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Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has slammed the Government for their decision to reimpose a national lockdown, claiming if they want to “provide refunds to passengers themselves then they can feel free to do so.” As of Thursday, Boris Johnson has banned non-essential travel in the UK, along with international travel.
The move is a blow to the already suffering travel industry.
Now, Ryanair has said that if flights continue to go ahead, passengers will not be able to get their money back.
They will, however, be allowed to change their dates of travel.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr O’Leary said: “If the flights are operating there won’t be any refunds, although they will be able to avail of our change policy. We allow people to change their flight timings to flights on later dates if necessary. But if the flight is operating there won’t be any refunds.”
When asked if this was fair to passengers, Mr O’Leary blamed the Government for the decision.
He also pointed out that some people still need to travel and are able to do so under current guidelines.
“It’s only government advice,” he said.
“You know, if the government wants to change that advice and the government wants to provide refunds to passengers themselves ten they can feel free to do so, but at the moment we have people who are still travelling on those flights, who are travelling for essential and business reasons, and if the flight is operating then there aren’t any refunds.”
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However, if flights are cancelled, then passengers will be entitled to a full refund.
“If the flight is cancelled under government direction then there will be a refund,” he confirmed.
According to Ryanair’s website: “If your flight has been cancelled you have been notified by email and SMS and given the option of a travel voucher valid for 12 months, or refund, or rebook your journey.”
Following the latest lockdown announcement, Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor said the Government needs to do more to help travel companies provide refunds to their customers.
“Millions of people were left struggling to get refunds for cancelled flights and holidays when the government banned international travel back in March,” he said.
“Many still haven’t been refunded. As travel restrictions are re-introduced in England, the government and regulator must do a better job of ensuring customers aren’t again left to bail out companies through refunds being unlawfully withheld.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the travel industry, and urgent support is needed if it is to survive the winter.
“We are urging the government to introduce a travel guarantee fund to ensure travel companies who are ordinarily in good financial health can meet their obligations to customers.”
Though travel corridors allowed for some freedom of movement between countries, this has now come to an end under the second nation-wide lockdown in England.
Despite this, Ryanair has reported an 80 percent slump in passenger numbers during the pandemic.
The airline stated that even when flights did resume, passenger confidence and bookings for the future “were negatively impacted by the return of uncoordinated EU government flight restrictions in September and October which heavily curtailed travel to and from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal”.
The airline has already halted operations from all domestic hubs in Ireland, with the exception of Dublin, until December 12.
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