On this page, Ryanair customers will find everything they need to know about flight cancellations and refunds that can be requested for every unused ticket. We provide clear explanations for each of the following points:
The sections for each question also cover the special conditions that apply to Ryanair flights booked during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022.
In addition, we have created a checklist that guides you step by step through the process of canceling and obtaining a partial refund of the booking price. Further questions are answered in the FAQ at the end of the article.
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, it is enough to simply not show up for a Ryanair flight. Notifying the airline is not required. According to Ryanair’s website, customers do not need to inform them of the cancellation prior to departure. Incidentally, if you do not show up for a flight, reservations for return flights and other booked connections with Ryanair remain valid.
The reason for this convenient cancelation process is that Ryanair, according to its own statement, does not pay out a refund of the booking price voluntarily anyway. Even during the Corona pandemic, there were no special rules in this regard. The only concession in this regard was that until September 2022 Ryanair at least offered more flexible rebooking options. However, these special conditions have since expired, too.
Contrary to Ryanair’s claims, travelers who cancel on their own have a statutory right to a refund of the taxes and fees included in the flight price under most European jurisdictions (for instance, in Germany, Austria and even Ireland). These amount to, for example, more than €30 per person for flights from Germany or the UK. However, Ryanair only owes these taxes and fees to financial authorities and airports for passengers who actually fly. If a customer cancels his flight, the airline saves these items as an unjustified enrichment and therefore has to reimburse them.
You can find the taxes and fees included in your ticket price, sometimes listed as individual items, in the booking confirmation or ticket invoice of your flight connection. However, direct bookings with Ryanair often lack this information. Even if your booking confirmation does not show these figures, you can use the free online calculator on Refund Pilot’s website to automatically determine the exact amount of refundable costs for your individual flight. Using the calculator is non-binding and does not obligate you to request Refund Pilot’s service.
Ryanair only voluntarily offers to refund the government taxes of the departure country of a canceled flight upon request. Ryanair declares the remaining fare including all other surcharges and fees as non-refundable. Additionally, the airline charges a processing fee of €20 per flight and passenger for the refund process. If the amount to be refunded is lower than the processing fee, no refund is paid out.
Our passenger rights website provides a secure alternative, allowing travelers to quickly and easily get the refund they are entitled to. Refund Pilot makes direct payments on ticket prices up to the amount of taxes and fees saved upon cancellation minus a moderate service rate of 17-20% (including VAT). To request our direct refund of 80-83% of the amount you are entitled to, you can use our compensation calculator free of charge.
The individual sections of this article provide more information on the steps for flight cancellation and refund. In order for our compensation calculator to check the refundable amount in your specific case free of charge, you can also enter the number and date of a canceled flight below:
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.
Ryanair does not provide any special ways to inform the company about canceling tickets. In contrast, there is no obligation to do so according to the terms and conditions and the information on the airline’s website, if you do not want to take a flight. A Ryanair customer does not have to explicitly cancel their trip – neither through the online user account nor by email or phone. Written messages to the airline or calls for this purpose are even unwanted. To cancel, it is enough to simply not take a Ryanair flight. So, don’t check in at all and don’t show up at the gate at flight time. With this, you have already informed Ryanair sufficiently about your cancellation.
There is also no need for explicit cancellation to retain the claim to a refund of the ticket price, which every Ryanair customer from Germany is entitled to. You are entitled to a pro rata refund of the flight price in every booking class as soon as you do not fly. The next section explains in more detail why and in what amount you are always entitled to a pro rata refund of the flight price by law. However, please note: Ryanair does not automatically refund the flight price. You must request the refund independently (more on this in section 2).
Return flights that were booked together with an outbound Ryanair flight remain unaffected by the cancellation of the outbound flight. You can take them as normal without having to separately inform the airline if you do not take the outbound flight. Instead, you only need to check in separately for the return flight and arrive at the departure gate on time. Otherwise, no additional arrangements are required if you do not participate in another flight of the same booking.
Ryanair advises customers to refrain from making calls for changes to an existing booking. Ryanair’s hotline is not intended for rebooking or canceling a flight. Instead, it is only available for the needs of people who need assistance traveling with Ryanair. Besides, each call to the phone number listed on Ryanair’s contact page costs €0.20 from a landline and €0.60 from a mobile network. Phone flat rates may also not cover the costs of such a call.
Special conditions may apply if you booked your ticket through a third party (e.g. a travel agency or a booking portal). In this case, this booking point is also the right contact for the cancellation. If you do not notify the third party about the cancellation, costs or problems with the return flight may occur. The way in which a cancellation is possible depends on the provider with whom the booking was made. Information on cancellation rules is regularly available on the respective website of the booking portal. Cancellations can usually be made with a few clicks online. The appropriate link is often found in the original e-mail with the booking confirmation.
With common intermediaries such as booking.com and opodo, there are no penalty fees, as far as we know, if customers do not inform them that they will not take a Ryanair flight booked through them. In such cases, it is sufficient to follow Ryanair’s guidelines and not check in and not appear for boarding for the cancellation.
Apart from the rules for ticket refunds, Ryanair’s cancellation conditions are relatively simple. There is no specific deadline or form that must be followed for canceling a flight. You also do not have to pay any cancellation fees if you do not fly.
At the same time, Ryanair is only limited in its willingness to refund the already paid flight price on its own. The airline still has to refund a certain part of the ticket price in any case. Often it is over 30 euros per flight route and person. This also applies to cheap tickets of the “Value” and “Regular” tariffs. The exact refundable amount depends on the specific booking. In a section below, we will focus more closely on the question of how much of the booking price can be claimed back for canceled Ryanair flights.
To make your claim for a ticket refund, you must separately request it from Ryanair – for example by email.
Alternatively, you can also use Refund Pilot’s service. You will receive an immediate direct payment of 80-83% of the flight price refund that you are entitled to after commissioning. In return, we will take care of the dispute with the airline without any effort and without any risk of costs for you.
You can find more information on claiming a ticket refund in the linked section of the article below.
If a traveler wants to simply reschedule their flight and plans to make it up in the near future, rebooking is a possible alternative to not taking the flight and subsequently getting a partial refund. Flight date, time, and route of any flight with Ryanair can be changed up to 2.5 hours before flight departure – provided the passenger has not checked in yet.
The booking can be easily changed in advance of the trip on one of the following three ways:
1. Online in MyRyanair account. Changes can be made online in the MyRyanair user account. This can be accessed through the “Log in” button on the menu bar on Ryanair’s website.
2. Online without login to customer account. To do this, click on the “My Bookings” button on the Ryanair website and then enter your booking number and the email address you provided when booking. The booking number is a six-digit code that is assigned to each booking individually. It is for example “BAF6GB” and should not be confused with the flight number, which consists of the IATA code of the airline Ryanair (“FR”) and a two- to four-digit number. You can find your booking number in your booking confirmation, which you receive by email after the booking process. It is explicitly referred to as such.
3. In the MyRyanair app. If you have set up the MyRyanair app on your smartphone and linked it to your MyRyanair account, you can access your bookings directly there. To do this, the user selects the respective booking under “My trips” to manage it using the appropriate buttons.
After you have accessed your booking, it is possible to make changes under the appropriate point on the user interface.
Within the first 24 hours after booking, minor changes can be corrected in this way for free. On this path, the flight time can be adjusted on the one hand and the flight direction on the other. Therefore, departure and destination airports can be exchanged. However, changing to a different destination is no longer allowed for free shortly after the booking is completed. 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 after booking, Ryanair only allows changes to the flight dates for a fee. The rebooking costs for Ryanair generally amount to 45€ per passenger and flight route. If the rebooking is done by phone, the fee is even 60€ per passenger and route. Therefore, rebooking with Ryanair is often at least as expensive as booking a new flight. Therefore, it is worth checking if you can change the booking more cheaply by booking new flights at the desired time, canceling the original booking, and then claiming the refundable portion of the ticket price.
Depending on the selected booking fare, there is a slight exception to this: If you book a flight in the “Flexi Plus” fare, you will not be charged any fees if you rebook a flight connection on the day before or the day after the originally booked flight date (point 5.4 of Ryanair’s terms and conditions). Otherwise, the usual rebooking costs apply if the booking is to be changed to a connection that takes place two days before or after the originally selected flight date.
In addition, deviations from the general rules for rebooking are only possible as exceptions as part of special promotions. We only know one example of this. As a result of the corona pandemic, Ryanair made it possible to change to a different flight free of charge before September 30, 2022 for bookings made before January 31, 2022 (according to the special terms and conditions “No change fee” from Ryanair). These concessions have now expired.
Currently, Ryanair does not offer any comparable special conditions (as of January 12, 2023). Even if someone has to cancel their flight due to COVID-19 or other illnesses, they are only entitled to the statutory right to a refund of taxes and fees (more on this in the next section). Beyond that, there are no rights to discounted rebooking or refund for those affected. This is also the case if the traveler is not allowed to take the flight due to legal quarantine obligations, even if they wanted to.
In addition, for all booking changes: if the new flight is more expensive, the passenger must pay the difference from the previous booking price. This surcharge is in addition to the rebooking fees. If the flight is cheaper, there is no credit for the excess amount paid. In particular, there is no offsetting with the rebooking costs.
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 take a flight and do not appear at the gate, according to Ryanair’s terms and conditions, you are entitled to a refund of the air traffic taxes included in the flight price. Depending on the country of departure of the connection, these flight ancillary costs vary in their amount. For example, €12.73 per person and flight are currently payable for all flights departing from Germany within the EU. In 2021, the value was slightly higher at €12.88 per head. The amount is determined by § 1 of the Air Traffic Tax Reduction Ordinance, which is adjusted annually. Higher tax rates apply to longer flight routes. This mainly applies to flights to Israel and Egypt with Ryanair. The air traffic tax included in the ticket price for them is €32.25 per passenger since 1.1.2023.
The application required for the refund can be submitted online via the Ryanair website. However, the relevant page is hard to find. We therefore link to the application form here. After providing information on the flight, circumstances and contact details of the applicant, the application is processed by the airline.
However, be careful: Ryanair charges an administrative fee of €20€ per person and flight for processing the application for a refund of the government air traffic tax. This is what Article 4.2.1 of the T&C states (for the effectiveness of this clause below). If the expected refund amount (as is almost always the case) is below this fee, the airline voluntarily does not make any refunds. All flights within the EU fall into this category.
What is more: Ryanair does not refund any additional passenger-related flight costs such as airport fees and fuel surcharges, which were allegedly not included in the flight price, in the event of a cancellation by the airline.
Conclusion: Ryanair does not refund anything voluntarily in case of flight cancellation by a customer and, if exceptionally, it does, it is significantly less than the total amount of taxes and fees (even though it legally belongs to the passengers; more on that in a moment under subsection 2.).
Aside from a few exceptions, Ryanair only offers at most a refund of the government air traffic tax to canceling travelers. And even the payment of this small amount is frequently omitted because Ryanair’s processing fees exceed the amount that the airline would be willing to voluntarily repay. But does the passenger really have to be satisfied with this? Or can they potentially make additional claims?
To determine any additional claims that a Ryanair customer may have in the event of cancellation, it is first important to know where such claims come from.
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 €16, in Frankfurt over €19 and in Munich even €20.84 (as of 12.01.2023). 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 is trying to limit the aforementioned statutory reimbursement claims through various terms and conditions. Nevertheless, several German courts have already determined that Ryanair’s contractual limitations on the reimbursement of taxes and fees for cancellations in the company’s terms and conditions are invalid (see for example, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, decision of January 29, 2021, case number 9 U 184/20; the Regional Court of Cologne, judgment of July 17, 2020, case number 25 O 212/19; the District Court of Erding, judgment of June 24, 2020, case number 9 C 6697/19; the Regional Court of Baden-Baden, partial judgment of October 27, 2019, case number 2 O 287/19).
The judges also consider the high processing fees of €20 per person and flight to be illegitimate as it does not pass the fairness test under section 307 of the German Civil Code (BGB) as well as sections 129, 130 of the Irish Consumer Rights Act 2022. Especially in conjunction with the refusal to reimburse more than the air traffic tax, these fees regularly lead to Ryanair’s terms and conditions effectively excluding a refund. In contrast, the courts confirm that customers are entitled to the legal minimum claim for reimbursement of unused taxes and fees despite this. Airlines like Ryanair seem to expect that passengers will accept the conditions set by the airline in ignorance of their rights and unnecessarily waive reimbursements.
However, Ryanair has modified its terms and conditions on September 6, 2021. Later bookings fall under the newer terms and conditions. These include a revised choice of law clause. With this, the airline tries to subject air transportation contracts with Ryanair to Irish law, under which reimbursement claims can be more easily excluded than under German law. Unlike the old choice of law clause, the new one is currently being judicially reviewed. However, various judgments have already been issued that confirm the invalidity of the new regulations, among others 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 October 12, 2023).
We expect further decisions from other courts in the winter/spring of 2023. The courts at the remaining airport locations are likely to reach the same conclusion that Ryanair’s new choice of law clause does not meet the requirements of the European Clause Directive. Based on the current decisions, we expect that all competent courts throughout Germany will declare Ryanair’s new choice of law clause to be invalid in the same way.
However, until a judicial confirmation, there is no certainty that the courts at the other airports served by Ryanair will also deny that legal claims for reimbursement for newer bookings with Ryanair flights may be contractually excluded. In this context, particularly outstanding are the judgements of the district courts of Leipzig and Dresden, which are to decide on claims for reimbursement for cancelled Ryanair flights from and to the airports of Leipzig (LEJ) and Dresden (DRS).
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 online form from Ryanair does not help, as it is only intended for the refund of government taxes minus processing fees. As described above, this is usually not interesting because you can only claim a small part of your claim, which is usually completely eaten up by the processing fee.
However, it is possible to request a refund of all taxes and fees in the ticket price by sending an email to the airline.
Even with a professional written request, however, difficulties arise frequently. This is because Ryanair clearly states in clause 4.2 of their T&Cs that, except in special cases, taxes and fees are only refunded in a very limited amount and only for a processing fee. A simple request for a refund from the airline is therefore usually not enough.
Nevertheless, each passenger 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 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 letter of demand to the airline first. Otherwise, it may happen that the person affected 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 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: Irish law, which does not provide for a refund claim according to Ryanair, should apply (Article 2.4.1 of the T&C’s). This regulation is at least invalid in the old version according to, among others, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, decision of January 29, 2021, file number I-9 U 184/20; Regional Court of Cologne, partial judgment of July 17, 2020, file number 25 O 212/19, Regional Court of Frankfurt/Main, judgment of July 3, 2020, file number 2-24 O 100/19, as well as judgment of November 25, 2021, file number 2-03 O 527/19; District Court of Bühl, judgment of November 11, 2019, file number 2 C 106/19). Also, the new jurisdiction clause of Ryanair, effective since September 6, 2021, is considered invalid by most German district courts.
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.
Please note that our service is currently temporarily limited for new bookings with departure and destination airports in Leipzig and Dresden from the time after Ryanair’s T&C amendment. Because the airline has redefined its clauses for the exclusion of the right of reimbursement in autumn 2021, the examination of them by the courts responsible for the aforementioned two airport locations is still pending. The courts responsible in NRW, Bavaria, Hamburg, Bremen, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Brandenburg have already issued judgments and decided that Ryanair’s new T&C do not effectively restrict claims for reimbursement by German air travelers. Therefore, we expect that the remaining German courts will also soon declare the new clauses, as well as the airline’s previous contractual regulations, void.
However, until clarification (expected in spring 2023), we can no longer offer payments for newer bookings made with Ryanair since winter 2021/2022, if the departure or destination airport of your journey lies in Saxony. If your flight starts or lands in North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg, Hesse, Bavaria, Baden or Rhineland-Palatinate, direct refunds are once again available without any restrictions.
The waiting time for the reimbursement of canceled Ryanair flights that start and land elsewhere has the following reason: It helps to gain the necessary certainty that claims for reimbursement can also be enforced for more recent bookings of Ryanair flights. This way, we don’t have to impose excessive risk allowances on our customers, but can instead continue to pay out as high reimbursement amounts as possible and only retain low processing fees after a short interruption.
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. 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.
With the following form, you can generate a free and non-binding claim letter to ask Ryanair to pay you the ticket refund. After filling out the form, you will receive an email with instructions on how to use the sample and the airline’s contact information.
If you are unsure of how much refundable taxes and fees are for your canceled flight, you can find out for free using our compensation calculator.
Coming soon in English.
This guide on canceling Ryanair flights was originally written in German by Laura Held. The English translation was published on January 15, 2022. The article was last updated on January 28, 2023. 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.