Ryanair responds to threat of legal action
RYANAIR has responded to threats of legal action from the aviation regulator by emailing 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 use car hire.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which on Thursday accused the Dublin-based carrier of “not complying with the law” over its handling of the fiasco, claimed the airline had “capitulated” after enforcement action was launched.
It had accused Ryanair of not telling passengers that under EU261 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” before bookings are made.
Alex Neill, a managing director at consumer group Which?, said passengers face a “potential minefield” to reach their destination, describing the process as “convoluted”.
An extra 18,000 flights for the winter season were cancelled by Ryanair on Wednesday – which will hit 400,000 customers.
Several popular routes used by UK travellers were hit, such as Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow; Gatwick to Belfast, and Newcastle to Faro.
Ryanair was already coming under heavy fire after cancelling up to 50 flights a day earlier this month.
Passengers have expressed frustration with the airline, with many left out of pocket due to a lack of alternative flights and accommodation bookings they can no longer use.
Ryanair said the cancellations were brought about because of an error with pilot holiday rosters.
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 consumer laws.
“Where we find that an airline is systematically flouting these rules, we will take action to minimise the harm and detriment caused to passengers.”
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, said: “We have taken on extra staff and are moving to process and expedite all EU261 claims.
“We are committed to processing all such claims within 21 days of receipt.”