This article provides comprehensive information about canceling Ryanair flights and receiving a refund for any unused ticket. Our guide offers clear explanations on the following topics:
We also explain how you can receive an average refund of €30 per flight and passenger, even for cheaper flights booked under Value or Regular conditions, without any cancellation fees being deducted and without needing travel cancellation insurance.
Moreover, we have summarized the best practice for cancellation and partial refund of the booking price for you in a checklist. For further questions, the FAQ at the end of the article provides answers.
We have compiled the most relevant recommendations for canceling Ryanair flights for you in a checklist. With the following three steps, you can quickly and safely cancel your ticket and obtain a partial refund of the booking price:
To cancel your Ryanair flight, simply not showing up for boarding at the departure airport is enough. No notification to the airline is required to effect the cancellation. As per Ryanair’s website, customers do not have to inform about the cancellation before departure. This is because Ryanair, by its own admission, does not voluntarily issue refunds for the booking price and thus doesn’t require timely cancellation notices. No special rules applied during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a time, more flexible rebooking options were available but have since expired.
Note: If a flight is missed, reservations for return flights and other booked connections remain valid.
Contrary to Ryanair’s claims, passengers who cancel their flights themselves are legally entitled to a refund of taxes and fees included in the ticket price. These often amount to €30-40 per person per flight route from the UK, France or Germany. Ryanair only owes these taxes and fees for actual passengers. So when a passenger cancels their booking and does not show up for the flight, the airline saves this amount and must refund it to the customer.
Ordinarily, the taxes and fees included in your ticket price can be found itemized in your booking confirmation or flight invoice. However, this detail is often missing in direct bookings with Ryanair. Yet, if you cannot find this information, you may use the free online calculator provided by our air passenger rights website to automatically determine the exact amount of refundable costs for your specific flight. Using the calculator is non-binding and does not obligate you to engage Refund Pilot’s services.
Ryanair only offers to refund the governmental taxes from the departure country for a canceled flight upon request. The airline considers the rest of the fare, including all other charges and fees, non-refundable. Additionally, Ryanair charges a €20 administrative fee per passenger for the refund process. If the refund amount is less than this fee, the airline issues no refund at alle.
For trips to and from the UK or Germany, this practice falls short of legal entitlements. To enforce your rights for the repayment of the booking price, including all unused taxes and fees, you can independently approach Ryanair with a claim letter using our free template. However, Ryanair often does not comply with such out-of-court demands and will only react to a lawsuit.
Our flight passenger portal offers a secure alternative for passengers to quickly and easily receive their rightful refunds. Refund Pilot makes direct payments on ticket prices up to the amount of taxes and fees saved due to cancellation, minus a moderate service fee of 17-20% of your claim’s face value (including VAT). To apply for our direct refund of 80-83% of the repayment you are statutorily entitled to, you can use our compensation calculator non-bindingly. It only takes a few minutes.
For more detailed steps on how to cancel Ryanair flights and get a refund, our article provides further information in the following sections. To check your refund amount for free, you may enter the number and date of a canceled flight in the online form you can reach through the button above.
In this section, we explain in order:
1. whether and how you need to inform Ryanair of your flight cancellation;
2. what cancellation conditions apply;
3. when and how you can make changes to your Ryanair flight.
When it comes to informing Ryanair about a flight cancellation, there are two approaches depending on whether you want to get a refund for unused tickets:
A. A simple method that does not provide any refund.
B. A less known method that usually takes just 5 to 10 minutes and can help recover an average of 75 Euros per canceled booking.
Both methods are explained in detail. Additionally, special cases of cancellation are covered, such as partial cancellation for one of multiple passengers or bookings made through intermediaries like opodo or booking.com.
For those who simply do not want to fly without incurring penalties, it is enough to stay home on the day of the flight:
Ryanair does not provide specific ways to notify the company about ticket cancellations. According to their Terms and Conditions and the faq on their website, there is no obligation to formally cancel a flight if you do not intend to board. A Ryanair customer does not need to explicitly cancel their trip if they are forgoing a flight fare refund and just avoiding penalties. In this case, there is no need to inform Ryanair online, via email, or by phone about not flying. It is actually undesirable to send written notifications or call the airline in this scenario. To cancel, simply not showing up for the flight is enough. Do not check-in or appear at the gate at flight time. If you have already checked in early and your plans change, it is sufficient not to board or fly. This is adequate notification to Ryanair about your cancellation.
Note: Even those who do not travel retain their legal right to a partial ticket refund. This right exists in every booking class if you simply do not fly. The next section explains further why and to what extent you are always entitled to a partial refund of the flight price by law. Not formally canceling does not forfeit this passenger right. You can still make a claim later, even up to three years after the flight day in Germany. However, you must take action yourself because Ryanair will not automatically refund the fare if you do not show up for the flight. Therefore, it is advisable to resort to the alternative:
Ryanair does not charge extra costs for not canceling, but they also keep the entire flight price. Therefore, if you want to assert your legal right to a flight price refund, you must actively request a ticket refund. It is advisable to declare the flight cancellation in the same step and to combine this with the request for a refund. The advantage: You then have the right to a refund at the time of cancellation, not just on the day of the flight.
Unfortunately, Ryanair does not make it easy for customers to claim back the flight price. For instance, there is no separate online form for this on their website. Moreover, Ryanair advises against making calls for changes or reversals of existing bookings. Ryanair’s hotline is not intended for rebooking or canceling a flight. It is instead only available for the needs of individuals requiring assistance who wish to travel with Ryanair. Each call to the telephone number listed on Ryanair’s contact page costs €0.20 from a landline and €0.60 from a mobile network. Even telephone flat rates may not cover the cost of the call.
However, it is perfectly feasible to send an email for cancellation and refund request to the general Ryanair customer service address. This address is mentioned by Ryanair in the contact section of the company’s website itself.
We provide you with a suitable pre-formulated template for such a letter free of charge if you use our sample letter generator below. Simply enter your flight details and receive a free suggestion for wording. Alternatively, you can request the blank sample letter under the link and then manually fill in your details.
It is also important to know for the request for a flight price refund, how much of the flight price you can claim back in your case. Generally, it is not the full flight price, but a (usually large) portion of it. The legal entitlement to a refund is based on the amount of taxes and fees the airline saves if you do not fly. More details on the basis of this calculation can be found in the Section II.
Unfortunately, Ryanair does not print the refundable amount on the ticket invoice. However, it can still be determined in a few minutes: We have a database where you can check for free for all Ryanair flights, how much the respective refund claim is in case of a cancellation.
Using the calculator is non-binding; there is no need to commission the Refund Pilot’s Direct Refund service. However, for those who want to make it even simpler, after calculating the refundable flight price, you can apply with a few more clicks for a direct payout of 80% of it from us. We will compare these different options in terms of their advantages and disadvantages in the Section III below.
If only some passengers of a booking for multiple people do not wish to travel, this does not affect the transportation of the others. Those who cannot fly remain at home, and the willing travelers check in as usual and arrive at the gate on time. For Ryanair, such cases are not problematic. Separate notifications are not necessary. Only when informing Ryanair about the partial cancellation in the course of requesting a flight price refund, it should be clarified which passengers it refers to and which it does not. Also, you cannot claim a refund of the ticket price for those who are flying, but only for those who are not.
Simultaneously booked return flights also remain unaffected by the cancellation of a Ryanair outbound flight. Respective tickets may still be used as originally planned, without having to inform the airline separately if you do not take the outbound flight. Instead, you only need to check in separately for the return flight and arrive on time at the departure gate. Otherwise, no additional arrangements are necessary if you do not participate in a previous flight of the same booking.
Further specifics may apply if you have booked your ticket through a third-party provider (for example, in a travel agency or through a booking portal). In this case, the booking agency is also the correct contact for cancellation. If you do not inform the third-party provider about the cancellation, there may be costs or problems with the return flight. The method of cancellation depends on the provider with whom the booking was made. Information on cancellation rules is usually available on the respective homepage of the booking portal. Most of the time, a cancellation can be made online with just a few clicks. Often, the corresponding link can also be found in the original email with the booking confirmation.
With popular intermediary portals such as booking.com and opodo, to our knowledge, there are no penalty fees if customers do not report to them that they are not taking a Ryanair flight booked through them. In such cases, Ryanair’s policies prevail, and for cancellation, it is therefore sufficient not to check in and not to appear for boarding.
Aside from the rules for ticket refunds, Ryanair’s cancellation conditions are quite straightforward. For canceling a flight, there is no specific deadline or format to adhere to. You also do not have to pay any cancellation fees if you do not fly.
At the same time, Ryanair is only limitedly willing to refund the already paid flight price on its own initiative. A certain portion of the ticket price must be refunded by the airline in any case. Often, it is more than 30 Euros per flight route and person. This generally applies even to inexpensive tickets under the “Value” and “Regular” fares. However, the exact refundable amount depends on the specific booking. Therefore, in a section below, we will further address the question of up to what amount exactly you can claim back the booking price for canceled Ryanair flights.
To assert your claim for a ticket refund, you must specifically request Ryanair – for example, via email. We provide a free sample letter for this purpose.
Alternatively, you can also use the Refund Pilot’s service. After commissioning us, you will receive an immediate direct payment of 80-83% of the flight price refund you are entitled to. In return, we handle the dispute with the airline for you without any effort and financial risk on your part.
For more information on claiming the ticket refund, please see the linked section of the article further below.
If a traveler simply wants to postpone their flight and plans to make it up soon, a possible alternative to not showing up and subsequently obtaining a partial refund is rebooking. Up to 2.5 hours before flight departure, the flight date, time, and route of any Ryanair flight can still be changed – provided the passenger has not yet checked in.
The booking can be most easily modified in advance of the trip in one of the following three ways:
1. Online in your MyRyanair Account. Changes can be made online in the MyRyanair user account through which the flightes were booked. It can be accessed through the “Login” menu item on the Ryanair website.
2. Online without logging into the customer account. For this, simply click on the “Reservierungsnummer” button under the “Booking” menu item on the Ryanair website and then enter your booking number and the email address provided at booking. The booking number is a six-digit code individually assigned to each booking, for example, “BAF6GB”. It should not be confused with the flight number, which consists of Ryanair’s IATA code (“FR”) and a two- to four-digit number. You can find your booking number in your booking confirmation, which you receive via email after booking. It is explicitly labeled as such there.
3. in the MyRyanair App. Those who have set up the MyRyanair app on their smartphone and linked it to their MyRyanair account can directly access their bookings there. To do this, the user selects the respective booking under “My Trips” to manage it using the appropriate buttons.
Once you have accessed your booking, it is possible to make changes under the relevant point on the user interface.
Within the first 24 hours after booking, minor changes can be corrected free of charge in this way. This allows for the adjustment of both the flight time and the flight direction. Therefore, departure and destination airports can be swapped. However, choosing a different destination is not allowed for free even shortly after completing the booking. Ryanair also does not allow changes to the registered passengers or a complete cancellation of the trip under favorable conditions even during the first 24 hours after booking.
After the first 24 hours post-booking, Ryanair then allows any change to the flight data only for a fee. Per passenger and flight route, the rebooking costs at Ryanair are generally €45. For a rebooking made by phone, the fee is even €60 per passenger and route.
As a result, rebooking with Ryanair is often at least as expensive as canceling the original flight, receiving a partial refund and making an entirely new booking. Therefore, it is worth checking in case of a change in plans whether you can make the change of plans more economically by booking new flights at the desired time, canceling the original booking, and then claiming back the refundable part of the ticket price.
Depending on the chosen booking fare, there is a minor exception to this: If you book a flight in the “Flexi Plus” tariff, no fees are incurred if you rebook to a flight connection on the day before or the day after the originally booked flight date (Clause 5.4 of the Ryanair General Terms and Conditions). Otherwise, the usual rebooking costs apply here too, for example, if the booking is to be changed to a connection that takes place two days before or after the originally chosen flight date.
Aside from this, deviations from the general rules for rebooking are only conceivable as exceptions in the context of special promotions. In this regard, we are only aware of one example. Due to the Corona pandemic, Ryanair allowed bookings made until 31.01.2022 to be rebooked free of charge to another flight before 30.09.2022. However, this special program has by now expired. The special terms and conditions “No Change Fee” have since been removed from Ryanair’s website.
Currently, Ryanair has no comparable special conditions in place (as of 14.01.2024). Even those who become ill with COVID-19 or other deseases at short notice and thus have to cancel their flight only obtain the statutory right to a refund of taxes and fees (more on this in the next section). Additional rights for discounted rebooking or refund are not available to those affected. This applies even if the respective traveler is unable to take the flight due to legal quarantine obligations, even though they might have wanted to.
Furthermore, for all booking changes: If the new flight is more expensive, the passenger must pay the difference to the previous booking price. This surcharge is, notably, in addition to the rebooking fees. Conversely, if the flight is cheaper, there is no credit for the excess amount paid. In particular, the rebooking fees to be paid do not decrease because the flight connection selected during rebooking is more affordable than the original booking.
Ryanair’s policy generally does not provide any refunds for cancelled flights. If a passenger does not show up for a flight, the company generally does not provide any refunds. The company justifies this by citing the tight pricing calculation for the benefit of its customers. Therefore, only the government taxes included in the flight price are voluntarily refunded by Ryanair under certain restrictive conditions (more on this in subsection 1).
Exceptions are made only in cases of illness or death of the traveler or travel restrictions due to coronavirus (more on this in subsections 3 and 4). Higher refund amounts may be possible in these cases. Even outside of these special cases, passengers have a legal minimum claim for a partial refund of all taxes and fees included in the ticket price (more on this in subsection 2).
If you do not board a flight and fail to appear at the gate, according to Ryanair’s General Terms and Conditions, you are still entitled to a refund of the air traffic taxes included in the flight price. Depending on the country of departure, these additional flight costs vary in amount. For example, for all flights departing from Germany within the EU a current fee of €12.73 per departing passenger is charged. In 2021, this value was slightly higher at €12.88 per person. The amount is determined by section 1 of the Air Traffic Tax Reduction Ordinance, which is adjusted annually. Higher tax rates apply for longer flight distances. At Ryanair, this primarily affects flights to Israel and Egypt. For these, the air traffic levy included in the ticket price has been €32.25 per passenger since 1.1.2023, and from 01.05.2024, it will be €33.01. Similar taxes are levied for each flight and departing passenger by about half of the other European countries such as France and the United Kingdom.
The necessary application for a refund can be made online via Ryanair’s homepage. However, the relevant page is hard to find. Therefore, we link the application form here. After providing details about the flight, circumstances, and contact information of the applicant, the airline processes the application.
But be aware: For processing the application for a refund of the state air traffic tax, Ryanair charges a administrative fee of €20 per person, per flight. At least, this is what Article 4.2.1 of the General Terms and Conditions stipulates (more on the effectiveness of this clause below). If the expected refund amount is (as is almost always the case) less than this fee, the airline does not voluntarily pay out any refunds. All flights from Germany to other EU countries, for example, fall into this category.
Moreover, that is not all:
Other passenger-related additional flight costs saved by the airline in the event of a cancellation, such as airport fees and fuel surcharges, are not refunded by Ryanair on its own initiative, as they allegedly were not previously allocated to the flight price.
Conclusion: Ryanair voluntarily pays back almost nothing in case of flight cancellation and, if it does exceptionally, then significantly less than the total sum of all taxes and fees (which travelers are legally entitled to; more on this shortly under 2.).
Aside from a few exceptional cases, Ryanair offers travelers who cancel their flights at most a refund of the state air traffic tax. And even the payout of this small amount often does not occur because Ryanair’s processing fees are usually higher than the portion of the flight price the airline would voluntarily be willing to repay. But does the passenger really have to be content with just that? Or could they possibly assert further claims?
To determine any additional demands a Ryanair customer may have in the event of cancellation, it is first important to know what these could consist of.
Especially in the budget flight segment, the booking price consists of a high percentage of amounts that the airline only has to pay as taxes and fees per passenger if they actually travel. So this means that, contrary to how Ryanair portrays it, more is meant than just the pure air traffic tax that the airline voluntarily refunds for a fee. It refers to all flight-related costs that only arise for airlines when passengers actually take part in a flight.
This includes, for example, fees for security checks or airport fees. The sum of such taxes and fees usually amounts to over €30 per passenger on domestic flights starting in Germany. The airline only needs to forward this part of the ticket price to authorities and airports if a passenger actually travels:
The departure country usually only charges taxes in this case – in Germany, for example, the air traffic tax of €12.73 per person for flights within the EU and €32.25 for more distant destinations such as Egypt. In addition, there are the costs for security checks (in Germany, for example, the air security fee is typically €8-10 per person being checked, depending on the departure airport). Furthermore, airports charge airlines fees for handling passengers. In Germany, these fees typically range from €5-20 – in Düsseldorf, for example, around €17, in Frankfurt €22 and in Munich even €23.68 (as of January 14, 2024). Airlines like Ryanair only have to pay these amounts for passengers who actually take a flight. Otherwise, the airport does not charge them and airlines enjoy corresponding savings.
However, a traveler pays all these amounts in the ticket price. And if a flight is cancelled and the passenger does not travel, the airline does not have to pay these taxes and fees to the authorities and airports. Instead, they keep them for themselves in such cases. However, this is regarded as an unjust enrichment under multiple European jurisdictions such as those of Germany, Austria and even Ireland. Accordingly, generally airlines do not reserve the right to retain the excess funds that they would have been obligated to forward to tax authorities and airport operators if it had not been for a passenger’s cancellation or no-show.
Therefore, if a passenger cancels a flight, they are entitled to a refund of the proportionate amount of taxes and fees that are included in the ticket price. This is also the case if the airline cancels the flight.
Neither the contractual nor the statutory right to a refund in case of a cancellation by a passenger encompasses the entire flight price.
In particular, the price for various additional services provided by the airline and which do not cause significant additional expenditure when the transport is carried out, are not refundable. This is because Ryanair does not save anything if a passenger does not take the flight. This category includes fees for priority boarding, baggage and seat reservations. The amount of such items far exceeds the associated expense that Ryanair saves when canceling. For example, the expense of electronically reserving a seat in the system, instead of automatically assigning it to a passenger before boarding, is ultimately insignificant for the airline. Instead, Ryanair charges high fees for additional services mainly for marketing purposes, which allows the company to reduce the basic flight price for basic transportation and make its tickets appear particularly cheap.
Similar applies to fees charged for services that are provided before the actual trip. These include commissions from travel portals and Ryanair’s processing fee for the mere confirmation of the booking. Such fees are not saved when canceling because the service for which they are compensated is already provided as part of the booking (by making it happen).
Generally, travelers can find the exact amount of their claim for refund in the booking confirmation or invoice for the respective flight. EU Regulation No. 1008/2008 stipulates in Article 23 that in addition to the total price of a flight, the individual items of taxes and fees must be disclosed. However, at least in the case of direct bookings with Ryanair, these details are often missing in the booking confirmation – unlike, for example, with Lufthansa or Eurowings. As the following example shows, the travel documents from Ryanair regularly only state the total price of a booking, without further breaking it down:
If the travel documents do not give any information about taxes and fees in the ticket price of a canceled flight, you can calculate the amount yourself. Our linked article explains the amount of various taxes and fees that may apply per flight.
Alternatively, you can have the refundable amount automatically determined for a specific flight by using our free online refund calculator. Based on the travel data in the form, our web app automatically and non-binding calculates the taxes and fees included in the ticket price for which a claim for refund exists. The result of the examination will be displayed to you directly online. No prior commissioning of Refund Pilot or input of personal or contact information is required.
Ryanair attempts to undermine the aforementioned legal claim to refunds with various terms and conditions. Nevertheless, several German courts have already determined that Ryanair’s contractual limitations on the refund of taxes and fees in the company’s terms and conditions are ineffective in the event of cancellation (see, for example, German Federal Court of Justice, judgment of 01.08.2023, case number X ZR 118/22; Higher Regional Court of Cologne, decision of 29.01.2021, case number 9 U 184/20; Regional Court of Cologne, judgment of 17.07.2020, case number 25 O 212/19; District Court of Erding, judgment of 24.06.2020, case number 9 C 6697/19; Regional Court of Baden-Baden, partial judgment of 27.10.2019, case number 2 O 287/19). Comparable jurisdiction exist in Austria already and there are even some legal opinions confirming similar legal positions under Irish law, i.e. on Ryanair’s “home turf”.
The German and Austrian judges also consider the high processing fees of 20 € per person, per flight, to be unacceptable. Especially in conjunction with the refusal to refund more than the air traffic taxes, these regularly result in Ryanair’s terms and conditions effectively excluding a refund. In contrast, the courts confirm that customers are entitled to the legal minimum claim for a refund of unused taxes and fees. Airlines like Ryanair, however, seem to count on passengers being unaware of their rights and accepting the conditions set by the airline, unnecessarily foregoing refunds.
Although Ryanair has repeatedly adjusted its terms and conditions in recent years, later bookings are subject to the newer terms and conditions. These include a revised choice of law clause. With this, Ryanair attempts to ensure that Irish law applies to contracts with the airline. Under this law, it is easier to exclude refund claims than under German law. Unlike the old choice of law clause, the judicial review of the newer one is still partly ongoing.However, there are already various judgments, especially by German courts, confirming the ineffectiveness of the new regulations, including from North Rhine-Westphalia and the district courts in Nuremberg, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Bremen, Memmingen, Simmern, Bühl, and Königs Wusterhausen (Berlin Brandenburg Airport) (as of 14.01.2024).
Moreover, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled in a landmark decision initiated by Refund Pilot on 01.08.2023 regarding a whole series of Ryanair’s terms and conditions clauses in our favor (case number 118/22). The supreme court considered it legally correct that the Regional Court of Memmingen, which had previously dealt with the case, declared all of the airline’s limitations on the refund claim in the terms and conditions to be ineffective (see also the press coverage of the BGH ruling we achieved). Based on the decisions so far, we assume that all relevant courts nationwide will similarly consider Ryanair’s new choice of law clause to be ineffective.
In the case of a death in the close family of the traveler, Ryanair is very customer-friendly and reimburses the full travel price upon request and proof (e.g. presentation of a death certificate). However, the details of this are somewhat poorly regulated: Unfortunately, the information on the homepage on this topic contradicts that which is stated in the airline’s terms and conditions.
While the homepage states that a full refund is possible if a close family member dies on the day of the flight or within 28 days afterwards, the terms and conditions almost say the opposite. According to the terms and conditions, a refund of the ticket price is possible if a relative dies within 28 days before the flight date and the traveler applies for a refund as soon as possible, but in any case before the planned travel date (clause 10.3 Ryanair terms and conditions). The passenger should orient themselves on the terms and conditions, as these are decisive for the contract with the airline, while the information on the homepage may be non-binding information in doubt.
Compared to other airlines, Ryanair has a fairly wide definition of “close relatives” whose death entitles the booking price to be refunded. In addition to spouses and partners, parents, grandparents, grandchildren and children, the definition also includes parents-in-law, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law and step-parents and step-siblings. The refund request must include the booking number, confirmation of the relationship and a copy of the death certificate.
If a traveler is unable to take their flight due to a serious illness or even their own death, Ryanair operates on the principle of discretion. The passenger does not have an explicit legal claim for a refund at this point. Instead, it is up to the airline’s discretion to reimburse the full ticket costs to the customer and any other travelers with the same booking reference in such cases. Alternatively, the airline reserves the right to offer fee-free rebookings after submitting the appropriate supporting documents. The required application form for discretionary refund can be found here.
Due to the coronavirus situation, there are travel bans or restrictions for passengers from other countries or regions in many states. Airline Ryanair lists these on its homepage on a daily basis, so customers can check if their flight connections are affected.
If a flight is still planned on a route affected by restrictions, Ryanair does not offer any special possibilities for cancellation or refund. In the past year 2020, travelers were able to change certain flights free of charge even at short notice. Similar regulations or offers for affected flights in the years 2021 and 2022 are unfortunately not visible on the Ryanair website. The possibility of a free change also only existed for a short period of time for bookings made before September 30, 2022. Currently, there are no comparable special conditions (see also the section on changes).
So, if you have not booked the Flexi-Plus fare, it seems likely that you will not have any special change options if Ryanair carries out a flight as scheduled and you are individually prevented from transportation due to travel restrictions.
However, if Ryanair cancels a flight itself or postpones it to a different time, the airline voluntarily accommodates customers. In such a case, customers will be notified by SMS. However, the airline strongly recommends checking the flight status of your connection via the user account online. If Ryanair cancels a flight, the passenger has three different options to choose from:
A. Free rebooking: The first option is a fee-free change to another Ryanair flight with a different departure and destination airport. Note: Differences in booking prices must be borne by the passenger, so there may be a surcharge for the new flight. The passenger can change the booking online through their user account.
B. Voucher: Alternatively, the airline issues a twelve-month valid voucher worth the booking price to the traveler. To keep the deadline, one must book a new flight within twelve months and pay for it with the voucher. However, the travel date of this new flight can indeed be later without this preventing the redemption of the voucher.
C. Refund of the booking price: The third option is the monetary refund of the full flight price by Ryanair. For the refund, the passenger must fill out a form. Afterwards, the airline will process the request.
To the extent that Ryanair meets the claim of passengers according to Article 8 of the passenger rights regulation at least formally. This states that in the event of cancellation by the airline, the traveler is entitled to a refund in cash. Passengers can voluntarily accept a voucher instead, but they do not have to.
Once it is established how much taxes and fees are generally refundable for your flight, the next question is how to best achieve a full refund of this amount. Which legal avenues are available to the passenger to enforce the claim? Three options are possible:
1. self-enforcement (more on this in subsection 1);
2. legal action through a lawyer (more on this in subsection 2);
3. trade in your refund claim in exchange for a direct payment from a passenger rights website such as Refund Pilot (more on this in subsection 3).
After explaining the three individual options, we will compare them looking at an example at the end of this section (more on this in subsection 4).
To claim your refund, you can of course contact Ryanair yourself once you have canceled or not taken your flight. However, the Ryanair online form is not helpful in this case because it is only intended for the refund of state taxes minus processing fees. As described above, this is usually not interesting because you are only claiming a small part of your refund entitlement. In addition, Ryanair’s processing fee often exceeds the amount of the saved taxes, so the airline voluntarily pays out nothing in the end.
However, a request for the repayment of all taxes and fees in the ticket price is possible by sending an email to the airline. You can create a free sample letter for your case below.
Nevertheless, each customer has the right to escalate the dispute with the airline further – by launching dunning proceedings or filing a lawsuit. Since the refundable booking price is usually less than €5,000, a person affected can even sue in front of a local court without a lawyer in most European jurisdictions. In Germany, for example, this is permitted through section 23 No. 1 of the German Court Structure Act (GVG); sections 78 paragraph 1, 79 paragraph 1 of the German Civil Procedure Code (ZPO). However, before doing so, the passenger should at any rate send a claim letter to the airline first. Otherwise, it may happen that the affected customer has to bear the costs of the proceedings himself if the lawsuit is justified but avoidable (see section 93 German Civil Procedure Code).
Measured by the amount in dispute, a court case on one’s own initiative means disproportionate efforts and risks of legal costs. Even if one asserts one’s own claims without a lawyer, one has to pay a court costs advance of at least €114 under German law. This part of the court costs is only fully reimbursed if one wins the legal dispute. On the other hand, if one loses, one is obliged to pay both the court costs and the legal fees of the opposing party. Quickly, a sum of several hundred euros for the total legal costs accumulates.
With the help of legal support, the passenger is no longer alone against the airline. The involvement of legal representation reduces the passenger’s own efforts and increases the chances of success in court, as a lawyer generally handles the procedure more professionally than a non-lawyer.
Nevertheless, your legal representative is dependent on your cooperation during the proceedings, as he or she is not familiar with the case from the start. So, in this variant, you correspond and communicate with your lawyer to a certain extent, and provide him or her with travel documents and other evidence. With this form of legal pursuit, you also have to expect some self-effort.
In principle, when commissioning a lawyer, there is also a cost risk similar to that of independent enforcement. Only the costs for your own lawyer are added, which the Ryanair customer who cancels would have to pay in advance (section 91 paragraph 2 German Civil Procedure Code).
The cost risk is explained in specific terms as follows. In disputes over the refund of taxes and fees, Ryanair almost always resorts to a court case. In this, the airline always refers to several provisions of its T&C, which are intended to limit your refund claim. Although many German courts have now declared these clauses to be ineffective, here is a selection:
Choice of law clause: The choice of law clause stipulates that Irish law should apply (Art. 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 of the terms and conditions). Within its scope of application, it is not yet conclusively clarified whether a legal claim for a refund exists. Ryanair denies this. Consequently, the choice of Irish law is disadvantageous for passengers.
However, this provision is ineffective at least in its old version, according to the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, decision of January 29, 2021, case number I-9 U 184/20; Regional Court of Cologne, partial judgment of July 17, 2020, case number 25 O 212/19; Regional Court of Frankfurt/Main, judgment of July 3, 2020, case number 2-24 O 100/19, and judgment of November 25, 2021, case number 2-03 O 527/19; District Court of Bühl, judgment of November 11, 2019, case number 2 C 106/19). And also the subsequently revised choice of law clause of Ryanair is now declared ineffective by almost all German district courts and various regional courts (such as the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main with judgment of January 19, 2023, 2-24 S 74/22; Regional Court of Nuremberg with decision of October 5, 2022, 5 S 2442/22; Regional Court of Hamburg with decision of July 25, 2022, 320 S 8/22; Regional Court of Memmingen with decision of November 23, 2022, 14 S 1435/22; and the Regional Court of Bad Kreuznach with decision of November 9, 2022, 1 S 58/22).
Jurisdiction clause: In principle, only Irish courts are allowed to hear claims against Ryanair. According to the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of May 12, 2020, file number X ZR 10/19, and the judgment of the European Court of Justice of November 18, 2020, file number C-519/19, however, courts at the place of departure and destination airport are competent to hear lawsuits for reimbursement claims.
Exclusion of reimbursement for fees (Article 4.2.1 paragraph 2 of the T&Cs). However, according to judicial decisions, reimbursement for both taxes and fees is provided (see, for example, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, ruling of July 23, 2020, case number 16 U 99/20; District Court of Frankfurt, ruling of November 25, 2021, case number 30 C 2274/21 (25)).
Administrative fee: A fee of €20 per person and flight is charged for processing a reimbursement request (Article 4.2.1 paragraph 3 sentence 2 of the T&Cs). However, such high processing fees cannot be effectively agreed upon in the T&Cs (see, for example, the Kammergericht, ruling of August 12, 2014, case number 5 U 2/12; BGH, ruling of April 21, 2016, case number I ZR 220/14).
Time limit and formal requirements: Reimbursement claims can only be made within one month of the flight date and only in writing, that is, by letter with your signature (cf. Section 126 of the German Civil Code (BGB)). However, such a regulation is imcompatible with Section 309 No. 13 BGB and thus void under German law (see also the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, ruling of January 29, 2021, case number I-9 U 184/20).
However, Ryanair regularly changes its T&Cs. Then the judicial decisions are again required to subject the current version to a content review and to evaluate clause by clause whether they are invalid again. Lawyers who do not regularly conduct such legal disputes may have difficulty keeping track of this. This directly affects the chances of success in court. Because Ryanair’s lawyers typically respond to a lawsuit with powerful 20-page briefs full of objections. These can be countered with persistent counterarguments. This is shown by the many cited court decisions against the airline. However, without the necessary effort, it is not always possible to convince the responsible judge, in our experience.
Those who have legal protection insurance can at least cover their legal costs. However, almost all policies feature a self-participation clause requiring the insured to pay for the first few hundred euros worth of legal fees by themselves. Even those with legal protection insurance would therefore bear at least part of the legal cost risk. More specifically, they would also have to pay for the lawyer’s and court costs in case of losing the case, up to a certain amount.
With both of the above options, in addition to the cost risk, there remains uncertainty until legal proceedings are completed as to whether and when a passenger will ultimately receive the refund they are entitled to.
A convenient, secure and efficient alternative to getting money back for a cancelled flight is provided by us, Refund Pilot. We buy up claims of affected passengers in exchange for a reasonable instant refund of the ticket price and enforce them at our own cost. For each refund claim, we make direct payments to travelers of 80-83% of the amount passengers are entitled to as Ryanair customers. There are no hidden costs or additional fees. We regularly receive top ratings compared with other passenger rights websites due to our reasonable service rates. Feedback from our customers on Trustpilot confirms this positive assessment.
Thus, we are one of the few online providers in the market that provides direct ticket refunds when a traveler cancels their flight themselves. Other known competitors such as Flightright and Airhelp only help with ticket refunds if the airline cancels the flight. Likewise, Rightnow, the largest rivaling provider of instant reimbursements of taxes and fees, suspended this service in 2022. Compared to other passenger rights websites with a similar service like ours, we charge the lowest service fee and pay the highest payout amounts according to test reports.
Our instant refunds save users of our service from an disproportionate cost risk of enforcement and personal time and effort. Additional costs such as court fees and attorney’s fees are eliminated. Instead, the canceling Ryanair customer immediately receives their pro-rated refund minus a manageable and clearly defined commission of 17-20% including VAT, if the online examination of his case is positive. The payout is credited to the affected person’s bank account usually within 1-3 days after the application.
In all this, users of our refund service do not risk any disadvantage from the airline. To our knowledge, Ryanair does not maintain a “blacklist” of Refund Pilot customers. We also do not know of any case where Ryanair has made it difficult for a user to board a flight. This is despite our intense legal disputes with the airline since 2017. Even the employees of Refund Pilot continue to travel undisturbed and without problems on flights of the airline.
Please note that our service for direct refunds is currently only available for air travelers with a usual residence in Germany and Austria. The reason for this is that there is currently no certainty whether a legal claim for a refund of taxes and fees also arises from other legal systems apart from the German and Austrian ones. At the same time, for air travelers who live neither in Germany nor Austria, depending on the flight route, either the law of their country of residence applies or the national law applicable at the headquarters of the airline (in the case of Ryanair, for example, Irish law). This is based on Article 5 Paragraph 2 of the European Rome I Regulation. We regret this and ask for your understanding that we cannot yet offer direct refunds for flight cancellations to customers with a residential address outside of Germany and Austria.
However, we have recently launched various pilot lawsuits to determine whether a comparable claim for a refund of air travelers residing outside of Germany and Austria may also be successfully enforced. If this can be established in pioneering court proceedings, we will continuously expand our refund service for travelers with a usual place of residence abroad.
In this section, we will give you an example of how much the payment of the refundable portions would be in the different variants for enforcing the claim for a refund. This should give you a practical idea of how much of your ticket price you can claim back when canceling typical Ryanair flights. Another example of the alternatives when claiming ticket refunds in video format can be found under the link. If you want to check the refund amount for another flight connection, our compensation calculator will help you for free and without obligation.
We will consider as an example the Ryanair flight from Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) to London Stansted (STN) on May 14, 2022, as well as the return flight on May 21, 2022. The total price of the flight tickets for two passengers in the regular fare was, in our test booking, € 180.66 (€ 90.33 per person).
You don’t take your flight with Ryanair and submit a request for a refund of the amount included in the ticket price for government taxes on Ryanair’s website:
Unfortunately, Ryanair’s processing fee for your request is €20 per person and flight, so in this case, €80 for 2 passengers with 1 round trip each. These processing fees are almost always higher than the taxes that are incurred on a flight route – as is the case in this example. Here, the refundable €12.77 air traffic tax per passenger for the outbound flight and the £13 Air Passenger Duty per passenger for the return flight are well below the processing fee of €20 per person and flight set by Ryanair.
Therefore, you will not receive any refund from the airline:
= €0 refund of the ticket price.
The second variant is to enforce the claim via Refund Pilot. If you choose against a direct settlement with the airline or Ryanair denies you a refund, you have the option to request a direct refund from Refund Pilot for your refund of taxes and fees instead. To determine the refund amount, Refund Pilot’s compensation calculator automatically adds up not only all taxes but also all refundable fees after entering the flight data. This step is free and non-binding. In the example case, the following taxes and fees apply per passenger:
€12.77 Air Traffic Tax (Germany) according to the Air Traffic Tax Reduction Ordinance 2022
€7.13 Airport fee for handling at Berlin Brandenburg Airport according to the Fee Regulation 2022
€9.86 Fees for security control at Berlin Brandenburg Airport
€0.89 PRM surcharge (Berlin Brandenburg Airport) according to the Fee Regulation 2022
€0.50 Flight noise fee (Berlin Brandenburg Airport) according to the Fee Regulation 2022
£13 Air Passenger Duty / ~€14.30 Air traffic tax (United Kingdom)
£12.52 / ~€13.77 Airport fee for handling at London Stansted Airport according to the Fee Regulation 2021/2022
£0.48 / ~€0,53 PRM-Surcharge (London Stansted Airport) according to the Tariff Regulation 2021/2022
When you add up the individual values, this results in a refundable amount of €59.75 per passenger. In the example case, flights for two passengers are canceled, so the refundable taxes and fees total twice as much, that is, €119.50. Refund Pilot deducts a commission of 20% including VAT, that is, an amount of €23.90. In addition, Refund Pilot does not charge any hidden additional fees. There are no further deductions. The canceling Ryanair passenger will ultimately receive a refund of
€95.60 immediately and without risk.
This refund is clearly more worthwhile than being satisfied with the refund options that Ryanair voluntarily offers.
Incidentally, if the person affected in the example case would decide to enforce his claim himself, he could potentially collect the entire refundable amount of €119.75 without deductions. However, he would have to enforce the claim on his own against the airline, bear the risk of the lawsuit and have the expense of a multi-month legal dispute, which is usually settled in court. Whether the chance of an additional €24.15 is worth it, everyone has to decide for themselves.
Through the following form, you can generate a letter free of charge and without obligation to cancel Ryanair flights and to request the airline to pay the ticket refund to you. After filling it out, you will receive an email with the airline’s contact details and explanations on how to use the template. Based on your inputs below in the online form, we automatically customize the template for your case. You will then receive an individualized draft for the letter to the airline via email. If you prefer to fill out the template independently, you can also leave the input fields blank. In that case, we will send you an empty template.
Additionally, we offer you a tip for filling out the form if you are unsure about the amount of refundable taxes and fees for your canceled flight. In such cases, their amount can be determined for free using our Compensation Calculator.
This guide on canceling Ryanair flights was originally written in German by Laura Held. The English translation was published first on January 15, 2022. The article was last updated on January 14, 2024. The author, Laura Held, studied business administration in Hamburg, earned her master’s degree in 2020, and has been part of Refund Pilot’s team since March 2021. You can find more information about her CV in her LinkedIn profile. She occasionally supports the online editorial team of our passenger rights website with articles on travel-related topics.