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Ryanair flights: Martin Lewis attacks airline for ‘refusing’ to refund passengers | Travel News | Travel

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Ryanair has been called on to refund passengers affected by a name-change penalty in a letter from money saving expert Martin Lewis to Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair. Lewis has presented the Chief Executives of Ryanair and its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), with a dossier of over 160 Ryanair passengers hit by the name-change ‘glitch,’ costing many customers £115 each to fix. MoneySavingExpert.com first reported the issue in December 2018 and has since received complaints from angry customers travelling with partners or friends with different surnames. They said they have been penalised after their companions’ surnames were automatically changed even though the correct details were entered at the time of booking.

If they didn’t spot the error within Ryanair’s 24-hour grace period, they were slapped with a £115 charge to change it in order to travel.

According to Lewis, Ryanair “has insisted that there isn’t a problem despite compelling evidence, and has said it won’t refund customers for what appears to be its own mistake.”

In the letter itself, Lewis wrote: “The engagement and response we’ve had from Ryanair has been flaccid; there seems to be a blasé attitude to these customers who feel hard done by.”

He added: “The behaviour of your firm, in refusing to refund customers who have been affected, yet with them having no choice but to pay up if they want to travel, does not seem to be the behaviour of a ‘nice airline’.

“I am sure you will be shocked to hear this is happening- and will want to rectify it – rather than waiting for regulatory engagement.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for further comment on the situation.

Ryanair passengers have recently dubbed the budget airline the worst in the UK in a scathing Which? survey

It marks the sixth consecutive year the firm has been granted the derogatory title by the consumer champion watchdog.

Passenger gripes ranged from seat comfort, food and drink options and boarding process, all of which received the lowest possible ratings.

The totals showed a dismal customer service score of 40 per cent – with many vehemently claiming they will not fly in the bright blue and white planes again.

More than 70 per cent of those grilled were adamant they would not plump for the airline, with fellow budget options easyJet and Jet2 getting the nod.

The low-cost airline has recently – and quietly – increased their hand luggage charges just two months after strict new rules were introduced in November. 

Previously, passengers who wanted to bring more luggage had to pay £6 extra to benefit from priority boarding, which they could bring both a small bag and a larger bag for the overhead locker.

Ryanair travellers could also pay to take a suitcase on board that measured no more than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. It couldn’t more than 10kg and would be left at the airport drop desk. Previously this check-in bag cost £8 during booking or £10 after booking.

However, passengers booking now will find, after going through the flight selection process, that priority boarding has increased by £2 to £8.

Meanwhile, the extra 10kg suitcase will now cost £10 during booking.

These new sums can only be seen once flights have been selected. Ryanair’s cabin bag policy page continues to show the prices of ‘From £6’ for priority and ‘From £8’ for the 10kg bag.

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Travel & Escape

Christmas travel rules explained: From advance train tickets to travelling abroad from Tier 3 airports

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Q: Normally trains would be packed over the busy Christmas period. Do you have to get advance train tickets to ensure you have a seat? And what happens if a train is cancelled?

A: Sir Peter Hendy has been tasked with overseeing travel during the Christmas period by the Department for Transport. By analysing bookings and searches, the Chairman of Network Rail is looking at whether the current, reduced, infrastructure is prepared for a surge in passenger numbers with reduced capacity to ensure social distancing. The DfT is advising passengers to buy advance tickets to ensure they have a seat, and some operators such as LNER, are making them mandatory. 

On GWR services between London and the West, not all standard services will be reservable, but for those that are, GWR says “we’ll automatically allocate you a space if one is available or ask you to try another service if not. We always leave space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.” 

Avanti West Coast is advising passengers to make advance reservations and has also relaxed its Christmas peak so that demand is spread over the period. It will be operating trains at 40-45 per cent capacity. 

Disruption is guaranteed on some parts of the network, with no trains operating from London Kings Cross between 25-30 December. LNER says: “Please do not travel to London on these dates. Trains either side of these dates will likely be busy.” It also advises against travelling on Christmas Eve and between 31 December and 3 January. 

GWR’s Night Riviera service between London Paddington and Penzance will pause between 24 December and 2 January. Engineering work is scheduled to take place on Northern routes either side of Christmas, too. 

If unforeseen cancellations arise, the Rail Delivery Group is offering reassurance that space is left on each service to allow for emergencies and cancellations. Agreements can be put in place with other operators, depending on the disruption, such as cross-acceptance of tickets. A spokesperson told i:  “contingency plans are in place and they will be very strong.” For example, if the last train of the day is cancelled, onward transport by other means could be arranged.

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Delta launching contact tracing program for international travel

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Delta announced Tuesday it will debut a new contact tracing program for international travelers returning to the United States.

The company said the program is in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program, slated to start December 15, will ask customers traveling to the U.S. from an “international location to voluntarily provide five pieces of data to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts,” including:

  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Address in the U.S.
  • Primary phone
  • Secondary phone

Delta said that under the new process, they will work with the CDC to streamline contact-tracing efforts by “directly and securely transmitting the five requested customer data points to the CDC via U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” Delta said this move will give the CDC access to the data fast, decreasing the time it takes to notify impacted customers. According to Delta, “by connecting with customers more quickly and providing public health follow-up, health authorities can help reduce instances of potential exposure and slow the spread of the virus.”

“Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said in a statement. “We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike.”

Delta recently announced a COVID-19 testing program that allows a quarantine-free entry into Italy for the first time. The airline also remains the only airline blocking middle seats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Delta unveils ‘quarantine-free, COVID-free’ plan to resume international travel

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International flights are currently limited at Orlando International Airport because of travel restrictions, but there is some hope on the horizon.

This week, Delta announced what it’s calling a “quarantine-free, COVID-free” plan to get people from Atlanta to Rome.

U.S. citizens who are permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons like work, health and education can take part in the innovative and experimental flight program.

Delta stated passengers will need to have a negative test result 72 hours before departure, then they will need to test negative with a rapid test at the Atlanta International Airport before takeoff, upon arriving in Rome and before returning to the U.S.

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Delta said in a prepared statement.

The program begins Dec. 19.

Industry experts said they’re really hoping Delta’s new plan becomes some sort of a role model, saying it could be the key to safely restarting international travel.

“As the tourism sector tries to recover, to have that additional influx of tourists from outside United States would be a welcome occurrence,” said Dr. Sean Snaith with the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting.

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