The mass cancellations are a public relations disaster for the budget airline, which saw its share price thumped as it faces claims of up to £60 million from furious customers. Many will have racked up expenses booking connecting flights and hotels, and will want to get compensation. There are strict EU rules protecting your rights, but how much you can claim depends on your individual circumstances.
First, you need to check whether you have been affected by Ryanair’s move, which will hit up to 50 flights a day between now and end of October, roughly 2 per cent of all flights with possibly more to come. Affected passengers should have received an email from the carrier, if not your flight is probably operating as usual, but it is worth checking the full cancellation list at Ryanair.com.
Controversial boss Michael O’Leary said that three quarters of passengers would be transferred to an alternative Ryanair flight on the same day, with the remainder offered flights either the day before or after. He blamed the cancellations on problems with its pilot holiday rosters, calling it “a mess of our own making” and saying that Ryanair would meet its obligations over compensation. So what are the rules?
Every affected passenger is entitled to a full refund or an alternative flight at no extra charge, but only those who have been given less than 14 days’ notice can claim compensation on top. As many as 250,000 could miss out as a result. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis says that travellers who have not been given a fortnight’s notice are entitled to claim between £110 and £350 in fixed compensation.
The level depends on how far you are flying and how delayed your arrival will be. He adds: “Even if you choose a refund what matters is how late the alternative flight you were offered is.”
Last week O’Leary ruled out paying to put passengers on rival airlines, but a legal expert claims Ryanair has a responsibility to do so under EU regulations. Coby Benson, flight delay legal manager at Bott & Co, says airlines should reroute affected passengers at the earliest available opportunity: “The regulation does not say that rerouting has to be with the same air carrier.” The rules also state that this should be done at no additional cost, even if the replacement flight is in a higher class or on a more expensive fare, Benson adds.
You could try purchasing a ticket yourself and sending a receipt to…