Ryanair: We won’t pay compensation for strike cancellations

Hundreds of flights were cancelled last week as Ryanair crew in Belgium, Spain and Portugal walked out, impacting more than 100,000 customers.

Ryanair B737-800
Ryanair B737-800 (c) Adrian Pingstone

Hundreds of flights were cancelled last week as Ryanair crew in Belgium, Spain and Portugal walked out, impacting more than 100,000 customers.

Six hundred flights across Europe were grounded on Wednesday and Thursday as cabin crew organised a two-day strike for improved pay and conditions making this the biggest strike in the airline’s 34-year history.

And there’s more to come as Irish pilots are planning another day of action at Dublin airport on August 3rd.

In an unprecedented move, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is urging those whose flight was cancelled to claim compensation under European air passengers’ rights rules. This could amount to either €250 or €400 depending on the length of the journey.

READ ALSO: Are You Entitled to Airline Compensation?

Despite this Ryanair is insisting the strikes by cabin crew don’t fall under EU rules:

Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due.

Under EU261 legislation, no compensation is payable when the union is acting unreasonably and totally beyond the airline’s control.

But the CAA said passengers do have the right to seek compensation under EU legislation as Ryanair did not give enough notice. An earlier statement said:

Passengers have the right to seek compensation under EU legislation when flights are delayed by three hours or more, cancelled or when they are denied boarding.

We note that the recent industrial action is not by Ryanair’s UK employees, but it is the view of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, taking account of previous Court rulings, that when a flight cancellation is caused by strike action by the airline’s employees, the airline is required to pay compensation to passengers in respect of the cancellation of the flight, if it has not warned passengers of the cancellation at least two weeks prior to the scheduled time of departure.

In the case of the most recent industrial action involving Ryanair, passengers must first submit their claim to the airline and if they are not satisfied with the response, they can seek redress via the approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service.

For those willing to seek compensation, expect a long drawn-out fight to claim this right.

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