Ryanair clarifies refund policy and offers to put passengers on rival airlines

Michael O’Leary built Ryanair’s success on flying to smaller airports such as Weeze in the Lower Rhine region of Germany where in 2004 he was

Michael O’Leary built Ryanair’s success on flying to smaller airports such as Weeze in the Lower Rhine region of Germany where in 2004 he was

RYANAIR HAS GIVEN the details of how it will re-route or compensate the thousands of customers affected by its widespread flight cancellations, ahead of a deadline from a United Kingdom watchdog.

The CAA's chief executive Andrew Haines yesterday said he was "furious" the airline was not complying with the law.

The Commission requires that all customers affected by Ryanair's recent flight cancellations are aware of their EU261 rights and entitlements, including full refunds, or reaccommodation on other Ryanair flights or other transports options and expenses.

Ryanair cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October, affecting 315,000 passengers.

The airline initially blamed a rota mistake, leading to a shortage of available pilots.

Among other complaints, the United Kingdom regulator said Ryanair had repeatedly failed to inform passengers about all the expenses they could reclaim in connection with flight changes.

The airline was threatened with prosecution by Britain's aviation regulator for misleading passengers after 400,000 more travellers were affected by cancelled flights.

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Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said: "We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers".

Passengers have expressed frustration with the airline, with many left out of pocket due to a lack of alternative flights and accommodation bookings they can no longer use.

A Ryanair internal memo allegedly instructed call centre staff to offer flights with other carriers - provided the price "does not exceed three times the value of the original Ryanair fare". The latest announcement will affect 34 routes, including London-Belfast and Hamburg-Oslo. A further 18,000 services stretching through March were cancelled Wednesday by the company, which was already facing criticism over its management of the issue and the impact on customers.

It instructed Ryanair to change details on its official website by the afternoon deadline.

It comes after the regulator accused the airline of "not complying with the law" over its handling of the fiasco.

He said all passengers had been given a 40 euro (35.10 pounds) travel voucher per affected flight and that he hoped all compensation under European Union rules would be processed by the end of October. It appears that Ryanair has now capitulated.

Earlier: The Taoiseach has said he expects Ryanair to ensure that passengers' rights are protected.

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