/ 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.


Hi, an update for you. The CAA has set a deadline of 5pm today for Ryanair to issue a press release and clear statement at the top of its website with updates on the actual rights of passengers. 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 awaiting for a re-route
– Ryanair must also take steps to assist passengers who’ve made arrangements based on misleading information and recontact these passengers to provide them with this info.

The clock is ticking for Ryanair to respond by 5pm on Friday 29 September (we’ve added a countdown timer to the post).

That’s great news. A public apology from Ryanair would not come amiss.

Why not make Ryanair refund the costs of the premium rate phone calls passengers had to make to find anything out? It should have been a free phone number, not a profit making number.

I remember when Ryanair had a special premium rate phone number to complain about the high call charges. That is history and I cannot find any customer service phone number on their website.

It seems that users are now required to make contact using web forms, rather than email. There are plenty of them to choose from, including “Customer Service Excellence Award Nominations”. We have a comedian in this company. 🙁

CEOemail.com gives contact information on Ryanair. Whether they work, I don’t know. For example:
Mr Bill Hutchinson Customer Service Director
Email ohutchinsonb@ryanair.com
Telephone +353 1 812 1212

Mr Michael Hickey Chief Operations Officer
Email hickeym@ryanair.com
Telephone +353 1 812 1212

Mr Kenny Jacobs Chief Marketing Officer
Email jacobsk@ryanair.com

Email customerqueries@ryanair.com

David Lewis says:
29 September 2017

Why has this taken so long ? Should have been done on day one.

This is O’Leary your talking about!

I wonder how many inter continental flights he’s cancelled? any?

Is this just UK flights?

He did say he was going to leave Britain if we left the eu.

Flyanscare does NOT operate intercontinental flights; it is solely an intra-European operator. This has got precisely nothing to do with O’Reilly’s views about the UK’s suicide vote over Brex**it. The flights that have been cancelled are also not just to/from and within the UK, there are plenty across the continent that have been cancelled. The issue, not that Flyanscare are conceding the point, is that they are now short of pilots because others (Norwegian) are recruiting flight deck crew with B737-800 type approval and because Flyandscare persists with not employing its pilots but treating them as zero hours sub-contractors. FR’s pilots are now voting with their feet.

He should leave the uk he has not come and said sorry his company has be lying to customers who put them up that or do they not know the rules he should be big enough to come out in public and say sorry he is the man at the top and the buck stops with him, he should get some back bone and face his customers after all its them that put him where he is today.

That Michael O’leary is a complete disgrace. I cannot wait for that airliner to disappear from the face of this earth. It has been treating passengers quite baddly over the years. But even paying so many fines for their misleading adverts, etc. in the past, he continues with his non caring for anybody, including his staff and arrogance attitude. Ten years ago the first time flying with them I had a problem, and I have never ever flown Ryannair again.

Hi Charo, I didn’t even need one experience to put me off using RyanAir. As soon as I noted O’Leary’s attitude to passengers and situations that arose I vowed never to travel with that airline as long as he was associated with it. His attitude to customer service is a disgrace and beggars belief. He as good as says that as long as enough people keep coming back for cheap fares he doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the minority for whom things go wrong; as far as he is concerned they don’t exist. Time to vote with your feet everyone.

I think Ryanair should striped of it’s licences, AND O’Leary fined a large fine,AND banned from any directorships of ANY company.

If you could point out anything O’Reilly has personally done that is illegal, then you might have a point. Should the CAA decide that FR’s conduct has broken the rules, that would be one thing but the hoops that have to be gone through in order to disqualify someone as a company director…. You will have to have done something far worse than inconvenience hundreds of thousands of paying passengers before the UK’s supine regulatory authorities would strip someone of their ability to be a company director.

O’Reilly…wasn’t he a builder in Fawlty Towers? Easy mistake to make, though 🙂

I see that Ryanair are still advertising extensively

My Ryanair horror story – If we hadn’t checked emails before we set off, we wouldn’t have known until we got to the airport. They cancelled at 2.15 pm & we were flying at 8.30 pm. No alternative flight offered and no explanation. We were forced to book flight with TAP Portugal the following day who then dumped us at Lisbon airport telling us to find our own hotel (they were all booked) as there was a 3 hour delay at Manchester & the connecting flight to Faro went without us. Thankfully, the hotel in Salema where we had booked found us accommodation at their sister hotel on the other side of Lisbon. We reached here at 3.15 am on the 14th September. We then had to hang around Lisbon airport until 11.30 pm the following day. The most stressful time of our lives. It took 3 days to get to our destination in Salema. I have had to have a week off sick since coming home as I was left traumatised and spent our week away (which should have been 10 days) shaking. I have Addison’s disease & all my medication was in my suitcase which I couldn’t have access to until the connecting flight went the following evening at 11.30 pm. It should have been 10.30 pm but there was another hour delay. TAP Portugal are an awful airline who should also be held to account. I am also now left with almost a £1000 on a credit card which is what it cost for the alternative flights and a hotel and taxi fares on the night we were dumped. Thanks a lot Ryanair.

Why is it the case nowadays that we have such a thing as “Budget” airlines anyway?
Surely, in the interests of Safety, Fairness, Healthy Competition and Compliance with the C.A.A.,
it would be better for all airlines to be of similar costs, service, reliability and commitment to the travelling customers, as each other.
Therefore allowing healthy competition to take place.

Just boycott the useless bum outfit and force it into bankruptcy, to convince other airlines of the total power of consumer resistance.

How can I consider booking a holiday repeat of last year’s trip to Marrakesh not knowing if I can fly . nothing but a. total boycott of the airline will do. I will never book with them.

BA fly to Marrakech and seem to offer cheap flights and holidays.

Why isn’t the CAA fining Ryanair, if they’ve broken laws they should be heavily fined and I don’t mean a few measly thousands, make it hurt and teach them a lesson and make it millions.

Well, the time’s run out. Ryanair continues to treat the regulator as it does the paying public: with utter contempt. The time is now 1710…

“The Civil Aviation Authority has told Ryanair it has until 5pm to meet its obligations to thousands of customers affected by flight cancellations.

The CAA has instructed Ryanair to tell passengers they are entitled to be rerouted by another carrier, reimburse their expenses, and commit to helping passengers who chose an unsuitable option on the grounds of misleading information.

On Wednesday, the regulator invited Ryanair to take part in a meeting – or conference call – to explain how it will stop breaching consumer law by not fully informing passengers of their rights following the tens of thousands of cancellations.

However, a CAA spokesman said on Friday it was yet to hear from the airline.

“As part of our enforcement action we have requested a meeting with Ryanair to discuss our ongoing concerns around passenger rights,” he said.

“As yet we have received no response to this request, not has Ryanair proposed any other meetings, whether in person or via telephone.””

So what now?

This letter has been sent from CAA to Ryanair today: https://www.caa.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CAA/Content/News/News_files/2017/CAA%20letter%20to%20Ryanair%20-%20280917.pdf Hopefully we will see a press release from Ryanair soon.

“Dear Juliusz…”. Sounds far too chummy when it’s a government regulator admonishing a company that’s treated its staff (if the various pilots are to be believed) and the public like dirt, consistently lied about its responsibilities and has a CEO whose charm combines the warmth of the Marquis de Sade with the integrity of Donald Trump.

(Please feel free to read in as broad an Oirish brogue as you can muster…)

Oh dear. I wish everyone would stop bleating and moaning about that nice Michael fella and his little airline. I mean, his sole job is to make money. For his shareholders. That’s what his shareholders want him to do. And I’ll tell yous, he’s just marvellous at it! So much so that his little airline is the biggest in Europe. Yes, I know, isn’t that brilliant! I mean, credit where credit is due: passenger numbers up 13% this last year, and profits up 6% to €1,316, which is mighty impressive given revenues were only up 2% in a very competitive market.

No, you’ve got to hand it to Michael and his lovely friendly little company. And sure, isn’t that what the free market system is all about. Maximise profits and shareholders’ dividends. I mean dear old ‘strong and stable’ Theresa just yesterday was waxing eloquently about how the free market system was just the greatest thing ever and how we should all be grateful for wonderful thoughtful business people like young Michael.

And now that nasty CAA are being all horrible to Michael, and him only trying to make a few euros for his lovely shareholders. Of course it’s a wee bit inconvenient to have your flights cancelled, or not to know if they’re going to be cancelled. But sure, there’s nothing like wee bit of a change to brighten up your day! No that CAA crowd – interfering busy-bodies – I mean wouldn’t we all be better off if all those regulators and sad old meddling government departments let lovely bright fellas like Michael get on with making all his lovely shareholders happy. All those regulations just get in the way! He’s not a naughty boy, he’s a true shining star!

God bless you, Michael!


John S. says:
29 September 2017

Lovely posting! Well done.

Very funny …you cheered me up!

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This is excellent news. Michael O’Leary deserves our congratulations for preventing half a million or so idiots from blithely polluting the planet in celebration of a ridiculous religious festival for a church that doubtless none of them ever otherwise go to or support.

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I don’t mean to sound smart but I decided years ago that I would never fly with Ryanscum. Cheap flights do not provide a reason to line the pockets of these people. I would also hesitate before using Easysxxx.

john pittendreigh says:
29 September 2017

This situation should be made illegal as hundreds of people who are looking forward to going away haven had thier hopes dashed
Ryanair should be fined or baned from holding a

John beaton says:
29 September 2017

Michael O’Leary should be sacked for this Shambles

philip wall says:
29 September 2017

You lot make me sick, you all know what a pratt oleary is yet you all will book on this poor excuse for an airline again, given 50p 0ff. good rides.

I have been concerned about the reports that have been forthcoming over the last week and previously about the working conditions of some of Ryanair’s pilots and probably in some other airlines too. They’ve talked about poor and abusive management and tiredness, I wouldn’t want to feel that anyone who was responsible for flying any aircraft was anything less than at their best, and comfortable in their employment, and when I hear vocabulary being used like we will “force pilots not to take their holidays” it appalls me and is indicative of the attitude of some management.

Hello again!

I was just having a wee look at Michael’s website (nice and colourful!) and I see one of his boys posted this undated, unbranded PDF one-pager (and a lot of lovely self-congratulatory fluff). It’s entitled “RYANAIR EXPLAINS HOW AND WHEN IT WILL RE-ROUTE CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS”

Here’s a wee link: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/fr-prod-static-pdf/Ryanair+Clarifies+Customer+Entitlements+Sept+29.pdf

He’s a bit of a lad, isn’t he…. keeping us all waiting. I think he posted it at 7 minutes to five o’clock. Punctual in all things, eh Michael?

I downloaded this pdf and see that it the author is shown as Danielle Ryan in file properties.

Really everyone, it is remarkably straight forward: if you are angry and you have been let down or dumped on by Ryanair, BOYCOTT THEM! It is only if and when the travelling public decides to give O’Reilly a kicking by refusing to fly with his airline that he will ever change his own mindset and thence the Flyandscare corporate culture which is (a) to deny responsibility and pass the buck (b) to deny any rights to compensation (c) to obfuscate and prevaricate and (d) to have to be dragged kicking and screaming to recognise and conform to statutory rights, duties and payouts.

It is in ordinary people’s hands: BOYCOTT – or expect more of the same.