Why I am an Idiot, and Ryanair Aren’t That Bad

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I have long held a cautiously positive view of Ryanair. While I fully appreciate much of the negativity directed towards them, they have most certainly improved the customer experience and (notwithstanding the occasional blip) deserve credit for that.

ryanair refund

As such, give them a go and you really will be able to get some fantastically priced European trips. Whether that’s a holiday in itself, or a journey to a hugely reduced ex-Europe Business Class flight, Ryanair can be a very useful tool for the “value traveller”.

However, my praise above is predicated on one major point: you need to get everything right.

Yep, make an error with your booking details, forget to check in online or print your boarding pass, carry overweight luggage etc etc and the general reality is you will pay through the nose to correct it. In some cases substantially more than the cost of your flight, or booking a new flight.

How I Got it Embarrassingly Wrong

In light of my detailed knowledge of just how expensive Ryanair can be when you get something wrong, you would have thought I would be pretty good at checking (and double checking) that my Ryanair booking is spot on to the last tiny detail. Well, that’s exactly what I did recently – the names were right, the flights were during the kids’ holidays, the destinations were correct. The problem? I’d already booked us on a holiday somewhere else on those dates.

Please, feel free to take a small break from this article while you laugh helplessly at me. Bear in mind I’m an “expert travel blogger”, too.

ryanair refund

The Resolution

The first thing to say is that (outside of being forced to by the law) Ryanair do not do refunds*. I knew that, and was not expecting any money back. As such, I more or less instantly wrote off the €250 or so I’d just lovingly spent on a nice family weekend away, on dates we could not make.

However, I wasn’t going to give in straight away, and this is where Ryanair – at least by their own rigid standards – came up trumps.

Provided you get in touch with them in the first 24 hours after booking, Ryanair will correct “minor errors” on your booking. However, “minor errors” here, remarkably, include booking flights on the wrong dates. So I saw a means of salvation…

ryanair refund

Sure enough, when I phoned up Ryanair (their online chat wouldn’t work – I find it rarely does) to try and work this out, they were happy to change my flight dates for me without any charge. The only payment I (understandably) had to make was the small difference in the current selling price of the flights on the new dates.

Frankly I think this is impressive, certainly considering that Ryanair tickets are categorically non-refundable (see quote number 12 here, if you’re not easily offended). I would hardly say getting the dates of your flights wrong is a “minor error”, but I am not going to argue the point, and this concession worked brilliantly for me.

So lesson learned – make sure that not only are all your Ryanair booking details correct, but that you’re also not already going on holiday somewhere else when you do.  

However, if for whatever reason (including, as in my case, idiocy) you do find that you’ve made a mess of your Ryanair booking, this 24 hour “error window” may well be your saviour too.

Anything else?

Note that if it does all go horribly wrong for you and the 24 hour window can’t save you, while a Ryanair refund remains largely an impossibility, you can claim back the taxes on any flight you don’t actually take.

*There is a small exception here for death or serious illness – but even that Ryanair refund is with travel credit. 


  1. Tom says

    Ha!i did almost exactly the same thing on a JetBlue flight, thought that was it had wasted the money, phoned on the off chance and sure enough they changed the flight without charge!

  2. Helen says

    I had a refund from Ryanair in June 2016 after being unable to travel due to surgery. A letter from my consultant was all that was required. They also moved flights for me from Dec 16 to January 17 (again due to health issues) without adding the administration charge. Only had to pay the difference in the cost of the flights on the new dates. I have no issues with Ryanair. Their customer service has been excellent.

    • Tom Sumner says

      Ryanair’s “customer service has been excellent”. Wow – I’m not sure if Michael O’Leary will be delighted or slightly concerned by that 🙂

  3. Nick Burch says

    I make heavy use of TripIt, not least so I can easily find a hotel’s address or phone number offline when in a taxi, or double check a flight’s details on the move.

    I also have the ical feed of my TripIt account showing up in my calendar. This shows when you’re away, and also when you’re on a plane/train/etc. A few times now this has saved me from an expensive double-booking…

    (If you fly a lot, TripIt Pro is worth paying for too, the flight alerts can be very handy)

  4. Marie says

    Can I just add that due to a bereavement last year I had to cancel a flight with Ryanair – i did it on line and sent a copy of my brothers death certificate and within 24 hours Ryanair had refunded all the flight costs. It was amazing service!!!

  5. David says

    Sorry but this blogger is talking out of his backside, I tried to add a 20kg bag for my in-laws, had the right itinerary etc but Ryanairs website decided to add it to the wrong Itinerary, I thought simple I’ll speak to them on the on-line chat after half an hour of my life passed they were not able to help. So I thought okay I’ll use email to contact customer support (there’s a oxymoron if there ever was) I explained the error and suggested the solution, but in return I got a reply that the sender clearly did not understand English, so I sent it a second time this time I was sent a list of on-line links which non of them worked (cleaver tactic as now over the so called 24 hour grace period) so finally decided to speak to someone on the phone, out come was, that she could not offer a refund, so I could re-book it, or swap it to the itinerary it was intended for. This is the way a budget airline makes up it’s profits. It’s time companies like this were made to adhere to consumer laws?

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