Ryanair flight cancellations – Any compensation?

Ryanair plane

If you are one of Ryanair’s customers with a cancelled flight you might be wondering  what rights you have and entitlements to compensation.

Firstly, you need to know whether or not you have been affected by the unprecedented level of flight cancellations.

Ryanair have published a list of all flights to be cancelled up to the end of October. They claim that over 98% of customers will be unaffected.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said…

“While over 98% of our customers will not be affected by these cancellations over the next 6 weeks, we apologise unreservedly to those customers whose travel will be disrupted, and assure them that we have done our utmost to try to ensure that we can re-accommodate most of them on alternative flights on the same or next day.

Ryanair is not short of pilots – we were able to fully crew our peak summer schedule in June, July and August – but we have messed up the allocation of annual leave to pilots in Sept and Oct because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a 9 month period from April to December. This issue will not recur in 2018 as Ryanair goes back onto a 12 month calendar leave year from 1st Jan to 31st December 2018.

This is a mess of our own making. I apologise sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend. We have only taken this decision to cancel this small proportion of our 2,500 daily flights so that we can provide extra standby cover and protect the punctuality of the 98% of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations.”

If you flight has been cancelled you will want to know what are your options. Will you get a full refund and any compensation under the EU261 compensation scheme.

Ryanair are blaming the cancellations on a messup over pilots and cabin crew being owed leave and a drop in punctuality to below 80%. Ryanair are often looking at ways to reduce costs. We recently wrote about Ryanair’s plans to charge for hand luggage. It looks  this latest headline grabbing story may be due to too much cost cutting internally with staff and has back fired on the airline. It is claimed that over 100 Ryanair pilots have left for a rival Norwegian Airlines.

Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert has published a guide to your rights following a Ryanair flight cancellation.

Under the EU261/2004 regulation an airline must give you a choice of two options regardless of how much notice you are given.

  • A full refund – even if only one leg of the flight is cancelled you can claim a full refund from the airline.
  • An alternative flight – if you still want to travel then the airline must find you an alternative flight. This must be a flight as close as possible to your dates or one that you are happy with.

The amount of compensation depends of how long before your flight that you are notified of the cancellation. If you are given more than 14 days notice of a flight cancellation then no compensation is due. However, 14 days or less then you could be entitled to between £110 and £355 depending on the distance of your flight.