SMART CONSUMER: Can I save anything on my unused air ticket?
Q: Andrew contacted Smart Consumer to ask the following in relation to his unused Ryanair ticket:
"I would like to know if I am entitled to anything back on a plane ticket I did not use, like tax or baggage amount, passenger web check-in, passenger fee or admin fee?"
A: Andrew is entitled to something back, but it's not as simple as you might think.
Ryanair tickets are non-refundable, so firstly, in relation to any optional charges -- including the baggage and payment administration fees -- you are not entitled to a refund of those, or indeed of the fare itself.
However, you should be refunded any taxes and charges that are not collected or passed on in the event you can't fly. These include government taxes and airport charges.
Ryanair refunds government taxes only and charge a €20 administration fee for doing so. You have to apply in writing within a month, and in all likelihood after paying the administration fee there will be little or nothing left to refund to you.
Aer Lingus passengers who can't fly can apply for a refund of both taxes and charges by applying in writing within 30 days. Their administration fee is €20 each way.
The charging of a hefty administration fee to receive a refund of taxes and charges is a contentious one.
The airlines don't have to pass on the money you have paid if you don't fly, so they get to keep it. The high administration charge and the time limits set can act as a deterrent to passengers.
Irish website airtaxrefund.com, which launched last year, state they aim to "curb the outrageous practices of the airlines in making it difficult and, in some cases, impossible for passengers to collect their taxes, fees and charges."
Specifically, they are campaigning for airlines to drop the administration fee, drop the 30-day limit on refunds and extend refunds to include all taxes, fees and charges.
They also seek refunds on behalf of passengers and currently charge 20pc of retrieved taxes, fees and charges for their service.
So if Andrew doesn't have any luck, he can contact them.