Would Ryanair Ever Refund a Flight?

Despite the distinct lack of legroom, despite the fact that drinks cost at least €5, despite the fact that you have to scroll down to ‘don’t insure me’ (which is located below Denmark) when confirming flights to avoid accidentally booking travel insurance or any other extras, I very much like Ryanair. Why? Because their flights are so cheap that they allow me to afford them. Because they are so cheap, I accept that they try every sneaky way they can to squeeze more money out of you and that flights are nonrefundable – and I am still grateful.

Due to an unfortunate ankle break, I had to make amendments (cancellations) to my intended trip through Spain and Portugal. That was when I stumbled upon this little piece of information on the Ryanair site:

In the event of the serious illness of a passenger making it impossible to travel (or death), the reservations of the affected passenger and of persons travelling on the same booking reference may, at our discretion, be refunded or, as appropriate, modified by our waiving any restriction or fee on changing flights upon suitable documentary evidence produced to us in advance of the date of travel.

Duly, for the two flights I wanted to cancel, I applied with the hospital documentation that proved the broken leg and duly, Ryanair responded in the following way to both flights that I wished to cancel:

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.06.08

Thus they said no and indicated that I should contact my travel insurance instead. This is quite an acceptable response, after all, it isn’t Ryanair’s fault that we broke a leg (an ankle) somewhere along the way. Plus, they are a business making profit and clearly state that flights are nonrefundable. Except in the case of injury or death making it impossible to travel. It was not impossible for us to travel, but it was incredibly difficult for us to do our original plan of walking outside and exploring, thus we cancelled.

So out of interest, has anyone ever received a refund from Ryanair? I would be (pleasantly) surprised if anyone has.

By | 2016-02-13T23:55:51+00:00 December 4th, 2014|Thoughts and Inspiration|22 Comments


  1. s.platt 30/08/2017 at 21:37 - Reply

    my wife passed away 9th aug 2017 ,aand our flight to Spain were booked for 20th Aug,sent copy of death certificate PDF,CAN I GET A REBATE, told 10working days,still waiting for this to arrive,do i live in hope,i am 81yrs old,do i believe in miracles,maybe leprichauns,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Jamie 20/10/2017 at 08:04 - Reply

      I am ever so sorry to hear of your loss.

  2. mc 08/08/2016 at 09:53 - Reply

    I am currently trying to get a refund because of a flight delay and have already sent several, emails, phone calls, chats, etc since 26/07/2016.

    The claim register alone was like going trough a maze.

    I don’t think the customer service is untrained. I am quite sure they are trying to make me quite.

    It’s really frustrating and anoying.

    They may be cheap and I believe they are safe, but they sure aren’t friendly.


    • Jamie 26/08/2016 at 01:31 - Reply

      Sorry to hear that – trying to get any sort of refund really is a never-ending battle.

  3. Mark 17/07/2016 at 21:28 - Reply

    I’ve had to cancel my flight Ryanair promised on the phone the confirmation email would be sent so I could claim insurance co
    They never sent me confirmation and I’ve called them again the guy on the phone then said you cannot cancel Ryanair flight you just don’t turn up fuck Ryanair they must be obliged by law to send proof I cancelled but they just don’t respond

    • Jamie 31/07/2016 at 14:49 - Reply

      They are a real pain at times. I flew with JetStar last year and they cancelled my flight (due to a volcanic eruption) and refused to give a refund, so I think they are even worse!

  4. Durge 09/07/2016 at 09:06 - Reply

    Wanted to know if Ryan Air refunded for flights they cancelled??

  5. Tara Lou 13/02/2016 at 19:45 - Reply

    Last week I was due to travel to Morocco with my boyfriend and 4 year old daughter, we live in Ireland so we had to travel to London over night to be able to fly to marrakesh early Tuesday 9/02/2015.

    Prior to my parents booking the holiday (for my 30th birthday) I checked visa and passport requirements because I have never been before all seemed fine my daughters passport was due to expire on the 6th of April however both by the gov and Moroccan embassy website they all stated the same thing ” your passport must be valid for the duration of your trip no additional validity is required beyond this ”

    Great I thought I don’t need to renew my daughters passport until we come back, oh and how I was so very wrong!

    Arriving at the check in desk at 4am Tuesday morning I was going through the standard check in bags labelled ready to be checked in and to my horror the lady said you will need to wait a moment I need to check our procedure on passport validity to enter Morocco and off she went, she came back 10 or so minutes later and whipped the label off my bag that was being checked in and told me I was unable to travel due to morroccos strict immigration rules on passport validity she told me they would send me back and ryanair would be liable for a hefty fine, I corrected her and told her I had checked with immigration and this was not the case I also advised I checked ryanaire website and no such information about this was noted on the website for passengers she apologised ( insincerely) and said there’s nothing I could do, I pleaded with the customer service desk but was told there was nothing they could do, I had no choice but get a flight home from London to Ireland.

    I gathers plenty evidence once I came home to support my case I should have been allowed to travel and raised a formal complaint to Ryanair the very same day I was contacted and apologised to I was told I was completely right there is no additional requirement of having 3-6 months valid passports to enter morrocco I was then offered free flights when ever suited me and compensated for all my loss.

    To be honest it was a horrible experience especially as it was a holiday to celebrate my 30th but the way in which my complaint and claim was handled was excellent, it was prompt professional and extremely fast (wouldn’t have been a smooth claiming through travel insurance)
    I also recieved an email to advise me that Ryanair are changing there terms to include 3 months beyond your intended trip is a requirement to travel to morrocco and this is now included in thee T&C and that because of this renew my daughter passport ASAP, I honesty can say im impressed with how they dealt with my particular complaint and they defiantly restored my faith in the company

    • Jamie 13/02/2016 at 23:43 - Reply

      I’m sorry that your trip was ruined, but happy that you got the refund (and surprised). I hate how ignorant individuals with terrible customer service can ruin special events. Your story sounds similar to one I have. Many years ago I was dating a Russian / Italian girl and we went away for a trip to Spain. I flew out a couple of hours before her and checked into a nice room to await her arrival, but she never arrived because the individual at the gate didn’t understand her Italian citizen documents and said she couldn’t travel on a Russian passport. The result? She immediately bought a new flight at great expense for the very next day and was allowed to board as her documents were in order. When we contacted Ryanair about this (on multiple occasions), they simply chose not to respond.

      Recently I have been unfortunate enough to come into contact with Jetstar – they offer, without doubt, the worst customer service of any airline I have ever flown with.

  6. Friederike Ernst 03/10/2015 at 18:49 - Reply

    When I booked my single flight to Thessaloniki from Milano Bergamo, I accidently didnt notice that Ryan air’s booking page automatically defaulted to return flight. My single flight only cost €35 but the return flight (automatically put in for the next day) was €250. I didnt notice this when it came time to pay since there were so many pages in between my selection and the payment screen, and I just clicked PAY NOW. Immediatelly the confirmation came showing that my single flight cost nearly €300 I realied my error.

    It took me quite a while to find out how to get in contact with Ryan air to tell them about my mistake. I read on the website that they give a 24 hr time span to correct “minor errors”. I was hoping that not having read the default “return” would be a “minor error”. Firstly I found their chat line was closed for the night. From the Ryan air website I found a couple of toll free numbers, neither of which worked. I phoned Bergamo airport and got another number but that also didnt work so I gave up for the night.

    I got up at 6 am (when they say they start work) and tried to contact the chat room. Well, it wasnt operation. Eventually a couple of hours later it was so I got to ask about a refund. They told me “No, we dont give any refund on booked flights. Fill out an application if you wish to pursue it further”. (I did this and got a negative answer a couple of hours later.)

    Finally I phoned Ryan air headquarters in Dublin and reached an operator who told me the same thing: “I’m sorry, we can’t do anything in this case, we don’t give refunds for booked flights.” I tried to say that I didnt want to book this flight. Didn’t help.

    Having given up hope, I went to have a cappuchino and a cigarette (breaking a vow to stop smoking), as I relaxed a bit, a billiant idea came into my mind: “I will sell my flight!” So I phoned Ryan air back, got another operator, explained briefly the problem, told her that I found their attitude very unfair, but I asked them if I could sell the flight if I could find somebody who needs that return flight. She told me to hold on the line for a minute and went to talk with her supervisor.

    Then she came back and said “We will give you a refund.” I was so incredulous that I asked her three times to repeat what she said. A couple of hours later they actually did issue the refund to my card.

    This long saga changed my whole attitude to Ryan air. Just shows you that some parts of Ryan air are still human, and I really feel appreciation. I’m even willing to fly Ryan air again.

    • Jamie 08/10/2015 at 16:10 - Reply

      Wow! They did well to hide the decent people so well within the company. Glad to hear you got the refund – if only they were always this accommodating.

  7. Bob Hope 02/06/2015 at 22:08 - Reply

    I’ve just put a claim in with Ryanair for cancelling a flight due to serious injury. I was due to fly out on Thursday the 28/05/2015 but the day before I cut my tendons in my right hand with a knife by accident (I was running around getting things ready for our holiday when it happened and lucky not to cut through my wrist) The doctors told me not to fly as they needed to operate on my hand 2 days later 29/06/2015. I was due to fly back on the 04/06/2015 but I need physio on the hand on 03/06/2015 otherwise I will never move my fingers again. So in my case I could fly if I wanted to never move my hand again. I am waiting for their response but I’m not holding my breath. Watch this space!!!

    • Jamie 04/06/2015 at 07:42 - Reply

      Sorry to hear about that Bob, it sounds very painful. Best of luck getting your flights refunded and getting your hand fixed up – with my past experience of Ryanair, your hand will be fixed long before they ever get around to giving refunds!

    • Jake Brennan 12/09/2015 at 14:11 - Reply

      Just wondering how your refund (or not) went, we made a mistake booking with Ryanair in the first place and then I cut my shin open which would have needed stitches, but the doctor said it would be better for it to heal by its self for some reason so it will take about 2 months to properly heal. Weather that means I wont be able to fly I will have to check but it might help if I know what you did with them.


      • Jamie 13/09/2015 at 14:59 - Reply

        They rejected the refund request – I suppose a broken ankle wasn’t a serious enough injury to warrant a refund. On another occasion, I was travelling with a Russian girl, my partner at the time, to Spain, where she lived. Because she was Russian, they refused to let her board the plane because they misunderstood her documents. She bought a new flight a few hours later at great expense and when asking for a refund, Ryanair didn’t bother to respond. Customer service and comfort with Ryanair are severely lacking, but they do offer very cheap flights.

        • Jake Brennan 14/09/2015 at 09:55 - Reply

          The flights aren’t that cheap, I payed over £250 one way for four of us, that’s about the same that BA were offering if I bothered to do any research beyond google….

          • Jamie 14/09/2015 at 11:50

            I would trust BA to be far more responsive although I did recently read some horror stories suffered by BA customers. Try using Skyscanner and Skiplagged when looking for cheap flights, both flights are brilliant.

        • Jake Brennan 14/09/2015 at 11:55 - Reply

          That’s the thing, I used skyscanner and google but nothing about BA came up, very odd. Anyway, its done now, we are using BA coming back, so hopefully RyanAir wont be too bad (famous last words…). At least we have front row seats so we have a bit of leg room 🙂

  8. Russell Bowlby 01/01/2015 at 21:17 - Reply

    I think the airlines treat their customers with contempt; when I lost over £1,000.00 with net flights due to their mis advice on cancellation terms, despite a court judgement the bailiffs could not collect due to some technical company reg./asset ownership detail;couple this with the practice of taking payment up front, deliberately overbooking and then bumping selected passengers onto later flights to their consternation and that of their families who have come to say goodbye, I have no respect for their method of doing business and only travel by air when there is really no practical alternative

  9. The Guy 05/12/2014 at 13:33 - Reply

    As you say RyanAir are often very cheap (if you get tickets at the right time and forget all the hidden extras) so I think your point is fair. Not knowing how much you paid for the flight I guess the amount of money lost is not too extensive. Nonetheless it is still YOUR money that is lost.

    Sorry to hear about your ankle. I guess this is something which happened outside the control of RyanAir and hence they place little responsibility upon it.

    You say that you love Ryan Air and I hear that they’ve improved a lot in recent years? I only ever flew with them once and vowed never again. Their business model just doesn’t compliment what I look for in an airline experience.

    I like the idea of one, transparent, all inclusive price. I know other people like to pick and choose hence Ryan Air works well for them.

    In response to your question, no I’ve never had a refund from RyanAir. Mind you having said that I’ve struggled to get any reasonable offer of compensation when the mainstream carriers have screwed up as well.

    • Jamie 07/12/2014 at 11:20 - Reply

      In terms of comfort and ease of booking (not trying to sell you extras), Ryanair score poorly. It is solely the cheap prices that get me on their planes as most often on land, I hitchhike which is free and I am yet to hitchhike a plane. I do understand their point in referring us to travel insurance – but I do wonder, what would it take for a refund?!

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