Ryanair strikes: your rights to compensation

Ryanair passengers could face delays and cancellations to their flights tomorrow due to strikes by the airline’s cabin crew in Spain.

Further strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Ryanair claims all flights will go ahead tomorrow, despite the strike, and passengers are being advised to check in as normal, although it seems likely there will be some cancellations or delays.

So if you flight is cancelled or delayed by three hours or more, can you claim compensation?

The airline is expected to try to wriggle out of paying passengers compensation because when flights were disrupted due to strikes last year, Ryanair claimed they were caused by “extraordinary circumstances” beyond its control.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority (which regulates airlines operating in the UK) is adamant that, under EU law, the airline must compensate passengers who are severely disrupted due to action by its own staff.

If you want to make a claim, here’s how to do it for free but note that Ryanair is no longer signed up to an alternative dispute resolution scheme so if it refuses your claim for compensation, you’ll need to complain directly to the CAA, and you might have to wait for the authority to take the airline to court.

At the very least, the airline must give you a full refund for any cancelled flights or move your booking free of charge to a different flight or a different date, or find you a seat on a flight with another airline or other mode of transport, including trains, buses, ferries and hire cares. Passengers who are re-routed from other airports are entitled to a refund of the “reasonable” cost of travelling to the alternative airport, and any additional costs incurred, such as hotel accommodation and refreshments. Remember to keep all receipts.

The airline everyone loves to hate

Even before these latest strikes, Ryanair was again voted the worst airline in the UK by passengers for the sixth year running. In a Which? Travel survey, passengers gave Ryanair the lowest possible rating for boarding, comfort, food and drink and cabin environment.

It achieved a customer score of 40%, while its biggest rival easyJet scored 63% and Jet2 scored 75%.

Thomas Cook Airlines scored just 52% and Wizz Air 54%, putting them both close to the bottom of the Which? rankings. Wizz was the only other carrier to share a lowly two-star rating for customer service with Ryanair.

Ryanair responded to the criticism by insisting it has “industry-leading customer service”. It also pointed out that passengers will continue to book with Ryanair as “having the lowest prices wins every time”. Which is probably true.



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