?

Guest
Michael says:
7 April 2011

Why is Ryanair always the only budget airline singled out for criticism? Is it stoked up by the media who seem to have a vendetta against the airline because of their dislike of Mr O’Leary? It seems to me that all budget airlines use a similar marketing format of low headline prices but only Ryanair get the stick. Most of the criticism I’ve read in the press seems to come from people who have a complaint pertaining to something that is covered in the Terms & Conditions notwithstanding that they have bought tickets having first had to tick the box for accepting the T&Cs. Surely there is nobody who still thinks that the headline price is the final cost of the flight.Ryanair is a very efficient, convenient & competitive airline operating a modern fleet. Millions upon millions of people fly with them, so they must be doing something right.I’ve flown with them six times now without reason to complain & I will be happy to use them in the future. Without the competion of budget airlines, the full service airlines would return to charging the exorbitant fares of the past & millions of ordinary people would be unable to afford to fly. So please refrain from beating up on budget airlines, accept them for what they are, read the T&Cs, buy your ticket & enjoy your flight. Long live the budget airlines, the majority of flyers would be worse off without them.

Guest

Thanks for your comments, Michael. From Which’s point of view, we certainly don’t have a vendetta against Ryanair. The fact is that it is (so far) the only airline to introduce this separate ‘compensation’ levy, so that’s why we’re writing about them now. In our recent campaign against card surcharges, we did draw attention to other airlines too!
It’s probably true that some people don’t read the terms and conditions when booking, but in any case, most other airlines do include compulsory charges in their headline price.
And it’s great that you’ve had no cause for complaint having travelled with Ryanair six times. But in our last Which? short-haul airline survey, Which? members rated the carrier a lowly 17th out of the 18 airlines listed, with a customer score of 43%, so there are obviously many people out there who haven’t had such a good experience.

Guest
David Lowe says:
20 April 2012

Sorry…. Did you say read the T & C’s…. that requires a lawyer and an extra 2 – hours of extra work to compare each carriers price …. you are really joking now.

Let’s have standardised T&C’s, just like many other common industries, governed by the Air Travel Assoc. and honest up-front quotations which include all the regular charges AND standardised baggage sizes and weight allowances.

On our 7 week trip around the world we had different standards with each separate airline company/leg of the journey: different baggage sizes; difference baggage allowances even though we requested 40kg allowance at the booking stage. In some cases the excess baggage charged was dearer than booking an extra seat on the plane (not allowed!)

Guest
Lisa says:
8 April 2011

But my insurance paid out on the volcanic ash issue not ryanair ??

Guest
Eddie Reynolds says:
8 April 2011

This is slightly off message, but a friend of mine plays Bagpipes and travels world wide with a friend who plays the Fiddle and they do shows all over, but they hit a problem recently with an ‘Irish’ airline.
At the check-in desk, the fiddle player was told that he could not take the fiddle and case on board as hand luggage. The fiddle player pointed out that he had never been prevented by any airline in the past, including this Irish airline, so what is the problem.
Wait for it! He was told that it is possible he may remove a fiddle string and garrotte the Pilot.
All I can say is that the airline he used is famous for cost cutting but is pilot garrotting a common problem.

Guest

Anyone who doesn’t know how Ryanair operates by now shouldn’t be booking their own tickets-they are almost certainly too stupid. We all know the wrinkles, and flying Ryanair is one step up from a cattle truck, but my wife and I have just returned from a week in Spain having paid £28 all in for two return flights. When BMIBaby, Easyjet, Lufthansa or anyone else can do that, I’m interested. So quit carping and learn the rules is my advice.

Guest
JoeB says:
13 April 2011

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.

Guest
GStar says:
13 May 2011

Actually it is possible: online check in £6 each way x 2 people = £24. Credit card/adminstration fee can be avoided if you use a Mastercard prepaid (VERY worth it – you save £6 per person each way! A number of retailers sell them, but I got mine for £10 from Phones4U, it pays off even after one return flight).
That leaves the flight to be £1 per person each way no tax. I have not seen these fares EVER so I don’t know how true it is but it is mathematically possible.

Guest
Marko says:
10 April 2011

This levy is in principle a fair way of dealing with the costs airlines incur if they cannot fly their passengers to their destinations on time. A ticket is an agreement and if airline cannot fulfil its part it should compensate those affected. In a way or another, these costs are collected from all passengers anyway.

However, it is essential to demand openness from Ryanair. The levy should match the actual costs, eg. on a yearly basis. It should not become yet another fee to scoop more cash from passengers.

The Ryanair levy puts the whining airlines nicely in perspective: the absolutely unbearable and unreasonable and whatever liabilities really cost merely a fraction of standard credit card fee!

Guest
Mel says:
10 April 2011

I have now lost count of the number of times that I have flown with Ryanair, it must be in three figures. I have had some fantastic deals, for instance, £12.00 return from Leeds to Dusseldorf inclusive of all taxes and check in fees. In this particular case what you initially saw was what you eventually got (except for the credit card fee), a total return fare of just £24.00. You can’t go from Leeds to London on the train for that price, and you are guaranteed a seat. However I think that a fully inclusive fare should be initially advertised instead of all the annoying and confusing add on’s Stop moaning because Ryanair is still the cheapest and most efficient airline in Europe.

Guest
geoff says:
10 April 2011

ryanair are load of gangsters in suits i dont use them and i wish people would stop usuing them.they are the most ignorant outfit i have have the misfortune to use they are **** more people should look else were

Guest
Michael says:
27 April 2011

I don’t think Mr O’Leary owns a suit. His usual attire seems to be denim jeans & an Ireland rugby shirt.

Guest
Fiona says:
12 April 2011

I’m not sure why people are demanding that Ryanair shouldn’t be used. Yes the endless pages you have to go through to find the actual price is annoying, but generally they are still the cheapest airline available. So if I have no problem using them, then I’m not sure why anyone else should have a problem with me using them. For people who luxury and good service are important then fly with one of the airlines that offer these services (and the price that goes with it), for people that are more concerned with price then let them fly with Ryanair, problem sorted.
As for the delay/cancel levy, yes that’s also annoying but I can see the point they’re trying to make, particularly in regard to strikes delaying aircraft.

Guest
majmudaky says:
13 April 2011

Nice to see another extra, being added in overal cost of the flight. Low cost airlines? Cheeky buggers. What makes me upset is the purpose of this payment. Especially after having unforgettable experience with this “regulations and law” following airlines. 16!!!! hours overnight delay because of the fault on the aircraft and they let their passengers sleep on the floor in airport hall without offering them any drink, food and god forbid the hotel. No airline representative, no phone calls answered (this includes the airport staff trying to contact them when calming down the upset passengers) – ripped off and forgotten, that’s how you feel (being their paying customer) when something goes wrong. They got into morning TV news, but that was probably it. Why? Because people are usually too busy or fed up making complaints leading nowhere…How long they can still call themselves “low cost” airlines? Enough…to my point : paying 2 quid extra without knowing what for won’t kill me, but paying these to cover passengers refund after what I experienced with them makes me sick and I’d rather put this money on charity.

Guest
denny says:
16 April 2011

I got my flights canceled at Christmas because of the snow and they only offered to replace the flight (two days after) or a refund. I didn’t matter that I had to take a connection flight after their, so i missed that as well. They didn’t pay for accommodation for the two days and they didn’t even pay the train fare to get to the other airport for the new flight. I don’t really know what they have spent this 100 million on.

Guest
Orny says:
16 April 2011

They put it as a separate charge so if your flight is cancelled/delayed and you want to claim back your government taxes, this new levy will not be refunded. Other airlines, not all, add this levy in to the total fee anyway. Ryanair are just doing their best to annoy people more by showing the levy as an extra cost. Not too disimilar to web check-in. Why the **** should I pay them for me doing the work? Tesco don’t charge me extra for using the self-service tills! As for those of you that choose to complain about the additional costs, that’s exactly what they are, additional. Some Ryanair have control on, some ethey don’t. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the ‘no taxes’ they don’t pay for. It’s swings and roundabout. They are convenient and can be very cheap, customer service will always be lousy/non-existent.
More importantly though is we don’t have to use Ryanair. There are many alternatives, though most would be less convenient and more costly. It’s your choice. I do not like Ryanair in particual but use them frequently!

Guest
Michael Eschweiler says:
17 April 2011

As in other parts of there booking system this ‘transparency’ opaques that Ryan Air (RA) is dishonest: RA charges automatically the fee but doesn’t pay automatically any funds for delayed or cancelled flights (which should be easy to realize…).
Michael

Guest

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?

https://conversation.which.co.uk/transport-travel/budget-airlines-surcharges-ryanair-jet2-easyjet-last-call/

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

1.
THEY SHOULD INSIST THAT ALL NON-OPTIONAL ELEMENTS OF THE COST FOR GOODS OR SERVICES BE INCLUDED IN THE MINIMUM PRICE. EG. VAT HAS TO BE INCLUDED AS
IT HAS TO BE PAID BY COSUMERS

2.
THERE SHOULD BE NO ADDITIONAL FEES FOR PAYMENT OR DELIVERY WHICH SHOULD ALWAYS BE SHOWN IN THE PRICE THEY ADVERTISE.

3.
COMPANIES THAT BREACH AND ARE REPORTED SHOULD BE FINED AND MADE TO REFUND FULL PLUS GIVE THE GOODS OR SERVICE.

Guest
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!!!

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

Guest
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??

Guest

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. 😉

Guest
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’.

DON’T PRESS THE BUY NOW BUTTON AND ***** ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS. MOANING GITS.

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.

Guest
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.

Guest
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.

Guest
Ted Inns says:
30 June 2012

Ryan Air should change its name to Dick Turpin Airlines

Guest
wlchubb says:
1 July 2012

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

Guest
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.

Guest

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. 🙂

Guest
wlchubb says:
30 June 2012

Wholeheartedly agree!

Guest
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.