Ryanair ‘ca­pit­u­lates’ over cus­tomer rights

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS -

Ryanair has re­sponded to threats of le­gal ac­tion from the avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor by e-mail­ing cus­tomers af­fected by flight can­cel­la­tions to clar­ify their rights.

The air­line told pas­sen­gers they can re­ceive a re­fund or be trans­ferred on to other flights or travel by trains, buses or car hire.

The Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (CAA), which on Thurs­day ac­cused the car­rier of “not com­ply­ing with the law” over its han­dling of its can­cel­la­tion fi­asco, claimed the air­line had “ca­pit­u­lated”.

It had ac­cused Ryanair of not telling pas­sen­gers that un­der EU rules they were en­ti­tled to be re-routed by an­other car­rier.

Ryanair’s of­fer to pas­sen­gers fea­tures sev­eral con­di­tions, in­clud­ing as­sess­ing the cost of flights on other air­lines “on a case by case ba­sis”.

Alex Neill, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at con­sumer group Which?, said pas­sen­gers still face a “po­ten­tial mine­field” to reach their des­ti­na­tion, de­scrib­ing the process as “con­vo­luted”.

He added: “It still smacks of a lin­ger­ing re­luc­tance to do the right thing.”

An ex­tra 18,000 flights for the win­ter sea­son were can­celled by Ryanair on Wed­nes­day – a move that will hit 400,000 cus­tomers.

Ryanair said the can­cel­la­tions were brought about be­cause of an er­ror with pi­lot hol­i­day ros­ters and in­sisted the lat­est move will “elim­i­nate all risk of fur­ther flight can­cel­la­tions”.

CAA chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Haines said: “Our job is to pro­tect pas­sen­gers’ rights and en­sure that all air­lines op­er­at­ing in the UK are fully com­pli­ant with im­por­tant con­sumer laws.

“Where we find that an air­line is sys­tem­at­i­cally flout­ing these rules, we will not hes­i­tate to take ac­tion to min­imise the harm and detri­ment caused to pas­sen­gers, as we have done with Ryanair in re­cent days.

“It ap­pears that Ryanair has now ca­pit­u­lated.”

Kenny Ja­cobs, Ryanair’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, said: “We apol­o­gise again sin­cerely for the dis­rup­tion and in­con­ve­nience our ros­ter­ing fail­ure has caused some of our cus­tomers.

“We have taken on ex­tra cus­tomer ser­vice staff.”

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