Brits who book flights from abroad to the UK are at risk of paying extra when they fly with Ryanair.
Like most airlines, Ryanair automatically shows the price of your ticket in the currency of your departure airport. This means that flight fares from countries that use the euro are shown in euros.
But what most other airlines don’t do is subsequently and automatically switch that price into pounds at the point of payment for UK customers, and certainly not at the terrible exchange rate Ryanair inflicts on its customers.
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The Ryanair exchange rate
On a recent booking we found two tickets from Alicante to Bristol at €225. Yet, at the point of payment, Ryanair wanted to charge us £214. That’s a conversion rate of 95p to the euro. Elsewhere, Visa was charging 88p. Only after clicking ‘more information’ did we find the option to opt out of paying in pounds and revert to euros. Even then Ryanair went on to warn that opting out could end up costing ‘significantly more’. In fact, after opting out, we were charged £198 – a saving of £16 on Ryanair’s rate.
We went on to check 10 more Ryanair flights – all 10 offered a worse rate than Visa.
Ryanair denied that this is sharp practice, telling us it ‘complies with EU and national laws on consumer protection’. We have passed our findings to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) because we are concerned that the manner in which Ryanair presents the rate to customers (when warning that opting out could end up costing ‘significantly more’) could be misleading and in breach of consumer protection legislation. Neither BA, Easyjet or Jet2 encourage customers to choose an almost certainly worse rate in this way.
If you have to pay in euros or any other currency when booking a flight back to the UK, it’s always better to let your bank or credit card provider, not your airline – and certainly not Ryanair – make the conversion.