Ryanair bows to rules and will now pay compensation

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Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Ryanair has “capitulated” to regulator demands and updated its website to explain how it will re-route customers.

It says it has emailed all customers affected by what it calls its 18,000 schedule changes and 2,100 flight cancellations.

On its site, Ryanair acknowledges it is required to offer those on cancelled flights a full refund option.

The Civil Aviation Authority ordered it to put the information on its site by 5pm on Friday or face possible action.

This week, the CAA’s chief executive Andrew Haines said he was “furious” the airline had not been complying with the law by failing to offer to re-route passengers on rival airlines.

In the airline’s first wave of cancellations Ryanair offered affected passengers a £40 voucher per cancelled flight as a way to say sorry.

The budget airline said it had taken on more extra staff to process the expected increase in customer claims.

Ryanair was forced by the CAA to clarify that passengers affected who previously “may have chosen an option that was not suitable for them as a result of any misunderstanding of their EU261 rights” were entitled to change their mind, for example by opting for a flight on another airline instead of a refund.

If no Ryanair flight was available to get customers to their ticketed destination, customers can now opt for a comparable flight on Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings, the airline clarified.

‘Systematically flouting’

The CAA chief executive Andrew Haines confirmed Ryanair had contacted the aviation watchdog late on Friday afternoon and said; “Our job is to protect passengers’ rights and ensure that all airlines operating in the UK are fully compliant with important consumer laws.

“Where we find that an airline is systematically flouting these rules, we will not hesitate to take action, to minimise the harm and detriment caused to passengers, as we have done with Ryanair in recent days. It appears that Ryanair has now capitulated.

“We will review their position in detail and monitor this situation to ensure that passengers get what they are entitled to in practice,” Haines added.

Ruined plans

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “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.”

Ryanair cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October, affecting 315,000 passengers.

It then cancelled another 18,000 flights between November and March, affecting the travel plans of another 400,000 passengers.

The disruption was brought about because of an error with pilot holiday rotas and Ryanair said cancelling flights would “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations”.

The budget airline said it has updated the Frequently Asked Questions section of its website to reflect all of these changes.

However, there are more deadlines to meet next week imposed by the aviation watchdog which Ryanair has said it will meet.

The airline must by 5pm on Monday submit to the CAA the text for an email to go out to the hundreds of thousands of customers affected listing their full rights and obligations regarding the cancellations.

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