/ Travel & Leisure

Update: Ryanair cancellations – have you been grounded?

Ryanair Cancellations

Ryanair is cancelling thousands of flights, potentially affecting 400,000 people. Have you had your travel plans upended by the move and what do you want to see Ryanair do about it?

Ryanair passengers are reeling after the airline announced it will be cancelling 40 to 50 flights every day for the next six weeks.

The airline is putting the action down to a shortage of staff after ‘messing up’ the scheduling of holidays for its pilots.

Whatever the reason, the reality is that thousands of passengers are going to be affected by the move.

400,000 passengers affected

Ryanair has put the figure of passengers affected at 400,000. To put that into context, the number of passengers who saw their travel plans delayed or cancelled because of the British Airways IT failure in May was 75,000.

One such case is that of Nona Ahamat. Nona had her flight to Edinburgh on Friday 15 cancelled the day before she was due to fly.

‘I booked my flight a month before flying and checked-in a week beforehand.

‘On Thursday lunchtime, I received a text from Ryanair telling me my outward bound flight had been cancelled and I wasn’t given a reason as to why. This came through less than 24 hours before my flight was due to depart.

‘While the message gave no explanation, it did offer me a couple of links, one of which was to book another flight. However, all the other options were either sold out or were not landing at a convenient time. One flight that did come close involved a £100 payment in order for me to rebook. That would’ve been over three times more than the £30 I paid for my original ticket.

‘With just 24 hours to go until I was set to fly, other options for getting to Edinburgh were limited. Flights with other airlines were either sold out or expensive because of the last minute nature of my search so I reluctantly paid £100 for a train. The train took a good five or six hours when the flight would’ve been much shorter.

‘While I was in Edinburgh as well as being worried about a possible cancellation of my return journey, my friends told me I was eligible to claim for compensation so I started the process this morning.

‘Using the Which? Flight Compensation Tool I created my compensation letter to send to Ryanair but couldn’t find an email address on their website to send to it. The only way I could find to get in touch was by filling out a form. But this didn’t have the right options for my claim. I couldn’t find a ‘didn’t fly, made alternative travel arrangements’ checkbox. So, instead, I spent an hour looking for somewhere to send the Which? compensation letter before copy and pasting the message into a generic, catch-all customer services email.

‘All I want is for my claim to be processed as soon as possible and for Ryanair to account for the cancellation with compensation, especially as there was no reason for a cancellation that occurred within 24 hours of my departure time.’

What we’re asking of Ryanair

We’re calling on Ryanair to give clear information about what its passengers are entitled to. The airline must honour its legal duty to arrange alternative flights or provide full refunds immediately. We also want to see all Ryanair passengers proactively compensated and reimbursed for any reasonable out of pocket expenses. The airline will know who the affected passengers are and so should pay them what they are owed automatically.

Have you had your holiday or business plans grounded by Ryanair? What do you want to see Ryanair do about it? Are you worried a flight you booked in good faith between now and the end of October will be cancelled?

Update: 20 September 2017

Ryanair passengers affected by the airline’s decision to cancel up to 50 flights a day for the next six weeks have begun experiencing issues when attempting to rebook flights.

Some of those who had their flights cancelled are reporting that they’ve had to pay a second time for choosing a seat and having hold luggage. Those offered a ‘free’ replacement flight were not necessarily refunded for extra charges on their original booking, meaning they then had to pay twice.

Some people have been reporting that unless they paid these fees a second time the online booking system would not allow them to re-book. Ryanair has said it is aware of the issue and that those who have had to fork out twice will be refunded.

We think it’s an outrage that people are being charged a second time and are calling on Ryanair to swiftly refund those passengers it has failed. In most cases, these customers have suffered huge inconveniences, with disrupted holidays and business trips.

Ryanair must guarantee that affected passengers are re-booked, fully refunded and automatically compensated without the onus being on them to jump through hoops to make a claim.

How do you think Ryanair is coping after its cancellations announcement?

The airline could be doing a lot more to help passengers (93%, 456 Votes)

There's definite room for improvement (5%, 26 Votes)

It's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances (2%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 491

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Is it acceptable for Ryanair to be charging its customers twice? Have you experienced this?

Update: 21 September 2017

Ryanair has come under fire again following their decision to cancel over 2,000 flights in September and October, this time regarding the compensation email it has sent out to affected passengers.

The email sent those who had their flights cancelled, falls woefully short in informing passengers about the compensation they may be due. The airline is required, by law, to outline the compensation and assistance rules when a flight is cancelled, something that, in our view, it has fallen way short of doing in this instance. Ryanair has failed even to use the word compensation on the face of the email.

This is yet another insult to thousands of customers who have already had their holidays and business trips ruined by the cancellations. We’re asking the airline to automatically compensate those eligible passengers without them having to go through the additional rigmarole of making a claim.

Update: 22 September 2017

We’ve launched brand new consumer rights information, including a free a flight checker tool, to help inform Ryanair’s failed customers following its announcement to cancel up to 50 flights a day over September and October.

The new consumer rights guide lets you search your flight number so you can find out if you’ve been affected by the chaos and lets you know how you can go about claiming compensation or rearranging your flight.

In addition to these, we decided to broaden the reach of our work putting pressure on Ryanair by creating something we’re never done before. Those eagle-eyed followers of Which? on Facebook will have seen a message from us pop up when they visit our page.

This is a new chatbot that you can use to check the status of your flight, visit the consumer rights information, and sign our petition.

Check whether your flight has been affected and how to claim compensation but clicking below.

Ryanair flight rights?


Very confused flying by ryanair to faro on the 21 oct how do we find out if we are to be cancelled

Hello Helen, you can find a full list of affected Ryanair flights here: http://fr-prod-static-pdf.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/flightcancellations.pdf I’ve added a link to the post too.

I can’t see Faro on the list of affected destinations, so think you’re OK.

chris williams says:
19 September 2017

Simply compensating forThe airfareAnd related out-of-pocket expenses is not enough.The walks fee compensation forInjured feelings, Disappointment and loss of holiday opportunities.Many people work very hardAnd have one opportunityPer year for a holiday.To CruellyTake that awayAt the last minuteIs something which ought to be compensated.We are told by RyanairThat the cancellationsAre Necessitated Only the need to provide holidaysFor their own staff. ThatConsideration ought to extend toTheir CustomersWho have bookedFlights Often Many months before In good faith.There needs to be thereforeCompensation forNon-monetaryLossFor injured feelings.

Hugo Lindum says:
18 September 2017

EU compensation is already pretty good. We can all get travel insurance. Cheap airlines are cheap because everything is cut to the bone. Many airlines make little money compared to the huge investments in aircraft. If we start insisting on Rolls Royce compensation this will be reflected in prices.

That is a cop-out. Even if the flight was free I would be asking for compensation because my plans have been messed up.

It’s not so much that we’re asking for Rolls Royce compensation as we are for airlines to pay what they owe passengers who have been inconvenienced by delays and cancellations and for the payment to happen quickly and efficiently. You wouldn’t take back a faulty product to a shop and expect to go home without a refund on the day.

Obviously you could not have been one of the forty thousand disappointed customers!

Last time I looked Ryanair made over a £1 bn profit “Ryanair makes £1.1bn profit despite cutting fares, May 2017”) so they’re doing quite well out of passengers’ misery.

They make their crew buy their own uniforms, and pilots have to pay for own training, and no pay for stand-by or briefings.

Just arrived in Denmark (flight from Stansted to Copenhagen), arrived at my hotel to find my return flight on Friday is cancelled. Trying not to panic, I go on the Ryanair website to see what my options are, and they give me two: Refund or Change Flight. Take the second option and seem to be doing well. I take an option to fly back a day earlier and am told there will be no additional charge – great! Finally I hit the confirm button, again and again and again – no response. Tried the same rigmarole quite a few times with same result. Live Chat simply doesn’t work – says they’re busy, occasionally teasing with a sign-in window that disappears as soon as you start typing! I cannot find a telephone number to call so am currently wondering what to do. Was only meant to be here for work for a few days and my car is in an airport car park so I need to get back there. There’s no straightforward alternative to Ryanair to get home – at least not that I can find. Isn’t the offending airline meant to help in these situations? So far it seems they’re doing everything to make the situation worse by having no functional website option for re-booking, no live chat and no telephone number to call.

Sorry to hear about your situation Fraser. Yes, Ryanair should be doing all they can to help you in this situation. Do keep us posted with how you are getting on. Is there anything we can help with right now? I’m sure you’re doing this already, but I would advise you to keep a diary of all the activity that is going on around your predicament. I did the same when I was delayed in Ibiza and I think that did my claim the world of good.

We were on holiday in Benidorm and received a text on Thursday afternoon prior to the flight home on Friday at 11.05 am saying that the flight was cancelled. The text was short and did not give any kind of explanation, only that flight could be changed or refunded. We attempted to access the Ryanair website but after many attempts we were unsuccessful. We were unable to make any sort of contact and were very anxious and concerned. We eventually had to ring my daughter for her to attempt to rearrange the flight from back in England. She tried to contact Ryanair but again was unsuccessful. She did manage to find a flight but this was for three days later on the Monday. The only option we had was to pay for new flights from a different airline which cost £350 with jet 2 and had to fly to a different airport. This was a day later on the Saturday. The nightmare continued as we had to book another night in our hotel only to find the hotel was fully booked. This led to us trawling around several hotels only to find they were fully booked too. In the end we had to contact my daughter to search the internet for a nights accommodation. This cost a further £154.00. Needless to say this was the most stressful holiday ever. Still not sorted with reimbursement as yet but one thing for sure I will never fly with Ryanair again no matter how cheap fares are.

Thanks for sharing your story Sue. As I said above, keep tabs on everything that went wrong with your travel plans, and in your case, definitely keep a tight grasp on all the receipts you’ve unfortunately managed to collect. We’re hoping Ryanair will cover all additional out-of-pocket expenses its passengers have incurred as a result of this chaos.

Had my outbound flight cancelled at 13:00 Thursday less than 24 hours before we were to fly between Edinburgh and Stansted. Because we were going to a concert we needed to be there on Friday. Also our car parking and transfers were boked for Friday. All Ryanair’s flights for Friday were full. Luckily Easyjet had a flight which although 2 hours after our original flight got us there with minutes to spare. Had to take the refund as couldn’t wait for Ryanair to offer useless flights and try to argue that they should find an alternative. Will be claiming for compensation as I am £140 out of pocket plus spent the entire weekend worrying that they would cancel the return flight on Sunday. Don’t agree with Hugo, Ryanair do make huge profits and have messed up big style. They should be paying out the compensation immediatelyas they cancelled at less than 24 hours notice without worrying what happened to me

I would never fly with Ryanair as they are just a rip-off

Compensation? When air passengers pay a realistic price for aviation fuel, compensate the victims of climate change, hurricanes and floods, they might consider others a little more. So many people think it is their right to fly, to jet off to a weekend of drinking, shopping etc. No, there shouldn’t be more compensation. Does that make me selfish?

The email address of customer services at Ryanair is :


It is not too hard to imagine that the email of the Chief executive, Michael O’Leary of Ryanair might have.

Best wishes to all – GastroMax

[Sorry GastroMax, your comment has been edited to remove email addresses. Please check out our Community Guidelines for further info.Thanks, Mods]

Barrie says:
18 September 2017

Hope this learns a lot of people not to touch Ryan air. To many add-ons ,service not that great and a lot of airports they fly to are to far away for main city’s.

I’m going to put my hand up and say, ‘I don’t mind Ryanair.’ Every time I’ve used them the flight had been punctual and good value for money. I don’t tend to buy into any of the add-ons and have only flown with them over relatively short distances. Perhaps I’ve not experienced the full picture just yet.

And is there a lot of room in the baggage hold? 🙂

I’ve been emailed a Which? campaign about this Ryanair debacle which ends “Do you agree – should Ryanair and all other airlines upgrade airline compensation?. I can’t vote because I don’t know what upgrading airline compensation means.

Various reports say pilots are fed up with Ryanair’s attitude and are leaving, others that too many are on holiday, others that training facilities for new pilots are insufficient leading to shortages. Whatever, Ryanair have sold a product they don’t have.

Can Which? tell us where passengers stand contractually when their booking has been accepted when Ryanair would (should) have known they could not honour the purchase. This seems like a deception. Once money has changed hands, can Ryanair just walk away or could they be made to provide a flight with an alternative carrier at no extra cost?

Upgrade airline compensation is really just our call to action for our campaign @malcolm-r. It’s a catch-all for an improved approach to compensation from the airlines we all use and invest a lot of money when we think about holidays and business trips.

Through the Upgrade Airline Compensation campaign (https://campaigns.which.co.uk/upgrade-airline-compensation/) we want to highlight the disservice airlines are doing their passengers by refusing to issue compensation swiftly to all those how have had trips ruined by delayed and cancelled flights.

I’ve asked a couple of my colleagues to jump in to answer your second question. Hopefully, someone will be with you soon.

@dsamways, thanks Dean.

My confusion was simply that automatic compensation already exists, and I wondered what the “upgrade bit” meant. Was compensation going from economy to business? BA pointed out that there is a delay if they do not have the payment details of some passengers.

Personally, instead of monetary compensation I would much rather require the airline that has taken my booking and my money provide me with another convenient way to get to the destination at their expense. That would be the best outcome for me, and might focus the carriers on providing the correct level of service in the first place, rather than having a monetary get-out.

very selfish

Booking a flight or booking anything is not taking up “an offer to treat”, it is entering into a contract where in return for a consideration (money) an organisation promises to provide a particular service at a particular time. If something happens and the contract cannot be discharged it is only fair the injured party is returned as far as possible to the position he or she would have been in had the promise been fulfilled.

Much is spoken about compensation and sometimes that is confused with a simple refund. Compensation is the amount of cash or cash equivalent that will, as above, return the injured party to as close as possible the state he or she would have been in had the contract been fully discharged.
The most remarkable thing about an undischarged contract is the amount of harm it causes to a person’s situation is variable. Many people will suffer no harm material or otherwise while a few will be severely harmed by losing wages, facing higher expenses or losing contracts of their own. The consequential loss will be different in every case.

The email I received from WHICH asked me to choose only one of two options and so I felt I had to opt for “no” I don’t agree compensation should be automatically paid.
Companies and organisations that automatically pay compensation often use a simple formula to calculate standard amounts that represent a miserly sum to many of those injured parties while overpaying many others.

In reality I believe the right amount of compensation should be paid and because “the right amount” will be different in every case it would be impossible for an automatic compensation payment to cater for those differences. I see standard payments as a symptom of modern life where those who offend or fail have the power to make their own lives easier by effectively saying to those they have failed, “you are unimportant and your problems are no concern of ours even if we did cause them”…
The Civil Service is the worst example of this mentality. Their maladministration costs people some huge amounts and causes them pain and distress. In the real world the compensation that would be due to some of their “clients” would buy a decent house. What they receive when maladministration is finally admitted is £100 or in some cases £150 – a single all-purpose payment…

I believe people should not condone being treated in such an off-hand way. I believe a demand for compensation should be made by the injured party and in every case the response should be forced to be immediate. In the case of Ryanair they should provide clear information and should provide travel alternatives and provide instant cash payments to the travellers to pay for those alternatives but where they can’t discharge the contract the compensation should take full account of all consequential losses. It doesn’t need a degree in rocket science to insure against consequential loss…

Ryan Air have ably demonstrated that they are not fit to fly. Nor are they fit to have responsibility for those who place their trust in them, as passengers. What a nightmare to be employed by them. I’m not surprised their staff are walking. Their CEO never inspires confidence but has now has lost all credibility.

Roughly ten – twelve years ago we booked Ryanair for a flight to Rome. Their organisation attitude, etc. was so bad I posted a lengthy comment in the original Which? member forums. Interestingly, several members disagreed, saying how wonderful they found Ryanair, but I have the suspicion the only thing they found wonderful was the cost.

Today, Ryanair regularly and consistently lands at the bottom of any customer satisfaction survey and I suspect part of that is the tone set by its CEO, who has repeatedly attempted to better Gerald Ratner’s approach to customer relations.

Ryanair is an excellent example of why there needs to be very strict enforcement of existing legislation, particularly in relation to advertising and specifically in relation to automatic compensation.

Why is there all this fuss over cancelled travel plans? These things happen in all walks of life. Inconvenient -yes- but easily resolved. No body will lose out and compensation is guaranteed. Just save receipts and apply. The only real loses here are Ryanair.

Flew once with Ryanair some years ago they have a habit of not making anything easy vowed never to fly with them again and never have and never will, they are not worth the hassle hit them where it hurts never use them again and their profits will fall

The compensation culture has already gone far too far. In the end it just leads to higher prices and more restrictive practices as large organisations adopt a defensive posture. OK, an organisation has made a mistake. If we give them time to recover, paying compensation at a sensible level where appropriate, we will all gain in the end. Argue for punitive compensation now and only the lawyers will win.

I understand that people are annoyed and frustrated. But if pilots haven’t had their holidays, is that fair. We can’t have it everway. They’ve made a mistake and everyone wants to jump on the compansation wagon. At what price sending the company bankrupt. No more cheap flights. Just doesn’t make sense. They’ve given people warning. Fly with someone else. Remember that this could be the end of cheap flights if everyone takes this attitude.

Carol, the point surely is that Ryanair have simply administered their business incompetently in selling flights when they would foresee they did not have the flight crews to fulfil them.

I do not agree with an automatic compensation culture; as someone rightly pointed out, compensation in the form of money depends upon real loss and will vary from person to person, but cannot replace a ruined holiday, wedding or weekend break. In this case surely the right “compensation” is to use other carriers to take the passengers they have booked and taken money from. That will ensure those passengers do not “lose”. The right thing is then done for the passenger, rather than a convenient let-out for Ryanair.

It’s not enough for Ryanair to just refund the cost of the flight. If people are forced to book at the last minute using other airlines, they will have to pay far more than they would have done if they had booked earlier. This means Ryanair should reimburse the full cost of any alternative flight people have to make as a result of their Ryanair flight being cancelled, plus any additional expenses.

I would rather walk than fly with Ryanair!