If you booked a Ryanair flight in the UK, you may have paid over the odds

Airline is under fire over its currency conversion option when booking flights

Ryanair has denied ripping off passengers who book flights from the UK to the eurozone despite pushing a currency conversion option which is substantially out of line with the exchange rates widely available elsewhere.

The airline’s prices are in the currency of a flight’s country of departure so anyone booking flights from the UK automatically sees sterling prices.

Ryanair’s booking system also detects the currency of the payment card being used and automatically offers passengers with euro-denominated cars an exchange rate which has not been mirrored elsewhere since before the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

Last week its “guaranteed exchange rate” was £1 to €1.20 while the rates available elsewhere were about £1 to €1.12.


Anyone booking two return flights at a total cost of £400 from the UK to the Republic with a euro-denominated card would have been charged €448 if using widely available bank rates, while the fare would have jumped to €480 with Ryanair’s default option.

While passengers can switch from the rate Ryanair automatically imposes to a much more favourable one, many people may not be fully aware of the savings to be made by doing so, and the airline explicitly warns against choosing the daily rates.

With millions of passengers booking flights into the eurozone from the UK with euro-denominated cards in the post-Brexit period, Ryanair likely has benefited substantially by making its guaranteed exchange the default option.

It has denied ripping off passengers who are unaware of the savings that can be made by choosing daily exchange rates instead of the Ryanair rate.

“Customers have the option of paying in the currency of the card with absolute certainty of what the final payment will be at the time of booking,” a spokesman told The Irish Times. “Alternatively, they have the option of taking the, yet unknown, exchange rate applied by their bank/card provider.”

He insisted the option was “presented transparently, and no one is being ‘ripped off’. All customers are advised of the dynamic currency conversion rate applied and have the option to avail of this rate or not. Ryanair’s DCC presentation complies with all applicable EU and national laws on consumer protection.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor