RYANAIR could replace planes with buses as the airline tries to limit the “£1billion compensation bill” for its cancelled flights shambles.
The company yesterday agreed to pay passengers affected for alternative flights, along with hotels and other expenses.
Travellers who want a refund have been told they will be first moved to the next available Ryanair flight on the same route or from/to a suitable alternative airport.
If this fails, then they will offer to fly the customer on Easyjet, Jet2, Vueling, Cityjet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
But if there are no seats available with their rivals either, the airline said it could to put passengers on “any comparable alternative transport”.
This could include hire cars, trains or even buses – with the cost assessed on a case by case basis.
Ryanair has also agreed to pay passengers “reasonable out-of-pocket expenses,” if they fill out an EU261 expense claim and provide receipts.
But some passengers who had already accepted refunds before yesterday’s announcement have reportedly complained of being locked out of the improved compensation offer.
Vasileios Ntontis told the Observer he accepted the offer of his money back before receiving an email saying the firm would cover the cost of a flight with another carrier.
He said: “But when I contacted them through their chat service they told me that I was not eligible as I had already opted for a refund.”
“When I said that they had not given me that option in the first place, they weren’t very cooperative and tried to avoid any further conversation.”
The airline promised to look into any issue where a customer believes they were misled into cancelling their flights.
The company said: “If any Ryanair customer on one of these disrupted flights believes that they may have chosen an option that was not suitable for them as a result of any misunderstanding of their EU261 rights, then they should write directly to Ryanair’s Director of Customer Services.
“Ryanair will assist them in any way it can to obtain their full EU261 rights and entitlements.”
The airline made the statement after meeting with Ireland’s Commission for Aviation Regulation.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has accused the Dublin-based carrier of “not complying with the law” over its handling of the fiasco.
Ryanair has pledged to send a “clarification email” to customers outlining their rights and explaining how and when they will booked onto other flights.
CAA guidelines state that if an airline cancels a flight it must offer passengers an alternative flight under European Union law.
Ryanair flight cancellations – what are your rights?
RYANAIR has cancelled hundreds of thousands of bookings up until the end of the year.
What can I do if my flight is cancelled
- Apply for a refund which you should receive within 7 days
- Rebook your flight
If you were notified of a flight cancellation more than 14 days in advance of a scheduled departure date then you’re entitled to compensation (up to £350) under EU rules.
If you want to rebook your flight
Ryanair must ensure you make it to your destination. This includes booking onto an alternative flight (even if it’s with another airline), taking a train, bus or hire car.
The budget airline must also pay for “reasonable expenses” these include accommodation, meals and refreshments. Keep receipts of everything you spend.
How to apply for compensation
If you do want to apply for compensation, then contact the airline directly.
Ryanair has the form on its website you need to fill-in.
Make sure you have all your details to hand, including your flight number and banks details you booked the flight with.
Customers “may have the right” to be booked onto flights by an alternative airline if it would mean reaching their destination “significantly sooner”.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers.
“We have taken on extra customer service staff and are moving now to process and expedite all EU261 claims from affected customers.
“We are committed to processing all such claims within 21 days of receipt and hope to have all such claims settled before the end of October.”