Sheffield family told ‘wait until coronavirus has passed’ for refund from Ryanair – but they aren’t the only ones

A Sheffield family who were stranded in Spain after their Ryanair flight was cancelled have been told to ‘wait until the coronavirus has passed’ for a refund.

Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 6:32 pm
Brad Whiteley pictured with his (L-R) mother-in-law and wife on their Ryanair flight to Fuerteventura. Spain then went into lockdown and the family had their return flight cancelled.

Brad Whiteley, 32, from Aston, claims Ryanair originally agreed to refund over £500 for his family’s return flight from Futervaentura – and another £589 for a separate flight to Dublin later in the year which had also been cancelled – both of which he is legally entitled.

But, while waiting for the budget airline to issue a refund, he received an email from the budget airline giving him a voucher worth the same amount to use on a future flight.

The lawyer says he understands the plight of airlines during this unprecedented crisis but the manner of treatment is frustrating especially for those in dire need.

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The packed airport in Fuerteventura where Brad and his family were stranded after their return flight was cancelled and another, which they were moved to, was oversold

He said: “For some families, at this current time if they needed that £500 back they’ve only got a voucher for it despite requesting the refund.

“They’re saying they’ve given us all the options as part of the EU regulations yet we filled out the form for a cash refund which they’ve then ignored and just issued vouchers.

“They’ve got all these additional funds from people after overselling the flights, but for the people who have had their flights cancelled they won’t give their money back. It’s just frustrating because people really need the cash with furlough and things, yet Ryanair don’t seem answerable to anybody.”

The email, Brad says, contained a refund link but this brought up a message from Ryanair saying that refund requests would be placed in a queue until the Covid-19 emergency has passed.

He has tried to contact Ryanair several times to no avail and is not alone – numerous air passengers and holidaymakers are currently having extreme difficulty gaining refunds quickly, if at all.

Under EU law, travel companies must refund customers within 14 days if their package holiday is cancelled, while the EU's Denied Boarding Regulations state that air passengers are due a refund within seven days if a flight with an airline based in the UK or EU, or from an airport in the UK or EU, is cancelled.

A Ryainair spokesperson said: “For any cancelled flight, Ryanair is giving customers all of the options set out under EU regulations, including free moves and refunds in the form of cash or vouchers.

“The process time for cash refunds is taking longer due to the fact we are having to process 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and have fewer staff available due to social distancing measures.

“Ryanair is offering vouchers and free moves as these are automated and would give customers an alternative. Customers who choose a voucher but don't redeem it within 12 months may still apply for and obtain a refund after this 12 month period. This also includes partial redemption, as the portion of the unused voucher will be refunded.

“Customers who choose not to accept a free move or voucher will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank our customers for bearing with us”.