RYANAIR customers whose flights have been cancelled due to coronavirus have claimed that they are now receiving messages to say they are going ahead.
Travellers say they have been sent texts by the airline reinstating the flights as late as two hours before take-off.
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But according to Ryanair, the flights were launched for repatriation purposes only – not for normal customers who had booked the trip and were already trying to get a refund.
Joanna Pearl told the consumer website Which? that she had been trying to get a refund for her flight to France, but she was then sent a text announcing the flight was going ahead – two hours before it was due to leave.
She said: “I thought it must be a hoax.”
Another Ryanair customer called Margaret Joseph said on Twitter: “It’s unbelievable. I received a text cancelling my flight in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This was followed by an email. My Ryanair app also indicated it was cancelled.
“I tried unsuccessfully for a refund. Four hours before check in I received a text about reinstatement.
“There are travel restrictions in France and passengers would have difficulty getting to the airport.”
Last week, Ryanair warned that they may be forced to ground all of their flights as Europe became the “coronavirus epicentre”.
The airline added that 80 per cent of seat capacity could be cut in April and May, as the pandemic continues to spread across Europe.
Then yesterday, the carrier said that from Tuesday next week, March 24, most, if not all, Ryanair flights will be grounded.
The only exception will be a “very small” number of flights, mostly between the UK and Ireland, Ryanair said.
According to Which?, passengers whose trips were reinstated at the last minute are now concerned that they will be unable to get a refund, as Ryanair is not obliged to pay if the flight still operates.
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How do I get a refund from Ryanair?
If your flight has been cancelled, Ryanair should offer you a refund or the option of rescheduling your flight to a later date.
Ryanair says it will be contacting affected passengers by email or text message.
But if you think your flight has been cancelled and you’re yet to hear from Ryanair, you can contact the airline on 0818 30 30 or through its online chat service.
You’ll need to have your booking number to hand so Ryanair can track down your trip.
What happens if Ryanair doesn’t refund me?
If you’re struggling to get your money back from Ryanair, you may be covered by your travel insurance as the FCO has advised against all but essential travel.
The policy would have needed to been taken out before the FCO advice changed.
Check the terms and conditions of your policy carefully and contact your insurance provider to discuss your options.
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.
Those with flights and hotels booked by debit card may be able to claim a refund via their banks 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.
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