Ryanair is barring passengers who requested chargebacks for flights they did not take during the Covid pandemic from future flights with the airline.
The airline said “a tiny minority” of passengers are affected after they “unlawfully” processed chargebacks via their credit card company - a reversal of a transaction on a credit or debit card - in place of a refund processed by the airline.
Ryanair said these passengers are required to settle their outstanding debt before they will be allowed to fly with the airline again.
One passenger affected, Irish woman Ursula Barry, told The Irish Times that she discovered she was barred from flying with the airline upon trying to check-in for a Dublin-bound Ryanair flight from Faro in Portugal at the start of October.
She had flown with Aer Lingus on the outward journey.
“When I tried to check in for this flight, Ryanair would not allow me to check in,” she said.
“After tedious hours spent trying to contact Ryanair, to find out what was happening, I finally got through. I was told that there was €210.95 owing to Ryanair and I would not be allowed to check in without paying the money.
“I couldn’t understand this as you can’t book a Ryanair flight without paying so how could there be monies outstanding?”
Ms Barry was told that a flight she had not taken in September 2020 because of government Covid restrictions was at the centre of the issue.
“This booking was made in anticipation of a family wedding in September 2020 in Portugal which had to be cancelled because of government Covid restrictions,” she said.
“I had applied for a refund from Ryanair for that flight but was told no refund was due. Ryanair are now saying that the refund was ‘incorrectly’ given because the flight actually took place and that I had to repay the refund of €210.95 or I wouldn’t be allowed to fly home. I had no choice but to pay.”
A spokeswoman for Ryanair said the “regretted restriction applies to only a tiny fraction of Ryanair’s 150 million passengers annually who chose to unlawfully break their booking agreements with us.”
“The many millions of Ryanair customers whose flights were cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic and who applied directly to Ryanair for refunds, which they received directly from Ryanair, will be completely unaffected by these measures,” she told The Irish Times.
She added that the only people who would be impacted would be “a tiny minority” of its passengers, putting the number at fewer than 850.
The spokeswoman said they had bought “non-refundable tickets on Ryanair flights which operated as scheduled during Covid-19 but who chose not to travel and then unlawfully processed chargebacks via their credit card company.
“These few passengers will be required to settle their outstanding debt before they will be allowed to fly with Ryanair again.”