Last Thursday, over 90 flights were cancelled by Ryanair, including eight flights in and out of Dublin, as a result of an air traffic controller strike in France, undoubtedly ruining the travel plans of a large number of travellers across the continent. According to the Airlines for Europe lobby group, the strike is the 43rd day of such industrial action since 2009, and called on the European Commission to weigh in on behalf of consumers.
So what recourse is available should this happen to you?
According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, in the event of delays ranging from two to four hours (depending on travel distance), passengers are entitled to sufficient care and assistance, which includes refreshments and meals, hotel accommodation and transport between the hotel and the airport. If these are not provided make sure you keep any receipts – the airline will have to refund these (within reason).
Should the delay take more than five hours, you also have the option of choosing between a rescheduled flight or a refund for any journeys not yet made. If you’re travelling on connected flights, you’re entitled to a refund on your unused ticket, plus a free ticket to your home destination. For example if you’re travelling between Dublin and London to catch a connecting flight to New York, and the latter flight is delayed significantly or cancelled, you can avail of a refund for your ticket to London, and a free return flight to Dublin.
In cases of cancellation, airlines must offer you a different flight departing as close as possible to the original time, a later flight or a refund of your unused ticket.
Other entitlements will depend on when you received notice of cancellation. If notice was received more than two weeks before your flight, you won’t be entitled to any compensation. If you receive notice between 1-2 weeks beforehand, you’ll be entitled to compensation if the only alternative flights depart more than two hours and arrive more than four hours after the originally scheduled times. In case of cancellation within seven days of your flight, compensation will be provided if rescheduled flights depart more than one hour and arrive more than two hours later.
Some airlines will claim extraordinary circumstances for cancellations, such as strikes, which may affect your compensation claim. If you feel you have a strong case, however, you should get in touch with the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
According to flightrights.ie, should you arrive at your destination three hours or later than the scheduled arrival time you will be entitled to the following compensation:
Short haul – €250 per person
Medium haul – €400 per person
Long haul – €600 per person
Some airlines will claim extraordinary circumstances for delays and cancellations, such as strikes, which may affect your compensation claim. If you feel you have a strong case, however, you should get in touch with the Commission for Aviation Regulation.