You’ve got your brand-new flip flops, checked on last year’s supply of sun cream that you didn’t use enough, and checked the weather in Marbella for the next 2 months, you’re now fully prepared for your holiday. Unfortunately, following Ryanair cancelling a further 18,000 flights on Thursday, affecting a further 400,000 passengers, we felt it necessary to make sure those affected know their legal rights.
Firstly, under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 you are entitled to a full refund on your flights, which Ryanair have offered to all passengers. You are however, entitled to ask Ryanair to find you an alternative flight, either at the earliest opportunity, or at your own choice, subject to available seats. Ryanair have denied that this extends to a flight with another airline, and although you could book yourself on a flight with another airline and try to reclaim your money from Ryanair via the courts, this is not guaranteed to be successful, as nobody has tried it to date. Due to the number of cancellations, it is extremely unlikely you will be able to find a suitable new flight with Ryanair, and so the alternative flight route may not actually be that viable after all.
Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), some people affected by the cancellation may be able to claim compensation under the EU Rules. What is fundamental to this, is when Ryanair alerted you to your cancellation. Unfortunately, if your flight is in the latest batch of cancellations that Ryanair have announced, then you will not be eligible to claim compensation. This is as under Regulation 261, you cannot claim any compensation if your flight is cancelled over 14 days before the proposed departure. If, however your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before the departure date, then you will be entitled to between £100 and £355 compensation. What this is based on, is a combination of distance of flight, notice given by Ryanair and the arrival time of any flight you may have been offered as an alternative. Even if you choose not to take up Ryanair's offer of an alternative flight and take a refund, you are still eligible to claim compensation, the value of which will be determined by any alternative flight Ryanair offer.
Unfortunately, under the EU regulations you are not entitled to reclaim any amount lost for ‘knock-on’ costs, such as hotels, hire-cars etc. Hopefully, your insurance policy will cover this, but many large insurance companies, such as Aviva and Allianz have said they will not be refunding holidaymakers for consequential losses as a result of Ryanair’s cancellations.
So, if you are to have a flight cancelled by Ryanair, then hopefully it will be within the 14-day limit, so that you may receive some compensation, as if it is even 15 days before, you could end up with nothing but your flight money back, and a significant loss to your holiday expenditure. However, Michael O’Leary has today stated “From today, there will be no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.” so if you are waiting to hear whether or not your flight is to be cancelled, you should be in the clear, and can top up that sun-cream supply, but maybe try factor 40 this year, nobody likes sunburn.