Ryanair is considering allowing passengers unwilling to fly on the Boeing 737 MAX the option to cancel their flights for a full refund. Earlier today the airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary told Simple Flying: “We don’t want people to feel they’re trapped on a MAX”.
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for almost a year. This has meant that Ryanair, one of the 737’s larger customers, has been without a significant number of the aircraft that it had already expected. The airline currently expects to receive its first aircraft in September as opposed to April last year as had been previously planned by the Irish LCC.
Refunds for unhappy MAX customers
O’Leary told Simple Flying that during the first year of service the airline won’t be able to tell people they’re flying on a MAX. This is as the airline doesn’t do aircraft allocations until the previous night. Additionally, in a fleet of 500 aircraft, initially, only 20 will be Boeing 737 MAXs.
As a result, the airline will likely implement a refund policy for passengers who don’t want to fly on the aircraft. O’Leary told Simple Flying: “We will have to have customer confidence-building measures say for the first six months.”
He went on to add:
“We don’t want people to feel they’re trapped on a MAX. If you don’t want to go on it, fine. Off you go, take off the bag, and you can have a full refund.”
The Irish low-cost carrier’s CEO did also add that such an offer would only be available to those who turn up at the airport. After all, if the airline is unable to advertise if a flight is operated by a MAX in advance, passengers wouldn’t know they were on a MAX until they arrived at the gate and saw the serrated engines and split wingtips.
20 deliveries by October
We had previously known that Ryanair was expecting its first 737 MAX aircraft around the months of September and October. However, today the airline’s CEO expanded on this point. In an interview with Simple Flying Michael O’Leary said:
“If it returns to service in July August in North America, Boeing will then move to deliver the 450 backlog aircraft. We have 20 of those aircraft. They will be our first 20 MAXs. Boeing said they’re prioritising deliveries to the biggest customers, Southwest, American, Ryanair, and whoever else that happens to be. So I think we’ll get those aircraft in September October with reasonable certainty.”
Of course, these predictions are based on Boeing’s current guidance going forwards. It is entirely possible that the aircraft’s return to service could be further delayed. This would cause further headaches for affected airlines.
What do you make of O’Leary’s comments? Would you fly on the Boeing 737 MAX or take a full refund? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!