by Consumer Affairs Editor, Katie Morley and Helena Horton, The Telegraph, September 20, 2017
Ryanair is accused of breaking EU law because it is failing to tell customers whose flights have been cancelled about their right to compensation.
An email sent by the budget airline to affected passengers to inform them of their options does not mention the word compensation once, with the link to its compensation policy buried at the bottom of the email.
A link at the bottom of the email invites the recipient to click to view their "passenger rights", and contains details of redress they may be entitled to.
Under EU rules called Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004, airlines are obliged to provide clear written notice to customers of their right to compensation, and how to claim.
Consumer group Which? told the Daily Telegraph that it believes Ryanair's efforts are insufficient and have left customers "hunting around for information", meaning they could fall foul of the rules.
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: "Ryanair's approach to informing affected passengers about compensation falls woefully short. It is legally required to spell out compensation rules when a flight is cancelled and, in our view, have so far failed to do that, leaving passengers hunting around for information.
"This is another blow for the thousands of passengers who have already had to endure huge inconvenience as a result of this fiasco. The airline must now automatically compensate eligible passengers without them having to go through the additional hassle of making a claim."
A Ryanair spokesman said: “Full EU261 notifications have been sent to all customers and we’ll continue to comply fully with all EU261 legislation.”
James Daley, director at Fairer Finance, another consumer group, said: "Ryanair has made this mistake and it needs to be gong out of its way to help customers claim what they are rightfully owed. The rules are very clear about what airlines' obligations are, and Ryanair has been around long enough to know what it needs to do.
"The least it can do is make the compensation process as easy as possible. Talking obliquely about rights is not good enough. It should be serving it up in black and white."
Passengers whose flights are cancelled within 14 days of travel are entitled to claim €250 in respect of all flights of 1,500km or less, and €400 in respect of all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km, and for all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km.
Ryanair is facing an estimated bill of £17 million in compensation payouts to customers as a result of mass cancellations over the next six weeks.
The budget airline announced a 2 per cent reduction in scheduled flights until the end of October, leading to 400,000 bookings being cancelled within a six week period.
Only those who are given less than 14 days notice can claim compensation, meaning more than 250,000 people will not be compensated.
Hundreds of thousands of travellers are now scrambling to change their flights after Ryanair released their full list of cancellations last night.
Ryanair passengers have been left stranded for days at a time, with some desperate to get back to young children and others racking up huge and unexpected bills as they are forced to stay abroad for longer than planned.
Because of the multiple flight cancellations, Britons have been left in foreign countries, with some unable to get a new flight for days.
Customers have been left angry and in tears as they have been forced to call an expensive premium hotline, jammed with other distressed callers, in order to ask for refunds and new flights home.Some have been unable to return to work after their trips, and cost an unaffordable amount in unexpected hotel bills. Some, frustrated by how long they say it has taken to get a new flight from the airline, have shelled out for last-minute return journeys from other, more expensive, airline providers.
Mark Adkins told the MailOnline that he was was stuck in Spain with his wife, 11-month old baby and 77-year-old disabled father, who he says was forced to "crawl" on to a train from Valencia to Barcelona to get a new flight. Lynda Lancaster spoke of how her granddaughter spent £25 calling up Ryanair in order to get a new flight home, after being forced to cut her holiday in France short. Stephen Smith, from Stockport, told the Manchester Evening News he had to spend £1,000 to get his family home from Spain because Ryanair couldn't put him on a flight for seven days.
He said: "'Ryanair have ruined my son's first holiday and probably my dad's last one."
This article was written by Consumer Affairs Editor, Katie Morley and Helena Horton from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].