Ryanair levies charge after flights
Filed under: Holidays
The levy – as a result of an increase in Spanish airport tax - may have even breached Ryanair's own terms and conditions, according to an investigation by Which?
Thousands of customers who booked and paid for flights before 1 July 2012 and departed from a Spanish airport after that date were automatically charged extra, according to Which?
The extra fee - from around 30p up to £7.20, depending on the airport - was charged on the credit cards or taken from the bank accounts that customers used to purchase the initial ticket.
The charge was due to increases in Spanish airport tax. While most other airlines absorbed the cost of the increased taxes, Ryanair retrospectively passed the charge onto some customers after flying.
Breach of terms
The consumer group believes that Ryanair may have been in breach of its own terms and conditions, which state that while it may pass on additional taxes to passengers after booking, these will have to be paid for 'prior to departure'.
Which? says that when questioned, Ryanair did not address the issue that it may have breached one of its own terms and conditions, but just stated: "Ryanair is obliged to collect taxes and charges and pass them to the Spanish government on behalf of passengers."
If you booked and travelled with Ryanair during the affected period, check your bank or credit card statement to see if you have been hit with a charge. If so, contact the airline as it is likely you will be able to claim a refund for the unauthorised fee.
Clause 4.2.2 in Ryanair's T&Cs says you will be obliged to pay any increase 'prior to departure' – so if you were charged after your journey, try quoting this clause when making your complaint. A researcher from Which? was successful in claiming a refund by following this procedure.
Ryanair is well known for the wealth of charges that bump up the cost of its apparently low air fares. From admin fees (£5) and reserved seating fees (£10) to baggage charges (£15-£150) and a boarding card re-issue fee (£60), the final ticket price is vastly inflated from the initial budget fares it advertises to lure consumers in.
Even Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary recently admited to being stung by the extra charges. In an interview with the business publication Management Today, the outspoken boss said travelling with his own airline "costs me a fortune in excess baggage."