The aviation regulator has launched enforcement action against Ryanair for “persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information” in relation to its recent cancellation of thousands of flights.
Earlier this month, 315,000 Ryanair passengers were told their flights booked for September and October were cancelled, while the budget airline announced only yesterday that a further 400,000 customers will have flights cancelled between November 2017 and March 2018.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says that in both instances the airline “failed to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights”.
This comes after Ryanair failed to tell affected passengers about its obligation to refund additional expenses incurred because of the cancellations, such as meals, hotels and transfer costs.
The CAA is also investigating the airline's rerouting policy after it wrongly told customers it was not obliged to re-route passengers on alternative airlines and failed to state it had to reimburse costs related to re-routing customers via different airports.
If Ryanair fails to clean up its act, the CAA can take legal action.
‘There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers’
Andrew Haines, the CAA’s chief executive, says: "There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control.
“We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, which is aware of its legal obligations, which includehow and when it should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers. The information Ryanair published [yesterday] again fails to make this clear.
“In expediting our enforcement action, we are seeking to ensure that Ryanair's customers will receive the correct and necessary information, to make an informed choice about an alternative flight.”
Moneywise has asked Ryanair for a statement but has yet to receive one.
What are the rules surrounding flight cancellations?
Under EU rules, if your flight departed from an EU airport or is an EU airline landing at an EU airport, you are entitled to an alternative flight, which can be with a different airline, or a full refund where your flight is cancelled.
Airlines must also help by providing food, drink or overnight accommodation if flights are cancelled and you choose to wait for an alternative flight.
If your flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure and the cancellation is the airline’s fault – so it’s not due to bad weather or strike action, for example, you may be eligible to claim additional compensation of between 125 euros and 600 euros.
How much you get depends on when you were told about the cancellation, the distance of your flight, and the delay to your journey based on the arrival time of the rescheduled flight you’re offered.