by Consumer Affairs Editor and Katie Morley, The Telegraph, September 29, 2017
Ryanair has backed down and offered nearly 700,000 customers with cancelled flights compensation for hotels and other expenses, as well as alternative flights with other airlines.
The airline said it will reimburse "reasonable" out of pocket expenses incurred by customers as a result of these flight cancellations, subject to receiving an expense claim form from customers supported by original receipts.
The news will come as a relief to frustrated customers who have spent as much as £1,500 of their own money on hotels and other necessities as a direct result of having their flights cancelled.
It comes after the CAA on Wednesday accused Ryanair of breaking EU laws as the email it had sent customers did not sufficiently tell them about their rights.
However, it has emerged that Ryanair may force customers seeking flights with another airline in lieu of a cancelled Ryanair flight may be told to take busses or drive themselves in hire cars instead.
The CAA has told Ryanair that it must offer flights with other airlines to customers whose flights have been cancelled. Its guidelines state that if an airline cancels a flight it must offer passengers an alternative flight under European Union law.
Ryanair said that if it is not able to offer a flight on the same or next day from the original or "suitable alternative airport", then it will book passengers onto flights by either easyJet, Jet2, Vueling, CityJet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
If those options are not available then it will offer "comparable alternative transport" which may be a flight, train, bus or car hire, with costs "assessed on a case-by-case basis".
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/re-accommodated over 97 per cent of the customers affected by the 18th September cancellations.
"This week (by close of business on Sun, 1st Oct), we will have re-accommodated/refunded over 90% of the 400,000 customers who were notified of schedule changes (on flights between November 2017 and March 2018) on Wed 27th."
In its revised policy, Ryanair has said it will first offer customers with cancelled flights the next available Ryanair flight from or to a suitable alternative airport.
If this option is not available same or next day, then it will offer the customer re-accommodation on any one of its agreed disruption partner airlines to their destination. These include Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
If this option is not available same or next day, then it will offer the customer re-accommodation on 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.
Yesterday, angry customers took to social media to call for a mass boycott of Ryanair after boss Michael O'Leary was accused of "cancelling Christmas" by wrecking the plans of 400,000 more passengers over the winter.
A total of 25 routes have been suspended over the winter period, including all flights from London to Scotland.
Ryanair will remove 25 of its 400 planes from skies and will carry 2 million fewer passengers than it originally planned to in the year to March 2018 (129 million down from 131 million).
In the year to March 2019 Ryanair has revealed it will carry 4 million fewer customers than planned, with the number falling from 142 million to 138 million.
More to follow...
This article was written by Consumer Affairs Editor and Katie Morley from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].