It has been a truly tumultuous few weeks in the travel industry. Mass Ryanair flight cancellations have caused huge disruption all over Europe. While Ryanair continue to battle staffing issues, Monarch Airlines’ collapse is now competing for the spotlight amidst current controversy surrounding air travel.
This blog will provide you with knowledge on your rights and how to obtain compensations if you are affected by these flight cancellations while abroad.
Ryanair Flight Cancellations : Background
400,000 passengers have been affected by Ryanair’s reductions to its flying schedule over the coming months, while 110,000 passengers have been left stranded overseas after the UK’s Monarch Airlines went into administration with all future bookings cancelled.
Ryanair decided to fly 25 fewer aircraft in order to reduce the risk of flight cancellations in the future. In the process, there have been a series of mass flight cancellations affecting nearly half a million passengers. Ryanair, keen to maintain its reputation or what may be left of it, said it intends to roll out a series of low fare seat sales for Winter 2017 and remains confident that there will be no further roster related cancellations.
Ryanair claims that less than 1% of its 50 million customers flying this Winter will be affected. Customers have received between five weeks and five months’ notice of these schedule changes, and have been offered alternative flights or full refunds of their airfare. CEO Michael O’Leary apologised to customers who have been affected by flight cancellations, and reassured “From today, there will be no more rostering related flight cancellations this Winter or in Summer 2018”.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority has launched enforcement action against Ryanair (more info here) for “persistently misleading passengers” about their rights, after the company announced the second wave of flight cancellations. A full list of all those flights cancelled and rescheduled can be found here.
860,000 passengers in total will be affected by Monarch’s flight cancellations, with 300,000 future bookings cancelled in what has been the biggest ever airline to go into administration.
What Happens Next
All of the passengers who have been affected by the Ryanair disruptions have been offered re-accommodation or full refunds and their applicable EU261 entitlements.
Customers affected “are receiving a travel voucher (€40 one way/€80 return) which they may use to book any Ryanair flight of their choice during October for travel between October and March 2018 (These cannot be used between December 20 and January 7). “We look forward to welcoming them all on board,” said Mr O’Leary. He also announced plans to purchase 50 new Boeing aircrafts in May 2018 to bring their fleet to a total of 445 aircrafts in time for Summer 2018.
Ryanair said that it has more than 2,500 pilots on a waiting list, and that over 650 new pilots will join Ryanair between now and May 2018. However, in the year to March 2019, Ryanair will carry 4 million fewer customers than originally planned as a result of the havoc.
Ryanair, as required by law, offered all customers disrupted by flight cancellations the option of either a full refund or rerouting to their final destination as follows:
- A full refund will be given of an unused flight sector and associated fees. If the disrupted flight is their outbound sector, customers will also be offered a full refund of the return sector.
- Ryanair will offer all disrupted customers the following sequence of re-accommodation options:
- You will be offered the next available Ryanair flight on the same route. If this option is not available the same or next day, then;
- You will be offered the next available Ryanair flight from/to a suitable alternative airport (for example: Luton or Gatwick in the case of Stansted). If this option is not available the same or next day, then;
- You will be offered re-accommodation on any one of Ryanair’s agreed disruption partner airlines to your destination as follows; Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines. If this option is not available the same or next day, then;
- You will be offered re-accommodation on any comparable alternative transport (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.
If your flights were cancelled but you received more than two weeks notice, you are not entitled to compensation under regulation EC261.
Ryanair have clarified “We have taken on extra customer service staff and are moving now to process and expedite all EU261 claims from affected customers. 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”.
If you had travel insurance including travel disruption cover, you may be covered for additional transport or accommodation expenses up to a maximum of €1,000:
- Loss of unused travel and accommodation, which cannot be reimbursed from other sources, will be refundable (subject to a delay / cancellation of 12 hours);
- Additional travel and accommodation which cannot be reimbursement from other sources, if they choose to make other travel arrangements because the alternative offered by Ryanair could not be provided within 12 hours.
Flight cancellation cover would apply for additional travel and accommodation costs incurred which cannot be reimbursed from other sources, if you choose to make other travel arrangements because the alternative flight offered by Ryanair was not within 24 hours.
Customers who purchased the additional cover after the notification was issued by Ryanair will not be covered.
Customers who booked flights directly with Monarch Airlines unfortunately will not be protected by the company.
What To Do
If you have been affected by flight cancellations, the first step forward should be to refer to your airline’s policy and your travel insurance policy.
Passengers must recover costs which are payable under the EU261 regulation against their airline. Under EU261, Ryanair will reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by customers as a result of these flight cancellations, subject to receiving an EU261 expense claim form supported by original receipts. It is vital that you keep all hard-copies of your receipts in order to receive this compensation.
Any further costs which are not covered by EU261 may be claimed against your travel insurance provider. We can help you here at Ucompare in regards to this.
Ensure you get covered before you travel to avoid stress overseas. Speak to us at Ucompare and let us help you get the best cover for your buck to keep you safe abroad. We’ll find you the best travel insurance policy at the best price.