Ryanair should provide free or discounted flights to Ukrainians, ambassador says

Polish ambassador writes to Michael O’Leary citing apparent airfare increase

Ryanair should offer discounts or free flights to Ukrainians who are fleeing their country and seeking refuge in Europe, the Polish ambassador to Ireland has said.

The comments follow claims that prices are disproportionately higher on flights from Poland to Dublin than flights in the opposite direction.

Ryanair has denied the allegations.

In a letter to the airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary, the Polish ambassador Anna Sochanska said the Ukraine embassy has brought to her attention that the price of flights between Poland to Dublin have been "substantially increased".


“Due to the Russian aggression on Ukraine, millions of refugees arrived in Poland. Almost instantly the airports in Krakow and Rzeszow became transport hubs for Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter with family and friends across Europe,” the letter states.

“Due to close Irish-Polish co-operation over the years, Ryanair is the main airline operating in those airports. I want to believe the sudden price rise issues are caused by an automated algorithm that is increasing prices due to heightened demand for Ryanair’s services.”

It added: “I hope that the rapid rise in ticket prices for the Ukrainian refugees was unintentional and that Ryanair will implement discounts or free vouchers for the Ukrainian citizens, who try to find the horrors of war and find refuge in Europe.”

Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko had previously criticised the airline for the cost of flights from countries neighbouring Ukraine, telling an Oireachtas committee that the pricing regime was "immoral".

Mr O’Leary has rejected the claim that Ryanair was profiteering from the plight of Ukrainian refugees.

“We are already carrying thousands of refugees around Europe with fixed fares of €20 and €30 and €50. This story that we are hiking the fares out of Poland [is] completely false,” he said last week.

“If a flight fills, the last few fares will be sold at the highest fares. That’s how our business runs.”

A recent analysis of online prices for flights from Poland to Dublin by The Irish Times showed the cost was up to 13 times higher for last-minute flights, when compared with the same journey a week later.

Ryanair has been contacted for further comment.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times