Ryanair loses legal battle, which could cost airlines millions

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » Ryanair loses legal battle, which could cost airlines millions

Ryanair has been forced to refund a passenger who was unable to fly due to a UK travel ban during COVID.

The no-frills airline had originally refused to refund the cost of the £339.36 ticket, arguing that the passenger wasn’t entitled to his money back as the flight from Bristol to Malaga went ahead as planned on 30 July 2020.

However, 65-year-old Nick Blades from Gloucestershire filed a small claim in Cheltenham and Gloucester County Court on the grounds that he was unable to fly as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was advising against all non-essential travel.

Ryanair lawyers later approached the passenger to offer him travel vouchers, which he declined as he wanted a cash refund.

The small claims court has since ruled in his favour, forcing Ryanair to issue him a full refund and pay his £90 court fees, according to MoneySavingExpert.

The ruling could mean many other passengers who were refused refunds for non-cancelled flights during travel bans will bring similar cases against Ryanair and other airlines.

As MoneySavingExpert pointed out, small claims cases aren’t legal binding and don’t set a legal precedent, but the case could be used as an example in future cases.

“If you’re still owed money for a flight you didn’t take due to COVID guidance and haven’t already got your money back, this could be a route to try,” MoneySavingExpert told readers.

A spokesperson for Ryanair told The Independent: “While we do not comment on individual cases, our general terms and conditions of carriage, which are available at every step of the booking process and which passengers expressly agree to before completing their bookings, provide that we may refuse carriage where a passenger owes money in respect of a previous flight due to payment having been recharged against us.”

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