Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Flights and your rights

Cancelled flights rights

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Holidaymakers and travellers are understandably annoyed with Ryanair this week – the budget airline is cancelling up to 50 flights per day across Europe, stretching across the next six weeks.

According to the Irish Independent, Ryanair is blaming a number of factors for the decision, including air traffic control strikes and a holiday backlog, while the paper itself has questioned whether recruitment issues are another issue. A list of cancelled flights has been published on Ryanair.ie, and the company has said that affected customers will receive an email.

So what are your rights when a flight is cancelled?

Reroute or refund

Customers should be offered an alternative flight (as soon as possible or at a later date depending on seat availability). Otherwise you must be given a full refund within seven days for journeys not made. Refund applications with Ryanair can be made here.

“Ryanair is entitled to offer a passenger comparable transport to the final destination if no alternative flight with the carrier is available,” the Commission for Aviation Regulation notes. “When a place is served by several airports, Ryanair may offer a flight to an alternative airport to that originally booked. Ryanair is then obliged to bear the cost of transferring you to the airport that you had booked or to another close-by destination agreed with you.”

If you choose a rerouted flight and the departure time is later than your original booking, the airline is obliged to provide certain care and assistance free of charge depending on the waiting time, such as meals and refreshments, or accommodation and transport to and from the airport if you have to stay overnight. If this doesn’t materialise, keep your receipts as you can claim reimbursement at a later stage (within reason).

Compensation

Depending on when you were informed about the flight cancellation and when your new flight departs/arrives, you might be eligible for compensation, something covered under the EU’s Regulation 261/2004.

“The general rule is that if you are informed about the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure, the air carrier is not required to pay compensation,” says the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland.

According to the Regulation, compensation amounts to:
– €250 for flights of 1,500km or less
– €400 for flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
– €600 for all other flights

If the cancellation is out of the airline’s control (such as an air traffic control strike or bad weather conditions), or you accept a rerouted flight that arrives within certain timeframes of your original booking, they won’t be required to pay compensation. If you don’t agree with a decision, contact the Commission for Aviation Regulation to make a complaint: phone 01 661 1700, email [email protected] or visit aviationreg.ie.

For more information on your rights when flying, see flightsrights.ie.

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.
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