The Sneakiest Ryanair Fee,

published at 9:07am on 07/17/12

I recently had the misfortune of booking a Ryanair flight and discovered a secret little $20 fee hidden behind a checkbox.

First of all, if you’ve never had the pleasure of purchasing a ticket from Ryanair, especially out of London, I would highly recommend avoiding it at all costs. The problem with flying out of London is that it requires at least three different searches (for the three regional airports) which can not be combined. You then have to do the mental gymnastics involved in figuring out which airport provides the schedule you want, let alone the price that you’re comfortable paying (after all, this is a “budget” airline, so you’re certainly competing on price here). But beyond their abysmally bad web experience, Ryanair are known to charge fees on just about every part of the travel experience, from the £1.50 charge to have an SMS confirmation sent to your phone, to baggage fees for everything besides your one carry-on, to fees for checking in at the airport.

So against all better judgement, I had settled on a flight from Gatwick to Dublin. During the checkout process, however, I noticed that as I entered my credit card information, the ticket price on the web page automatically updated and was listed in both pounds and the converted dollars that I would actually be paying.

It turns out that Ryanair will quote you a ticket price in the currency of the departing country (hence the price quoted in Pounds in this case), but will actually bill you in your home currency (in my case, US Dollars). The interesting bit comes behind the “more information” link, which will show that they have taken the liberty of providing you with their own currency conversion rate which is, as you’ve probably guessed, much worse than the current rate.

At the time, this £235 ticket was quoted by Ryanair as $386, and xe.com as $368. Simply unchecking this box will bill my card in Pounds and will let my credit card company do the actual currency conversion, which should be a lot more fair than the Ryanair rate (not taking into consideration the foreign transaction fees that a lot of cards charge, but that’s another story).

You’re probably going to get screwed by flying Ryanair anyway, but at least make sure that it’s on your own terms.

Filed under: Observations

At 8:12 pm on 07.29.12, Patrick Loughran said,

I have just had exactly the same experience with Ryanair. We made multiple bookings with them using Credit Cards which do not charge commission, but I missed the tiny small print option in the corner, and I was charged an extra 50 euro using their exorbitant exchange rate.I complained in vain (of course!) Indeed I would warn aanyone if you HAVE to use Ryanair to tread carefully, becaause the booking process is littered with cleverly designed traps to trick the unwary into purchases you do not want. Their main trick is to make it very difficult to find the highly disguised opt-out option. Their deceitful techniques should be outlawed.

At 12:14 am on 07.31.12, Robert said,

Hi there,
Have you been a victim of Ryanair’s automatic local currency deduction from your PrePaid Credit Card? If so, this will help ruin their financial system and give you a few CHEAP flights. AND IT IS LEGAL!! Until they wake up to their problem and have to redesign their system

What you do is to get a Prepaid Credit Card. If you live outside the UK all the better. Then all you do is to load it with say a 1000 YEN. Thats about 10 Dollars. Now if you live somewhere that has a more valuable currency, when booking your flight just give the credit card details and Ryanair automatically assumes your Yen are your local currency. SIMPLE AND FEELS F***ING GOOD!

It might be good to circulate this on Twitter too. Cause chaos at RYANAIR! AND Mastercard who obviously support this scam.

At 4:22 am on 06.12.13, michael said,

@Robert

Could you please provide an example of how to do this? I fail to find the free lunch in this example.

At 11:06 am on 03.18.14, Joe said,

Ryanir, worst airline ever. Made a minor spelling error in booking and then name change cost me £110. Wheras the ticket was only £40.

At 7:21 pm on 06.27.14, johan from beautiful california said,

AHHH!!! I JUST HAD THIS EXPERIENCE!!!!! JUST LIKE 5 minutes ago!

flying from karlsruhe/baden-baden (germany) to thessaloniki, greece on july 16, 2014. i did the current (as of today) conversion on the calculator, and thought it was a fair deal. so i decided to make purchase.

then the new screen said that i ended up paying more, so i was like WTF, mate?!

what a low blow! caveat emptor!

At 10:08 am on 10.30.14, Martina said,

This has happened to me several times – even after unticking the box! It seems like the only way not to have to pay the extra money is to get a credit card in the currency of whatever country you’re flying from. 🙁

At 1:09 pm on 01.17.15, Mindy said,

THANK YOU! I was just about to buy a Ryanair ticket last night and noticed the bait and switch currency transaction at the last minute. I backed out and slept on the purchase. This morning, I googled this problem and found your excellent post and picture and I followed your direction and it worked! My husband and I just saved over $50 thanks to your sharing this valuable information.

At 7:22 pm on 06.09.15, Kamil said,

I had even more retarded situation!

Booking a flight from Belgium to Italy with my polish EURO card, right? Price was in EUR all until I entered CC number, then it got converted to PLN, simply by the fact the card was registered in Poland… completely disregarding the fact the account linked to it was in EUR not PLN (it was Visa Debit).

I played along, thinking it surely wont charge in PLN and EURO card, well, Ryanair did.

In the end, final price of 576 EUR was converted to PLN to 2563 PLN and then again, to EUR, 652.

GOOD JOB RYANAIR #1

Another thing, like I said, my card is Visa Debit, but if I did not select it manually, just enter CC, it gets “autodetected” as Visa, and price was 588 not 576. Of course, Ryanair would proceed with the payment as if nothing happened, silently correcting it to Visa Debit type, while taking 588 from you anyway…

GOOF JOB RYANAIR #2

At 12:55 pm on 01.04.16, Curtis said,

I specifically was ready for Ryanair’s currency conversion trick and unticked the box you illustrate on your website. I just checked my credit card statement and Ryanair STILL charged me with the foreign exchange rate of their own that is much higher.

So even though they provide this opt-out checkbox, it doesn’t always work. I booked tickets through them a few months before and the tick box worked that time. I’m thinking that they must randomly ignore the tick box to make huge profits. How can we fight them effectively? Is complaining useless?

At 5:42 pm on 04.13.16, Ted said,

For what its worth this trick still exists in a slightly different form. I’m from the US and just booked two tickets from Dublin to Porto. Had I paid in USD, it would have cost $622 or so. I did the conversions and then realized I would save roughly $40 by paying in Euros and having my credit card (Chase) do the conversion. It resulted in a USD price of $584, saving me $38.

At 7:33 am on 03.27.17, Marek said,

Hi Guys, exactly same thing happen to me just now, no option to untick any boxes, still failing to get an answer from Ryanair.

Did any of you manage to claim the difference back from Ryanair? If so, any advice what to do? I am prepared to escalate this issue with their management, and have public rant about it unless they will refund the difference.

At 8:26 am on 03.27.17, Jesse Chan-Norris said,

@marek, I have not flown Ryanair since that one flight in 2012 and probably never will again. I doubt there’s any recourse if this is just their policy, but it’s interesting that they’ve removed the checkbox. Curious to hear if their management say anything.

At 11:36 am on 06.08.17, Mindy said,

Arg — this happened to me and I did not know about the check box. The IPad app was horrendous and I also got charged $18 euro for seat assignments when the PLUS option upgrade I paid for already had seat assignments included. Ryanair charges 13 cents (US) a minute to call them plus I would have long distance charges — I want to fight this but it just might lead to some real aggravation and no good end result.

At 5:00 am on 08.08.17, kaye said,

Also just got scammed from this. £20 more for the flight, they won’t change it. I’m surprised it is legal.

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