Some call it blackmail, because Ryanair's latest move is very similar to them. Outraged Ryanair customers have accused the budget airline of these practices after being refused at check-in to take flights due to previously disputed refunds. Customers of the Irish low-cost airline claim they were banned from booked Ryanair flights until they have first been 'refunded' for canceled travel during the Covid pandemic.

'book back'

Customers of certain credit card companies, such as Amex, Mastercard and Visa, can use chargebacks to recover disputed payments made on their debit, credit and debit cards. According to moneysavingexperts.com, these customers say the airline is more likely to refused refund for flights they did not take because of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice not to travel.

Because Ryanair did not want to refund, they carried out the refund or the so-called 'chargeback' via a credit card in order to get their money back. The process is most commonly used when a company refuses a refund. If requested, the card company intervenes to recover the money from the supplier's bank. But to use chargeback, you must first prove that you tried to get a refund and that your request was denied. Customers must submit a claim within 120 days of purchase or payment for the service.

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Personal finance experts have described the decision to block people from flying over the refund as 'outrageous', while a Ryanair customer on social media accused the budget airline of 'blackmail'. Ryanair has defended the decision, saying it has the right to stop passengers flying if they owe the company money.

While some countries on the Department for Transport's travel list were marked as green or orange, sometimes flying to these countries was prohibited by separate FCDO guidelines, often invalidating travel insurance policies. It meant that although customers felt compelled not to travel, the flights went ahead anyway. And Ryanair's terms and conditions state that it will not give refunds to customers who voluntarily choose not to travel on flights that are still going.

There is a small minority of passengers who bought non-refundable tickets on Ryanair flights that were on schedule during Covid-19, but chose not to travel and then processed refunds through their credit card company. These passengers will have to pay off their outstanding debt before they can fly with Ryanair again. Some may be sympathetic to the airline, as it incurred the cost of the original flights that went through and those passengers chose not to take. Yet the travel industry has lost all sympathy for the way it has dealt with vacationers during the pandemic.

Read also: Travel providers do not warn about financial risks

Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary
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