Ryanair has met with the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation and agreed to implement a series of steps to address the CAR’s requirements to ensure that all customers affected by Ryanair’s recent rostering related flight cancellations are fully aware of their EU261 rights and entitlements, including full refunds, or re-accommodation onto other Ryanair flights or other comparable transport options with reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses.
Ryanir says it has signed up seven airlines as disruption partners: Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian and Eurowings airlines.
Ryanair says it has emailed the 1pc of its customers who were affected by its deeply regretted 2,100 flight cancellations in Sept/Oct, or the 18,000 schedule changes announced on Wednesday 27 from November 2017 to March 2018, in order to explain their entitlements under EU261 regulations as follows.
According to Ryanair, the steps agreed with the CAR are as follows:
- Ryanair has today issued a clarification email to all affected customers outlining their rights to refunds, re-routing on Ryanair or on other comparable transport options and expenses (see attached).
- Ryanair has also today issued a press release (copy attached) explaining to customers how and when they will be re-accommodated on other Ryanair flights or other airline flights. This press release will be displayed on the home page of Ryanair’s website from today.
- Ryanair has updated the FAQ pages of its website to reflect all of these changes.
Ryanair called upon London CAA to now require UK airlines to comply with these EU261 obligations which the CAA did not apply to British Airways in May this year, when a computer meltdown stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers at London Heathrow and many other airports, with no apparent action taken by the CAA in respect of re-accommodation or enforcement against British Airways. Ryanair replied to the London CAA letter of September 28, agreeing to meet its requirement for customer clarification on Ryanair’s EU261 obligations, which are in line with those requested by the CAR.
Andrew Haines of the London CAA said airline passengers are entitled to compensation and if there is a cancellation, they are entitled to be re-routed by other airlines. The chief executive of Ryanair Michael O’Leary has gone on record and said he is not going to do that. He then issued a clarification. When they announced 18,000 further cancellations, they failed to follow through on that. We are furious they are not complying with the law and they are not giving customers what they are entitled to. They are not making it clear to people their entitlement. If they follow through on what they are saying, then they would be breaking the law.” He said England’s aviation regulators would launch an enforcement action against Ryanair for “persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information regarding their rights in respect of its recent cancellations“.
He said he has also given Ryanair a deadline of 5pm this evening to correct its compensation policy for passengers whose flights were cancelled and wants Ryanair to explain publicly how it will re-route passengers who require the option. It also wants Ryanair to promise to assist passengers whose flights were cancelled in the past two weeks but who made alternative plans based on misleading information from Ryanair. In addition, the Dublin-based carrier must commit to helping passengers who chose an unsuitable option as a result of being misled. It comes after the regulator accused the airline of “not complying with the law” over its handling of the fiasco.
Responding to ITV News claims that a Ryanair internal memo allegedly instructed call centre staff to offer flights with other carriers – provided the price “does not exceed three times the value of the original Ryanair fare, Alex Neill of London consumer group Which said: “Ryanair appears to be plucking figures out of thin air as there is no legal basis for the arbitrary figure they’ve set.
“The law says passengers must be re-routed and there’s no specified limit on cost. This yet again highlights the importance of the action which the Civil Aviation Authority has started.
“It must force Ryanair to immediately change its behaviour and comply with the law.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Philip Von Schoeppenthau of the European Cockpit Association suggested that there was something seriously wrong with the Irish Aviation Authority and the way it oversees its airlines. He alleged the IAA allows companies a more lenient interpretation of European safety rules on flight time limitations and the annual limit on flight hours per pilot per year. Without this deliberate wrong interpretation of European safety rules mandatory cancellations would have been prevented.
The IAA rejected the allegations as “false, misleading and irresponsible” statements and said it does monitor Ryanair and no Irish airline can operate without adhering to all safety regulations.
Philip Von Schoeppenthau said: “It shows that the pre-carrier’s employment practices used by this company are not sustainable and must stop. But it also shows that this is not just about annual leave, it’s about poor management of a scheduling risk that was known about one year ago and it was entirely predictable.”
Ryanair options for passengers
Refund: A full refund will be given of an unused flight sector and associated fees. If the disrupted flight is their outbound sector, customers will also be offered a full refund of the return sector.
Re-Routing: Ryanair will offer all disrupted customers the following sequence of re-accommodation options. First, move the customer to the next available Ryanair flight on the same route.
If this option is not available same or next day, then;Move the customer to the next available Ryanair flight from/to a suitable alternative airport/s (for example: Luton or Gatwick in the case of Stansted).
If this option is not available same or next day, then; Offer the customer re-accommodation on any one of our agreed disruption partner airlines to their destination as follows; Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
If this option is not available same or next day, then; Offer the customer re-accommodation on any comparable alternative transport (another airline flight, train, bus or car hire) with the cost of this comparable transport ticket to be assessed on a case by case basis.
Under EU261, Ryanair will also reimburse any reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred by customers as a result of these flight cancellations, subject to receiving an EU261 expense claim form from customers supported by original receipts.
If any Ryanair customer on one of these disrupted flights believes that they may have chosen an option that was not suitable for them as a result of any misunderstanding of their EU261 rights, then they should write directly to Ryanair’s Director of Customer Services and Ryanair will assist them in any way it can to obtain their full EU261 rights and entitlements.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:“We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers. Over the past week we have refunded/reaccommodated over 97pc of the customers affected by the 18th September cancellations. This week (by close of business on Sun, 1st Oct), we will have reaccommodated/refunded over 90pc of the 400,000 customers who were notified of schedule changes (on flights between November 2017 and March 2018) on Wed 27th. In addition, every single affected customer has received a travel voucher for a €40 one way flight (€80 return) for travel in October to March. We have restored the reliability and punctuality of our flight operations. Over the past 7 days we have operated over 15,000 flights with over 96pc of our first wave morning departures operating on time, or with zero flight cancellations. We have taken on extra customer service staff and are moving now to process and expedite all EU261 claims from affected customers. We are committed to processing all such claims within 21 days of receipt and hope to have all such claims settled before the end of October.”