Monday, 9 February 2009

The Ryanair Conundrum

If I was compiling a list of the most complex puzzles in the world I suppose I would have to start with Fermat’s last theorem, which according to the Guinness Book of Records was the most complicated mathematical equation ever and took over three hundred years to solve (not by the same man, obviously), then I would include the rules of Cricket (especially if I was French), successfully completing a Rubik’s cube, and then understanding the mind of a woman. But I have now discovered something far more complicated than any of these and it is the Ryanair lowest fare price guarantee. This is an offer with a labyrinth of conditions that make cracking the enigma code seem like a simple afternoon’s work.

This is how it is explained on their website:

This offer is valid only for return flight bookings made on between Wednesday 26th March 2008 and Saturday 28th March 2009 inclusive.

Should a passenger find a cheaper return fare on a qualifying route with another airline than the quoted Ryanair fare for that itinerary, then Ryanair will pay "double the difference*" between the air fare paid to Ryanair and the lower fare quoted on another carrier.

The return fare quoted will include all mandatory taxes, fees and charges, but will exclude credit/debit card fees, baggage fees, web check-in/priority boarding fees or any other optional fees.

In order to qualify for the "double the difference*" guarantee, a passenger must book a return flight on and then submit the claim using the attached form (English only) to within 1 hour of making the booking.

Should a claimant for any reason fail to submit the claim form within 1 hour of making the booking on, then that claim will be deemed as late and will be disregarded for the purposes of this promotion.

Claims will only be accepted where both the departure times of the competitor airline flights are within 1 hour of the original booked Ryanair flight departure times.

A screen print of the competitor's offered fare (including all mandatory taxes, fees and charges) must be emailed with the claim form. Ryanair will then verify the "competitor fare" within 1 hour of receipt (only during office hours: 9am-5pm Monday to Friday). If the 'competitor fare' cannot be verified on the internet then the claim will be invalid.

Claims can only be made for flights where there this is a direct city pair comparison. This includes only airports that have the same city designation as defined by IATA (International Air Transport Association). For example, claims will be accepted from competitor flights operating to/from the five IATA designated London Airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City) and the designated airports in Glasgow, which are Glasgow International and Glasgow Prestwick. Claims will not be accepted where flights are departing to/from city airports that are not IATA designated e.g. Girona and Barcelona's El Prat Airport.

Where Ryanair have more than two flights between a city pair (e.g. Dublin to London Stansted; Dublin to London Gatwick) and price guarantee claim will need to be made versus the cheapest available Ryanair fare on offer on the applicable routes.

Once the claim has been verified by Ryanair staff, the claimant will be notified by email within 24 hours (Monday to Friday) of the acceptance or rejection of their claim. In the case of successful claims, the relevant "double the difference*" sum will be processed within 5 working days to the credit/debit card account provided at the time of booking. Airline employees and their families are excluded from claiming under Ryanair's lowest fare guarantee.
Ryanair's decision in relation to all claims will be final.

Ryanair reserves the right to amend or discontinue this promotion at any time by giving 24 hour notice to that effect, at its sole discretion.

*In the case of successful claims, Ryanair will pay the passenger double the difference between any competitor's lower return fare and Ryanair's quoted return fare for the same itinerary (see above). Each claim will be subject to a maximum cap of €100 (GBP 70) or local currency equivalent per return passenger journey. Therefore where the difference between Ryanair's return fare and the cheaper competitor fare exceeds €50 (GBP 35) or local currency equivalent, the maximum amount payable by Ryanair in such cases will be capped at €100 (GBP 70) or local currency equivalent.

I especially like the teasing reference to a ‘successful claim’ because negotiating thiis maze of rules would be like eating a bowl of spaghetti in a blindfold and I would be intrigued to know if anyone has ever managed to get through and cut Michael O'leary's Gordion Knot?

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