/ Travel & Leisure

Update: Ryanair cancels Christmas for its winter fliers

Ryanair Cancellations

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?

Update: 24 October 2017

We’ve already received so many stories from our community about their experience with Ryanair since it announced its first batch of cancellations.

As Ryanair was forced to change its passenger rights advice by the aviation regulator at the end of September, we want to know if the airline is now acting in the best interests of its passengers. We’re looking to gather evidence that Ryanair might not be meeting its obligations to its customers.

This is where we need you!

Have you had a flight cancelled by Ryanair? How do you feel you were treated by the airline? Did you feel you had all the information about your rights that you needed? Have you received your compensation?

If any of these questions apply to you, please spare a moment to complete our short survey. Your time will make a huge difference to our work.

3 October 2017

Each airline should be required to have a reasonable amount of money deposited with a nominated government authorised body to cover for events like this when an airline goes bust. This money can then be used to compensate the passengers.

I have booked a flight with Ryanair on the 20th December. It looks now that it will, Be cancelled. I am now going to lose my return flight back with easyJet. I think Ryanair should emburst me both flights. They are causing so much of a nightmare for my family.

Charles McQuigg says:
7 August 2018

eastern bloc employees whose attitude was akin to that of the Gestapo.As a result we NEVER EVER will fly Ryanair. Moreover we make sure all our friends are aware of the treatment they dish out . Really good for Ryanair publicity-I DONT THINK !!
Seems they are completely oblivious to any semblance of decency,politeness or courtesy.
Appears they prefer to give the middle finger to both customers & authority.

Never flown with this lot and do not have any intentions to do so. Listening to the man is a good advert for a walking holiday

Alex says:
13 October 2017

I was on Ryanair to Germany – delayed at the airport for 5 hours due to mechanical problems with the plane. The flight cost £34 and the compensation was over £200. I think that is ridiculous – compensation should never be more than the cost of the flight. People are just greedy and this campaign will just bankrupt the airlines Monarch and Air Berlin or put up the ticket price. Ryanair are great – no frills, – fast boarding and turn around – friendly crew and very punctual. They rather cancel than be late. The Which campaign is a witch hunt against an airline which has revolutionised European air travel. I have been to lots of places I would never have visited had not been for the low cost airlines. O’Leary was unlucky in that Norwegian pinched his pilots. One other thing – 400,000 passenger seats cancelled on and airline that carried 131 million people annually. That means just 0.3% of the passengers had flights cancelled – not a bad record compared to trains, buses, ferries or any other forms of transport. Which needs to explain what and why this is happening and not jump on the wingers bandwagon.

Hi Alex, thanks for sharing your comments. I’m pleased to hear you’ve been receiving great service from Ryanair, we have heard from a lot of unhappy Ryanair customers who are not satisfied with the customer service they have received during the cancellations, so it’s always nice to hear otherwise. It’s important to remember our campaign is about getting airlines to automatically compensate for flight delays or cancellations. This issue was originally highlighted after the BA technical fault, which caused a reported 75,000 people to have their flights cancelled. The recent Ryanair flight cancellations are unfortunately another example of consumers being left without a flight or automatic compensation, which is why we’ve continued to highlight them in our campaign. In the case of Ryanair we want to ensure passengers are given the correct information about their passenger rights and that Ryanair are meeting their legal obligations, which are based on EU regulations.

In regards to the amount of compensation you received, these are set out in EU regulations and this isn’t the focus of our campaign. I hope this gives you a good understanding of our campaign.


Peter Finnegan says:
20 October 2017

Following cancelation due to illness.
Why should an airline be allowed to resell tickets,which have been paid for in full and also keep the money from the resale effectively being paid twice for the same ticket?? UN- FAIR SURELY

Julie says:
5 December 2017

We flew to kula lumper / Bali in March , but had a delay of 11hours and still waiting for our €1200 compensation from Malaysia airlines

Hello, a news update for you all – Ryanair has announced plans to make it easier for passengers to claim compensation. The airline has established a dedicated team to process valid claims within 10 days.

In addition to this, the airline plans to help passengers find out what their compensation options are via its website or app rather than using the helpline.

Our Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said:

‘Making it easier to claim compensation for delays and cancellations is the least Ryanair can do. The poor experience of its customers with the recent shambolic flight cancellations added insult to injury.

‘If Ryanair goes further and introduces automatic compensation it will be a market leading move, and we would urge the rest of the industry to follow suit.’

Further to the new update: Ryanair has announced the compensation can be collected personally and a new and easier queuing and customer service approach has been devised

Those finding the going strenuous will be assisted by Ryanair stewards

Passengers unhappy with the process can complete the Ryanair complaints process

Ryaniar’s chief executive said: “One of the weaknesses of the company now is it is a bit cheap and cheerful and overly nasty, and that reflects my personality.”

Ryanair customer services was unavailable for comment.

My favourite memory of Ryanair was when their website offered a premium rate number to complain about their premium rate numbers. I cannot remember if I kept a screen capture but did reproduce the text in a Conversation somewhere.

we had our flight cancelled on friday due to a bus fire at stansted. Ryanair offered a flight in 4 days but no accommodation as it was Easter. no food was given either. we were told at the Ryan air desk to book our own flight with an alternative airline and book our own accommodation and this could all be reclaimed from ryanair. ryanair are refusing to pay out as we didnt inform them first ( altogh this is what the staff at the ryanair desk told us to do