Ryanair flight refund – how to get your money back on cancelled trips

A THIRD national lockdown in England has caused holiday chaos again for travellers who'd hoped to getaway for some winter sun.

The UK is currently under a travel ban, meaning you can't go on a staycation or travel abroad.

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Ryanair is yet to issue an update on what the restrictions mean for customers but it has so far not cancelled any upcoming flights.

Getting a refund for flights you can no longer go on depends on whether the company or yourself cancels the trip.

Here, we take you through your rights if you can no longer go on your Ryanair holiday.

My flight's been cancelled – can I get a refund?

If an airline has cancelled your flights then you are entitled to a full refund.

Before January 1 2021, customers could claim a refund under the European Union's Denied Boarding Regulation.

What are the new lockdown rules for travel?

From January 5 2021, only essential travel is allowed with Brits urged not to leave their house unless for reasons including food, medical care or work.

The government advice states: "You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home.

"In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

"UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

"Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday."

This covers flights booked with a European airline or ones that have departed from, or landed in, an airport in the EU.

Passengers travelling from the UK are still covered under the same consumer rights now that it has left the EU.

Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the rules over compensation stay the same, according to legal site Lexology.

"However in theory, airlines could lobby at a later date for a restriction on aspects of these rules, like the size of the compensation payouts," Martyn James, consumer expert at complaints site Resolver, told The Sun.

Currently, airlines still have seven days from when they cancelled your flight to refund the money.

In some cases, you're legally entitled to compensation if the flight has been cancelled fewer than 14 days before departure.

But because the coronavirus pandemic is considered to be an "extraordinary circumstance", airlines won't have to pay out more than the cost of your flight.

Why is Ryanair offering me a voucher?

Many airlines are offering customers credit notes or vouchers instead of a refund if it has had to cancel flights, which you can use to book a holiday at a later date.

Previously when Ryanair has been forced to cancel flights due to lockdown rules, passengers were offered vouchers equal to the cost of the grounded flights that is valid for 12 months.

They could then choose to use them to book new flights in the future or, if they're not used within 12 months, they will be automatically exchanged for a cash refund.

But the risk is that the credit notes are invalidated if the airline goes bust, leaving passengers out of pocket.

Travel: What are your rights to a refund?

MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled due to the pandemic.

Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.

You are entitled to a cash refund if they've cancelled your holiday but many have large delays or may offer vouchers instead.

If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.

Keep in mind the travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCDO advice changed, otherwise you won't be covered.

If you don't have travel insurance, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees. 

Some passengers are also in desperate need of the cash because the outbreak has had a damaging effect on their household finances.

You don't have to accept a credit note and can request a cash refund instead.

It's worth noting that accepting one could lead to passengers surrendering their rights to a cash refund.

More recently, Ryanair has been offering customers whose flights have been cancelled due to government restrictions the chance to change their holiday for free.

Alternatively, you can choose to get the cash back in full.

Ryanair came under fire this year for refusing to hand the money back until the coronavirus crisis is over.

Customers have begun seeing their money returned now after the competitions regulator stepped in following mass complaints and pressure from campaign groups.

Unfortunately, the airline doesn't have to payout if the flight is still able to go ahead.

Is there another way to get my money back?

If you've tried to get a refund from Ryanair but you've been refused, you may also be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

If you booked by debit card, you may be able to claim a refund via your bank using the Chargeback scheme.

Chargeback can be used to reclaim cash for goods and services you didn't receive.

Claims apply for purchases made by debit card, or by credit card for purchases under £100, and must be done within 120 days of the transaction.

To start a chargeback claim, you need to contact your card provider but as it isn’t written into law there is no guarantee you’ll get your money back.

If you have travel insurance, it may be worth speaking to your provider but they're less likely to refund you as it should be the airline's responsibility.

Check the terms and conditions of your policy to see what it says regarding cancellations.

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