Coronavirus: Rebooking Ryanair flights is more expensive than buying a new ticket, claims Which?

Helen Coffey

As the coronavirus pandemic puts country after country on lock-down, travellers around the world are being forced to cancel their flights.

Many airlines, including Ryanair, announced they would waive the normal rebooking fee for passengers looking to change their flight dates following the UK government’s advice to avoid all non-essential travel.

Instead, passengers are simply required to pay any difference in fare from their original ticket.

However, some Ryanair customers have found the rebooking fare on their new chosen dates is up to £80 more expensive than if they were buying a new ticket, claims Which?

The consumer champion said it had received multiple reports from travellers who had found the same flight was priced at a lower rate for those buying tickets afresh than for those rebooking.

One passenger who was rebooking a Dublin-Malaga flight for 7.50pm on 3 August allegedly discovered that the price of a new ticket was €48.99 on the Ryanair website, €88 cheaper than the rebooking fare of €136.99 he was quoted.

Another customer was given a rebooking fare of £98.99 for their Alicante-Manchester trip, while a new ticket for the same flight allegedly cost just £51.99. They supplied Which with screenshots to show the price difference.

The Independent has contacted Ryanair for comment.

It comes after the airline announced that it would be unlikely to operate any more commercial flights until June.

Europe’s biggest budget airline said its fleet is likely to be grounded for the entirety of April and May following the “unprecedented restrictions” placed on travel amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Flight bans across Europe have now closed the continent’s skies to all but a handful of rescue flights, and Ryanair has stated that, based on the length of China’s lockdown, most travel is likely to be suspended for three months.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions,” said the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, in a statement.

However, the low-cost carrier said it would be offering its aircraft for repatriation flights and to move emergency food supplies, vital medicine and personal protective equipment around Europe where needed.

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