Thousands of Irish people are being affected by Ryanair’s decision to cancel hundreds of flights over the next six weeks. Having travel plans messed up this way is a huge frustration and annoyance – but the airline is obliged to compensate you if you are affected. The main thing to do if your Ryanair flight is cancelled is to know your rights, and act upon them.
1 – You’re entitled to a refund, or an alternative flight
Ryanair is obliged under EU law to give you that choice. You can apply for a refund of what you paid for your cancelled flight. If it’s your outbound journey that’s cancelled, you can get a refund of the price of what would have been your return flight too, assuming you do not wish to use it.
You can also choose an alternative flight, at no extra charge. You can either apply for a refund or change your booking at this page on the Ryanair site. Affected people are advised to do one or the other as soon as possible.
2 – You’re PROBABLY entitled to compensation if you get less than 14 days’ notice of cancellation
For a short-haul flight (up to 1,500km), you’re entitled to €250 if your re-booked flight arrives more than four hours later than the scheduled landing time of the flight you were originally booked on. This will apply in just about all cases where people choose to re-book their flights.
If your new flight lands between two and four hours later, you can get €125.
For medium-haul flights (between 1,501km and 4,000km), the relevant figures are €400 and €200.
Note that you have no entitlement to compensation if your new flight lands within these times of the original booking.
3 – You have stronger rights if you get less than seven days’ notice
If you receive less than a week’s notice of the cancellation, the criteria for compensation are tighter.
In this case, your short-haul flight only needs to arrive more than two hours after your original scheduled arrival time for you to claim €250.
If flying more than 1,500km, and the flight is at least three hours late, you can claim €400.
But again, there is no entitlement to compensation if your new flight lands within these times of the original booking.
4 – You have NO right to compensation if you get more than 14 days’ notice of cancellation
Unfortunately, in such a scenario, you have no entitlement to compensation. All you are entitled to is the standard offer of a refund or alternative flights.
5 – If already abroad – you’re entitled to claim more
If you are already abroad, and are stranded there an extra day or two because your original flight home has been cancelled, then you’re entitled to claim for ‘reasonable expenses’ incurred during that extra time.
This normally covers accommodation and food costs during that time. Keep all receipts and make a claim after you get home. Note however that choosing a five-star hotel and Michelin restaurants does not qualify as ‘reasonable’ expenses, so keep your spending sensible!
6 – If unhappy with how you’re treated – Make a complaint
If you’re unhappy with how your case is being handled by Ryanair, don’t be afraid to make complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation. You can contact them at 01 661 1700, or through their website www.flightrights.ie. That site also has full listings of all your rights in such a scenario.
Affected Ryanair passengers are urged to apply for a refund or to re-arrange their flights as soon as possible. Both can be done through the main Ryanair site.