Ryanair’s COVID Flight Change Fee Waiver Set To Expire

European low-cost carrier Ryanair is set to reintroduce its flight change fee for bookings from the end of the month. The airline had waived the cost for the best part of a year and a half. The change comes as the airline begins eyeing a return to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryanair, COVID-19, Change Fee
Ryanair’s change fee waiver is set to expire. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines are well known for their flight change fees. All but the most flexible of booking usually carry a fee to change, along with the fare difference. The flexible fares mentioned are typically pretty pricy, making up for the revenue lost through change fees. Now, Ryanair is looking to bring such costs back.

Return of the change fee

While not the most flexible, Ryanair has offered a reasonably generous change fee waiver during the pandemic. As the crisis has progressed, this waiver has been extended serval times. Now it is due to lapse, and it seems that the airline won’t extend it this time.

Currently, all bookings come with free flight changes where a passenger is due to fly before the end of the year. All flights booked from October 1st onwards will lose this privilege, meaning passengers will need to fork out €35 to change their booking date.

Ryanair, Ghost Flights, COVID-19
Passengers will need to pay to change flights once more. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The low-cost carrier change fee is pretty infamous. In addition to the flat fee for flight changes, passengers will often have to pay extra if there is a fare difference. However, low-cost carriers are notorious for their “low costs”. It can often be cheaper to create a whole new booking than to change a booking.

For example, why pay at least €35 to change a flight when you can pay €9.99 for a brand new one. Of course, by taking this option, passengers lose any additional services they have purchased, such as baggage or priority boarding.

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How did Ryanair’s fee waiver work?

Ryanair’s free flight change policy was introduced over a year ago as it became clear that many passengers were unable to travel as planned due to ever-changing travel restrictions. While Ryanair wasn’t willing to offer refunds if a passenger decided not to travel, they were ready to provide flight changes. This way, a passenger’s money stayed with the airline, but the traveler also received more flexibility.

Ryanair cabin
Sometimes it can be cheaper to book new flights, but any extra services are lost. Photo: Ryanair

There were some strings attached to the policy. Anybody wishing to change flights needed to do so at least seven days before they were due to travel. Additionally, if the new flights were more expensive than the original ones, they would also be expected to pay for the difference in fares.

While it is still experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been getting a lot better for the airline. In August, it surpassed the number of passengers it would carry during a non-pandemic winter month. Despite this, numbers were still a fair bit below August 2019.

Will you miss Ryanair’s change fee waiver? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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