The Ryanair Fiasco: Where do you stand?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone for the past couple of weeks, you’ve almost certainly heard about the Ryanair saga.

The airline initially cancelled up to 50 flights a day covering the six weeks leading up to the end of October, citing the cancellations being down to a bid to improve the punctuality of flights and clear the backlog of staff annual leave by the end of the year.

Understandably, passengers did not welcome the news, with many of them not knowing whether their flight was cancelled or not before they arrived at the airport.  

And just when we thought it was all calming down, the budget airline announced earlier this week that yet more flights were to be cancelled, with 18,000 flights on 34 routes being scrapped between November 2017 and March 2018. This move will affect nearly 400,000 passengers on routes including London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast, Glasgow to Las Palmas, and Newcastle to Faro.

Ryanair has blamed the fiasco on its own decision to force its pilots to take their remaining annual leave before the end of this year, rather than by the end of the financial year next March. This has left the airline without enough pilots to fly all of its scheduled flights this month and next.

In a bid to rectify the situation, the Irish budget airline is said to have offered its pilots bonuses to encourage them to work through the enforced holiday leave, however this proposal has been knocked back.

The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary said: “We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today. From today, there will be no more roster-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.”

If your flight is going to be affected, you should already have received an email offering you a refund or an alternative flight, as well as a travel voucher for £40 one-way or £80 return that can be used to book another Ryanair flight between October and March 2018.

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The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has waded into the argument, stating that the airline must stop misleading passengers about the option to be re-routed with another airline. The regulator has ordered Ryanair to announce publically how it will re-route passengers that need to be re-routed, and also how it will reimburse passengers for their out-of-pocket expenses.

The airline has also been ordered to promise help to any of the passengers whose flights had been cancelled over the past two weeks, and who may have chosen a suitable option as a result of being misled by Ryanair.

A deadline of 5pm BST on Friday 29th has been set for these demands to be met.  

A CAA representative said: “There is still no information here about how expenses will be treated where passengers are re-routed to and/or from other airports or where they otherwise incur additional out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the cancellations. Further changes are therefore required to make it clear that any such expenses will be reimbursed by Ryanair.”

My flights been cancelled, where do I stand?

If your flight has been cancelled or delayed, you are protected by EU Law under Denied Boarding Regulations. This applies to all flights that are either departing from an EU airport or arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline.

Under this law, passengers who are given less than 14 days’ notice of their flight cancellation are entitled to claim compensation worth up to £352 in addition to their ticket refund, depending on the timing of alternative flights and if the issue was not beyond the responsibility of the airline, such as in the case of extreme weather, for example.

The 14 day notice period refers to when you received an email directly from the airline informing you of the cancellation; it does not cover announcements in the press etc. If you’ve booked a return flight and just the outbound leg is cancelled, you can claim the full cost of the return ticket.

If you still want to travel, however, Ryanair must offer you an alternative flight According to EU regulations, airlines that cancel flights are obliged to offer a refund or reroute passengers under “comparable transport conditions”. Guidelines state that this should be done as soon as possible, even if that means it has to be done with another airline.

It’s worth noting that, Ryanair will not pay for any money you’ve lost on cancelled hotels. You’ll need to seek compensation to cover these costs from your travel insurance provider.

Will I automatically be given compensation?

No, in order to claim your compensation from Ryanair, you’ll need to write a letter of complaint to the airline, which we can help you with. Try to keep as much evidence as you can to support your claim, including your boarding card and any receipts if you’re claiming expenses.

The good news is, you can make a claim up to five years after your flight date! If you have suffered at the hands of Ryanair and had your flight cancelled, then please get in touch with us today.