A travel expert is defending Ryanair’s policy by saying that other airlines might regret not following the fee-waiving policy that Ryanair is offering to its customers.
Due to the pandemic, millions of passengers are canceling their holiday plans and Rebooking flights. And the government is closing travel corridors to many destinations to fight the pandemic. To cope up with this crisis airlines are introducing policies. That will help them keep their finances balanced and offering flexible canceling and rebooking policies.
Ryanair is waiving off rebooking fees only on flights that the customers are booking for dates up to December 31, 2020. However, the airline changed the date to March 21, 2021. But still, the policy is not as generous as compared to other airlines policy.
Qatar Airways is offering customers who have booked tickets before December 31, 2020. They can change the travel date unlimited times without any fee and hold their ticket value for two years.
Whereas, EasyJet is allowing passengers to rebook flights for free until the end of September 2021. And they can do this without any additional cost.
Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic offers the customers that have booked the flights between March 1, 2020, and November 30, 2020. They can rebook the flight with the date-change fee waived up until September 20, 2022.
However, Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website Head for Points, said that he could understand Ryanair’s terms and conditions.
He says, ‘I have some sympathy for Ryanair, to be honest. Many airlines have let passengers move flights without penalty when their flight is still departing. By doing this, they leave themselves with fewer seats to sell next year, which means they will struggle to generate cash in 2021.”
“More redundancies will automatically follow. In the long run, other airlines may regret not taking a stronger line, saying ‘which bit of non-refundable don’t you understand?’ and telling passengers to claim refunds from their travel insurance when their flight is still operating.”
His remarks may anger some who feel they’re now out of pocket for having to rearrange a flight. But as he says travel insurance may be an option.
Travel Expert’s Opinion
Travel expert and frequent flier Gilbert Ott, meanwhile, who runs the flight tips site God Save The Points, is also keen for airlines to simplify the process.
He said, “Consumers should be presented with things they can understand and easily digest to make informed decisions.”
He added, “With consumer confidence at an all-time low, can airlines really afford to continue sticking it to customers with policies which sound friendly. But overlook huge fees, like fare difference, which still will be charged? Anyone holding a ticket should be allowed an even swap for travel into 2021. All customers are good customers at this point.”
Mike Kane, Shadow Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security, also called for more clarity.
He said, “The Government and Civil Aviation Authority must clarify guidance to airlines on issuing refunds and fees for changing flights affected by changing quarantine rules.”
“Airlines are facing huge volumes of inquiries and are working hard in unprecedented circumstances. But for thousands of customers, many who have seen their own incomes hit during the pandemic, it’s vital that fair refunds are issued and that passengers don’t lose out.”
“Labour has consistently called for a sectoral deal that supports the whole aviation industry and ensures passengers get fair refunds. Tory ministers have failed to act and ordinary people are paying the price.”