Ryanair in u-turn over huge compensation payouts
Ryanair has backed down over demands for compensation to thousands of passengers hit by cancelled flights.
The budget airline has now agreed to pay for hotels and other expenses if passengers lose out as a result of the scrapped cancellations.
The airline has also said it will now look for flights on rival airlines to accommodate passengers if necessary, something it was previously adamant it would not do.
When the saga began, as many as 400,000 passengers were thought to be affected.
The payouts could affect as many as 700,000 passengers.
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The change of heart comes after regulators told the airline it could face legal action over its handling of the cancellation of thousands of flights due to a pilot shortage, which Ryanair claims was due to a holiday-roster mix up.
The CAA said the airline had flouted EU laws and the email sent to passengers affected by the cancellations did not adequately explain their rights. Ryanair was warned it could face a multi-million pound fine.
The airline now says it will pay “reasonable” expenses if claims are supported by original receipts.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers.
"Over the past week we have refunded/re-accommodated over 97% of the customers affected by the 18 September cancellations.
"This week (by close of business on Sun, Oct 1), we will have re-accommodated/refunded over 90% of the 400,000 customers who were notified of schedule changes (on flights between November 2017 and March 2018) on Wed 27th."
The airline was accused of cancelling Christmas after scraping another wave of flights up to March next year.
Ryanair now says it will offer customers with cancelled flights the next available Ryanair flight from or to an alternative airport.
If this is not possible the same or next day, then customers will be offered seats on one of its agreed partner airlines, including Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
If no seats are available on these airlines the same or next day, then passengers will be offered another airline flight, a train, bus or car hire, with the cost assessed on a case-by-case basis.
A total of 25 routes have been suspended over the winter period, including all flights from London to Scotland.
Ryanair is removing 25 of its 400 planes from routes and will carry two million fewer passengers than it originally planned to in the year to March 2018.
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