Merry O’Dreary Christmas! Ryanair’s latest batch of cancellations is set to affect another 400,000 passengers over the winter. Would an apologetic 40 euro voucher from Michael O’Leary be enough to put him back on your nice list?
Ryanair has announced the suspension of 34 routes between November and March, including some of its busiest flights between London and Edinburgh. In total, this brings the number of passengers affected by the Ryanair cancellations to three-quarters of a million.
After events last week, we don’t need to tell you that this situation is a complete shambles. As well as ruining the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of passengers, the offer of a 40 euro voucher from the airline will prove an empty gesture if Ryanair customers can’t book the flight they want. Some passengers will have been planning to travel over the festive period, so for them, Ryanair has effectively cancelled Christmas.
Our Christmas wish to Ryanair
Before today’s cancellations were announced, we wrote a letter to Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, condemning his handling of the situation before its most recent announcement. In it, our CEO, Peter Vicary-Smith, said:
‘Ryanair passengers have had their holiday plans ruined or have been left stranded abroad with little or no support. Many more Ryanair passengers will still be concerned about whether they will be able to travel over the coming weeks. On top of these issues, Which? has serious concerns about the way that these cancellations have been handled with people left out of pocket due to additional expenses and facing a difficult process to claim compensation. We now urge you to swiftly set out plans to correct the failings in your handling of the situation to date.’
Unfortunately, after today’s news, any fears Ryanair passengers may have had about future flight cancellations have been realised.
Flying high at the top of the naughty list
One such passenger is our colleague Yvette:
‘I booked a trip to Bucharest earlier this month, looking forward to seeing Christmas markets in a new city. Unfortunately, that was cancelled today despite it not being an affected route mentioned by Ryanair. I’m also lacking a voucher that Ryanair seems to be giving out to other customers.
‘I was already irritated by Ryanair’s first round of cancellations which affected another trip of mine (to Milan) and I’m annoyed to be affected again. I haven’t decided what to do about my trip – I’m not sure that it’s worth going at all with the new flight times on offer.
‘I’ll probably book my outbound flight with another airline but am nervous Ryanair could cancel my return journey. Luckily I haven’t paid for accommodation yet, so I won’t need to claim expenses.’
We’re sure there are unfortunately many more stories out there like Yvette’s. Have you had your Christmas plans shelved by Ryanair? Is Michael O’Leary on your naughty list?
Update: 28 September 2017
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced enforcement action against Ryanair for what it sees as persistent misleading of passengers with inaccurate information about their rights.
Earlier this week we wrote to the CAA calling for action after Ryanair said it would be cancelling 40 to 50 flights a day in September and October. The announcement of the CAA’s enforcement action followed news that Ryanair had cancelled flights for a further 400,000 people between November and March.
The CAA’s chief exec, Andrew Haines, had this to say on the action:
‘There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control.
‘We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, who are well aware of their legal obligations, which includes how and when they should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers.’
We’re pleased the CAA is taking this enforcement action as Ryanair has continued to flout the law and fail to properly inform people of their rights.
We want to see assurances from the CAA that their intervention will force Ryanair to immediately change its behaviour and act in accordance with the law.
Update: 29 September 2017
The CAA’s deadline for Ryanair to issue a press release and clear statement at the top of its website with updates on the actual rights of passengers has now passed. These rights include:
- A statement that Ryanair will reroute passenger on other airlines and how passengers can do this
- If passengers accepted a refund and re-booked, Ryanair will reimburse any difference
- If passengers have been re-routed Ryanair should offer to change to a different airline if misinformation was given when re-routing
- And pay costs of transfers to alternative airports and provide meals, refreshments and hotel accommodation for all passengers while waiting for a re-route
Ryanair had also been asked to take steps to assist passengers who’ve made arrangements based on misleading information and recontact these passengers to provide them with this info.
While the airline’s response, which can be found on its website, may get close to complying with the regulations it still smacks of a reluctance to do right by its customers.
The complicated four-step rerouting policy leaves passengers facing a potential difficulty get to their destination when their flight is cancelled.
The CAA must watch Ryanair like a hawk. It will need to take firm action if the airline continues to fail hundreds of thousands of passengers caught up in this mess.
Are you hopeful Ryanair will commit fully to their legal obligations?