All good things must end: Ryanair to remove no change fee COVID policy from 1 October

Sep 22, 2021

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Like just about every other airline, Ryanair at the beginning of the pandemic implemented customer-friendly change and cancellation policies. For an airline known for its notoriously non-customer-friendly mindset, this was a huge improvement.

After more than a year, however, the budget carrier is doing away with its no-fee change policies as air travel slowly begins to normalise. For new bookings made from 1 October, passengers will no longer be able to change their travel tickets without paying a penalty. For anyone who has booked a flight with Ryanair, the free-flight change policy will remain in place as long as the flight takes place before the end of 2021. However, all flights booked from 1 October will not be eligible to change your ticket without paying an additional €35 penalty.

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While it’s not that surprising that Ryanair would do away with it — rebooking fees are a common add-on across the industry, especially for the budget carriers — it’s still disappointing to see the policy go away because of the flexibility it offered travellers. Also, the return to pre-pandemic ticket-change fees comes at a time when ever-changing travel protocols mean air travel remains volatile.

Related: Hello Finland: Ryanair announces 14 new London routes for winter

Ryanair is a low-cost airline with a somewhat… distinctive reputation among fliers. OK, many people simply love to hate on the no-frills carrier (Google “the airline we love to hate” and see how many articles mention Ryanair), but it does have its fans who love the airline’s destination map that covers much of Europe. TPG has written about this before.

And let’s face it, for some customers being able to book a flight for as low as £4.99 one-way is worth sacrificing comfort and flexibility.

But its strict rules and fees regarding luggage, check-in and even boarding annoy some travellers, so seeing the airline relax some of their tight rules was a welcome addition to the Ryanair experience. It allowed date changes at no additional cost, as long as the destination did not change and it was done at least seven days from travel. That’s not as generous a policy as other airlines implemented during the pandemic — Ryanair didn’t offer refunds as other carriers did — but it was still helpful to customers who may have had to change their itinerary due to circumstances beyond their control.

Related: Comparing Europe’s Top 4 budget carriers

The end of the no-change fee policy is a clear sign the airline is seeing travel bookings rebound and doesn’t need to bend over backwards to lure customers. In fact, Ryanair in August saw more passengers than during typical pre-coronavirus winter months. That is at least something positive.

Featured image by SOPA Images for Getty Images

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