Ryanair ‘capitulates’ over customer rights
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.”