Ryanair has announced that as many as 400,000 people could be left stranded by flight cancellations between mid-September and October this year.
The Irish budget airline said an issue with the planning of pilot holidays had forced it to cancel hundreds of flights.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s outspoken chief executive, admitted: “Of course it’s a mess.”
But the airline maintains fewer than two percent of its flights will be affected.
Though that’s little consolation for those impacted - and here’s what you need to know if your Ryanair flight is cancelled.
You can apply for a refund
You are able to apply for a refund if your journey is disrupted by a cancellation. Your right to a refund stands even if only your outbound journey is affected and you choose not to continue your trip.
You can apply for a Ryanair flight refund via this form.
You can choose an alternative flight
You may wish to choose an alternative Ryanair flight to complete your trip either earlier or later than originally planned. Ryanair says that in most cases it will offer you an alternative flight.
It’s worth checking this page for updates on alternative flights.
You have the right to be re-booked onto a different airline in some circumstances
For some people, Ryanair’s offer of an alternative won’t help. In these circumstances, you may have the right to be-booked onto a different airline.
But here’s where things become unclear. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that if another airline offers a flight “significantly sooner” than an alternative on your existing airline then you have the right to be booked onto it.
But Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said it would not re-book his passengers onto other airlines. He claimed this was not part of its legal duties.
Ryanair is offering alternative flights/refunds via this page.
Visit the CAA’s website for more information here.
You can claim compensation for the inconvenience
The European Union runs a compensation scheme which provides compensation over and above the cost of an airline ticket based on two criteria: the length of delay and the distance travelled.
However, you can’t claim compensation for inconvenience if Ryanair has given you more than two week’s notice of a cancellation.
That’s because it is hoped you would have been given alternative arrangements or chosen a full refund in the meantime.
If you are given between seven and 14 days’ notice, compensation levels are:
- If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight, you can claim €250 or £222.
- If your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives more than two hours after it, you can claim €250 or £222.
- If your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives less than two hours after it, you can claim €125 or £111.
But if you haven’t been given one week’s notice, and your new arrangements mean you depart more than one hour earlier or you arrive more than two hours later than planned, you may be eligible to claim the following compensation:
And additional help is available
If you receive word of your cancellation at the airport, additional help is available. This includes meals and refreshments in proportion to the length of delay and, if needed, hotel accommodation, phone calls and access to email services.