“We don’t want people to feel they’re trapped on a MAX”, says the airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary. In the first few months after introducing new aircraft type to their fleet, Ryanair will allow for flight cancellation and money refund to passengers who are afraid to travel with the Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft. Where’s the catch? You can only opt out …after arriving at the airport.
Coronavirus outbreak dominated aviation industry news in recent weeks, and information concering prolonged MAX grounding took a back seat. Following two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX the aircrafts have now been grounded for almost a year. It means the manufacturer can’t provide airlines with new machines for the time being. Ryanair is one of Boeing’s biggest customers, but due to these circumstances, aircrafts which were expected to arrive by April 2019, will be received around September 2020.
Initially, only 20 Boeing 737 MAX 200s will be a part of Ryanair’s fleet consisting of 500 aircrafts, but there’s a small problem. O’Leary claims that they won’t be able to inform their passengers in advance about the aircraft type they’re scheduled to fly, because flight allocations take place only a night before planned travel.
In an interview with Simple Flying the airline’s CEO confirmed that Irish airline plans to introduce a possibility of free cancellation and refund of the ticket price for passengers who do not want to fly a MAX. O’Leary said:
We will have to have customer confidence-building measures, say, for the first six months. We don’t want people to feel they’re trapped on a MAX. If you don’t want to go on it, fine. Off you go, take off the bag, and you can have a full refund.
Such option would only be available last minute for those who already arrived at the airport, leaving travellers with a dilemma: safe travel or ruined vacation?
Ryanair is expecting to see the arrival of first MAX type aircrafts this fall, around September – October, but O’Leary explained:
If it returns to service in July August in North America, Boeing will then move to deliver the 450 backlog aircraft. We have 20 of those aircraft. They will be our first 20 MAXs. Boeing said they’re prioritising deliveries to the biggest customers, Southwest, American, Ryanair, and whoever else that happens to be. So I think we’ll get those aircraft in September October with reasonable certainty.