What are your rights if your Ryanair flight is cancelled?

Ryanair staff on board go on strike. At least 19,000 travelers will not be able to take off at the scheduled time, reports say La Derniere Heure. What are you entitled to as a traveller?

Ryanair cabin crew are on strike from Friday 30 December to Sunday 1 January and the first weekend of the new year (7 and 8 January). This was announced by the Flemish trade union ACV Puls and its French-speaking counterpart CNE already last week. According to the French-language newspaper La Derniere Heure it involves 107 flights in the first weekend and 19,000 travelers will be affected. These are primarily flights departing from Charleroi with Belgian staff on board. Destinations include Tenerife, Dublin, Malaga, Lisbon and Marrakech. What can you do if your flight is cancelled?

What are your rights if your flight is cancelled?

When an airline’s staff goes on strike, the company cannot talk about force majeure. Therefore, the airlines must rebook the flight at no extra cost or refund the ticket. It is also possible to request further compensation and refunds, Simon November, spokesperson for Test-Achats, explained to this newspaper earlier this year.

First of all, the airline must notify you by email or SMS. “The notice must include links that you can click on to request compensation.”

On a new flight, a passenger is also entitled to two free telephone calls, an overnight stay or transport if necessary or meals and refreshments. The latter must be in proportion to the waiting time’, adds November.

Can airlines also give you a voucher instead of rebooking or refunding?

Vouchers are no longer distributed as compensation. They no longer comply with European legislation. It is good to know that some airlines do not comply with these rules and still saddle you with a receipt. But this often provides no guarantee. In the event of bankruptcy, you lose your money.

How can you claim such additional compensation?

If the airline cancels a flight or there is a delay of more than three hours, you as a traveler are entitled to additional compensation. Also when your flight is refunded. “The EU Court of Justice has ruled that a cancellation gives the same right to compensation as a long delay,” says Mia Wouters, aviation law expert at Ghent University.

“Whether you choose a new flight or a refund of your booking, you can claim compensation from the airline if your flight is cancelled,” adds November. “Unless you were given two weeks’ notice.” If you were notified two weeks to seven days before the flight, you can get compensation if your new flight takes off more than two hours later or lands four hours later. Do you only hear the news the week before you travel? So you can already get compensation if your flight departs one hour later or arrives two hours later than the canceled flight.

Please note: the company does not have to pay this compensation if the cancellation is the result of force majeure. This is the case, for example, when airport security staff strike, as was the case last summer.

What amounts are we talking about?

November: ‘For flights up to and including 1,500 kilometers it is 250 euros, for flights of more than 1,500 kilometers within the EU and flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers it is 400 euros. For all other flights it is 600 euros.’ The amounts can be halved for more limited delays.

How can you get that compensation?

“With most airlines, you can simply submit the claim via the website,” says Wouters. “You complete the requirement and you get the money. They are usually very right about that. If it doesn’t work, you can contact the Directorate General for Aviation, FPS Mobility. That department deals exclusively with aviation law.’ The form is available on their website. At Ryanair, you can request your compensation here.

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