RYANAIR NIGHTMARE: A guide to your rights if your flight’s cancelled

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of  Ryanair passengers will be hit by cancelled flights after budget airline Ryanair finally issued the full list of 40-50 affected flights each day for the next six weeks after ‘messing up’ when scheduling leave for pilots.

Coby Benson, Flight Delay Legal Manager at Bott & Co solictors, said, “Much to Ryanair’s credit they appear to have been open and candid about the ‘mess up’ that has led to thousands of passengers’ flights being cancelled over the next six weeks. As these circumstances were within Ryanair’s control they will have to bear the cost of this mistake and pay passengers compensation of up to €600, where their flights were cancelled with less than 14 days notice.” 

The cancellations could mean more than 200,000 passengers will be due flight cancellation compensation under EU rules and could cost Ryanair almost £60m in EU compensation. Other costs and expenses incurred by customers rearranging travel plans could see that figure soar considerably.

Ryanair have said that the cancellations are due to them ‘messing up’ when scheduling leave for pilots, As this is within the control of the airline there is not only an obligation to provide ‘care and assistance’, but also to pay compensation for those flights cancelled within 14 days of the travel date under EU Regulation 261/2004.

If you’ve been affected by the Ryanair cancellations and want to know what your rights are, we’ve created a comprehensive guide below in co-operation with flight delay and cancellation claim specialists  Botts & Co.

Ryanair cancellations are NOT extraordinary circumstances

The only defence an airline has for not paying out compensation for cancelled flights is if the cancellations are due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ such as a volcanic ash cloud, acts of terrorism or sabotage, or civil unrest.

These cancellations are due to problems with staffing and crew hours so they do not qualify as an extraordinary circumstance.

What to do if you’re stranded after a Ryanair flight cancellation

If you find yourself stranded abroad because of a cancelled Ryanair flight, you should know that Ryanair have an obligation under EU Regulation 261/2004 to get you home at the earliest opportunity.

If they tell you to rebook on a Ryanair flight that isn’t due to leave for several days then you can rebook your own earlier flights home on a different carrier and then claim any reasonable expenses back from Ryanair.

My Ryanair flight was cancelled – can I claim?

If your flight was cancelled due to the current airline staff or crew issues then you should be able to claim flight cancellation compensation depending on the departure and arrival times of the replacement flight.

However, compensation is only applicable for flights cancelled less than 14 days before you are due to depart. If Ryanair cancel your flight more than 14 days ahead of schedule then you have two main options: a) A full refund b) An alternative flight, should you still want to travel.

How much can I claim for Ryanair cancellations?

The amounts of compensation are set by EU Regulation 261/2004 and as such they are in Euros. They vary depending on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay on the replacement flights.

It’s important to know that the amounts change and the delay lengths vary depending on if the flight is delayed or cancelled, and if you are offered an alternative flight.

For flights that are cancelled between 14 and 7 days before departure you are entitled to the following compensation amounts:

Flight cancellation compensation amounts – (Flights cancelled within 7-14 days and replacement flight offered)

7 14 days replacement flight

So far the flights cancelled by Ryanair have been less than 7 days’ notice so the amounts would be as follows:

Flight cancellation compensation amounts – (Flights within 7 days and replacement flight offered)

7 days replacement flight

The tariffs are simpler when no replacement flight is offered:

Compensation amounts for denied boarding claims (No replacement flight offered)

denied boarding

Care and assistance

Airlines must ensure all their customers are fully compensated and this includes care and assistance while they wait for a replacement flight. You shouldn’t be left out of pocket due to accommodation costs or booking alternative flights.

The regulation says that airlines are obliged to provide the following in the event of a cancellation as part of their ‘care and assistance’:

• Food and drink in reasonable relation to the waiting time
• Overnight accommodation where necessary
• Travel to and from the airport and accommodation
• Two free calls, emails, or fax messages

Here is a full list of Ryanair flights cancelled in Spain. 

How can I claim for a cancelled Ryanair flight?

Ryanair should pay you compensation as per the amounts in the tables above. If they don’t then you have the option of writing to them to request payment under Regulation 261. Ensure to specify your flight details and the amount you’re claiming for.

If Ryanair do not respond, or refuse to pay compensation then you should consider using a specialist legal team to act on your behalf.

About Bott & Co – Key facts
Bott & Co is a multiple award-winning No Win No Fee solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire with particular expertise in flight delay compensation, holiday illness and personal injury claims. Email: info@bottonline.co.uk Telephone: (+44) 01625 415 800

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