Has your Ryanair refund been issued as a voucher through Ryanair Wallet? Here’s why we’ve asked the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate.
When booking a flight, I find my mind is often full of excitement and anticipation. As the purchase is complete and my screen refreshes to show a booking confirmation my mind tends to drift and I picture where I am going and the fun I will be having when I get there. At no point do I tend to think or imagine how I will be refunded or compensated should my flight be delayed or cancelled.
However, with so much refund malpractice by airlines before and during the pandemic, Ryanair potentially bending the rules again in its practices of paying refunds and the government proposing to make changes to domestic flight compensation – I will be thinking deeply next time I book.
What is Ryanair Wallet?
Our investigation has found that Ryanair is paying refunds via its own online account system, the Ryanair Wallet. Accessed through its website, it is essentially an online voucher system where refunds are kept that can exclusively be spent on Ryanair flights.
Ryanair has been using the system to refund customers who have faced disruption since November 2021, depositing the money into the online wallet facility which is attached to customers’ Ryanair accounts.
From there, if you want to have the money refunded to the original form of payment, you will have to log into your “Ryanair Wallet” account to withdraw the funds
Potentially a breach of the law?
We feel that all this is adding additional headaches and confusion to a system that should be as simple as possible for anyone seeking to receive their money back. Flight delays and cancellations can cause panic and rushes to re-book – we don’t think adding further hurdles to jump through to receive your money back is fair.
In addition to that, Ryanair may be in breach of the law on airline refunds: Denied Boarding Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC). If customers choose to be reimbursed (rather than re-routed), airlines are legally bound to directly refund customers for cancelled flights within seven days, and are required to ask and gain customers’ signed agreement if they are offering a voucher (or ‘other services’) as an alternative.
We’ve asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to investigate and asked them to inform passengers of their rights. We are very pleased to see the government is finally looking at giving them stronger powers which would allow them to police airlines effectively through its aviation consumer policy reform consultation, however within these proposals are some concerning changes to compensation.
Drastic changes to compensation
The government is looking at changing the law that Ryanair may be in breach of in order to create a whole new system for delay compensation to domestic flights. These plans would reduce the financial penalty paid by airlines to their customers when they are delayed by three hours or more and we would argue this will reduce the level to which airlines are deterred from delaying, cancelling or overbooking flights.
We think the government and the CAA should work together to enforce the current laws before they consider changes, making sure that refunds and compensation are paid out with little or no extra headache to us when we are affected by disruption.
In order to make this case, we want to hear from you: Have you been refunded via the “Ryanair Wallet”? If so, what was your experience of it?
Have you ever struggled to receive refunds or compensation owed to you by the airlines? Let us know in the comments.