Ryanair has vowed to refund customers for cancelled flights within five working days as part of a move to improve its customer service.
The budget carrier said confirmation of, and access to, refunds will be offered in its myRyanair digital wallet within 24 hours.
It has also added a ‘Day of Travel’ assistant within the Ryanair app, which will feature live videos and webcasts from Ryanair’s ops centre during major disruptions, live updates on new departure times or re-routings during disruptions, and live updates on airport, terminal, flight and gate information.
Ryanair, which carries 225 million passengers a year, also promised “easy app access” to boarding passes, certification and other travel documents.
Its myRyanair wallet allow passengers to book flights using the balance in their wallet, see ‘real-time status updates on refunds’, and store travel documents.
The airline will also offer a digital self-service hub, where passengers can resolve issues “without contacting the customer service team”. Ryanair said this hub will offer “improved chat, FAQs, and new self-help videos” with customers able to track updates on claims and interactions with customer service.
A six-person customer advisory panel, which will meet twice a year, has been created in order to offer “in-depth feedback to continually drive customer improvements” and provide “recommendations for future customer-led initiatives”.
The airline said the changes will “further improve customer service” and “provide easy access to all flight info when customers most need it”.
Director of marketing, Dara Brady, said: “We are pleased to launch these innovative customer improvements which will enhance the travel experience of our guests.
Driven by customer panel input, these improvements allow our guests to self-serve online when changing flight dates or passengers’ names, updating contact info or adding bags/seats. For customers who need extra assistance they can now track their interactions with Ryanair across calls/email/chat/social and receive live status updates online.”
“Our new Day of Travel Assistant will make travel easier and hassle free with live updates on departure times, terminals and specific gate info for boarding.
“In the small number of cases where we suffer disruption, customers will receive regular updates including live video and webcasts from our operations centre, ensuring they are kept as up to date as possible with what’s happening and how their disruption will be resolved. In rare cases of cancellations, customers who request a refund will now get confirmation and access to it within 24hrs in myRyanir and will be refunded to the original form of payment within 5 working days.”
Rory Boland, travel editor of consumer group Which?, said Ryanair’s refund policy “will be welcome if the airline keeps its word”.
He siad: “During the pandemic, many passengers who had a legal right to a refund within seven days spent months chasing their money and the airline was also involved in several court cases over refund disputes.
“The government must urgently set out how it plans to reform travel regulations and strengthen consumer protections in the sector.”
Boland said plans to give regulator, the CAA, greater enforcement powers on refunds “can’t come soon enough” and warned they “must be sufficiently tough, and give the CAA the ability to fine airlines directly for past behaviour to ensure they won’t step out of line again”.