As labor unrest has hammered Ryanair, the carrier is only digging itself into a deeper hole by waging a two-front war against its own employees…and now its customers.
I’ve written twice this week about the labor issues currently going on and will not rehash them here. Today, I’ll focus on consumer side, where Ryanair has failed to take responsibility for flight delays and cancellations that have left thousands stranded.
Under EU261/2004, passengers experiencing long delays are entitled to €250-€400 cash, depending upon the distance of the flight.
Ryanair’s position is clear: we will reject all claims for compensation. While Ryanair said it “fully complies with all EU261 legislation,” it added:
As these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due. Under EU261 legislation, no compensation is payable when the union is acting unreasonably and totally beyond the airline’s control.
But Ryanair has two problems with this position. First, the European Court of Justice recently ruled that wildcat strikes do not excuse an airline from responsibility for compensation under EU261. A wildcat strike is a strike without the approval of union leaders. It’s still a strike. Nevertheless, Ryanair has distinguished between the two, arguing the court’s ruling is narrowly tailored to wildcat strikes only. But now Ryanair has a far serious new problem.
UK Government: Please Seek Compensation from Ryanair
Now the British government has weighed in, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issuing a statement urging passengers to seek EU261 compensation:
When a flight cancellation is caused by strike action by the airline’s employees, the airline is required to pay compensation to passengers in respect of the cancellation of the flight, if it has not warned passengers of the cancellation at least two weeks prior to the scheduled time of departure.
Ryanair did not warn passengers that far in advance of potential strikes due to labor unrest. The CAA has urged passengers to reach out to Ryanair directly for compensation.
Don’t forget meals and hotels, as well. Ryanair will likely fight those claims as well.
Quite frankly, any sympathy I have toward Ryanair goes right out the window when it spits on its customers, as it does here. I’m sorry that Ryanair is experiencing so much labor unrest this summer, but that is not the fault of the passengers. I do fault Ryanair for attempting to skirt personal responsibility. If Ryanair wants the public on its side as it wages war against its unions, it must take care of all passengers. By betraying passengers, Ryanair hints it is likely betraying its employees too.
What do you think? Is Ryanair to blame or are consumers taking advantage of the airline while it is down?
> Read More: Ryanair Strikes Expand Across Europe
> Read More: The Sudden Collapse Of Ryanair
Isn’t spitting on customers kind of Ryanair’s *business model*?
Thanks, Gary, you took the words right out of my mouth!
For most of its existence, consumers/flyers were seduced by Rynair’s low fares, and then became addicted to them no matter how toxic the consequences were likely to be, and no matter how low this airline went in leading the industry’s “Race to the Bottom” in pursuit of profits.
Meanwhile, as its ballsy leader, O’Leary (some might say loudmouth), frequently made headlines with his off the wall comments, in exchange for the promise of super low fares, everyone looked the other way, as the airline set the bar as low as possible in terms of customer service, did everything possible to evade union representation, has some of the lowest pay scales of any airline in the major industrialized/post imdistrialized world, and only recently, was cited as having among the worst/lowest ratios of female pilots of any airline (again, in of the major industrialized/post industrialized world).
Now the airline seeks to have it both ways – portray itself as the victim of out of control unions wreaking havoc on its operations, all while then flouting EU consumer protections/regulations, or as Matt puts it, “spitting in the face of its customers”.
Sidebar: is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the pattern of lawbreakers and persons of questionable character running many of our airlines such as Jeff Smisek (resigned after major political scandal with Port Authority of NY/NJ [“Chairman’s Flight”] more recently, Oscar Munoz, at United [sand, anyone?]; Michael O’leary at Ryanair [as ongoing and discussed above]; or really, even Doug Parker at American who has no problem picking the pockets of his flyers as he insists they fly planes he buys that, alas, are “not good enough” for his precious derriere to sit in – be it the too small, IFE-less, “no legroom” 30” pitch seats, of the loos, which, for sure if you’ve seen him in person as I have, there’s not a chance he can sit (or stand) in those pre-K kiddie sized seats or loos.
We’ve all made a “Faustian Bargain” (aka “deal with the devil”) with our airlines in the belief that low fares are worth the abuses, humiliations, and at many airlines of late the outright fraud, or even here at Ryanair, outlaw, lawbreaking actions of some airlines CEOs.
The question we now must ask ourselves as it appears there’s no low many of our airlines, such as Ryanair, where in this instance where it refuses to obey the laws and regulations in the market it has exploited for a very long time as it amassed great riches, is if the deals we’ve all made with these devils is worth making anymore?
Then again, let’s be fair here: the Ryanair of today is miles away from the Ryanair of five years ago. I avoided them for a very long time, but have recently had several flights with them and the overall standard has gone way up. The baggage policies are less draconian, the staff is much more pleasant, the website and app is actually kinda great and the company has become much more transparent.
And yes, their current conduct is dickish, but let’s not slide into old stereotypes here, like a bunch of angry old guys on the front porch.
Laws are laws. Unless you’re a certain someone who currently wants to believe he’s above the law in the USA, we don’t get to pick and choose which one’s we want to live by, or flout becuas they’re inconvenient.
So, yes, while the Ryanair of yore may not be as “draconian” as the one of today, the fact is, the’re assertimg that they’re above the law (or consumer protection regulations where non-payment can result in seizure of property/liens by legal entities for enforcement/payment), when they’re not.
Seeing as how Ryanair made an art form of nickel and diming its passengers ruthlessly, and created a culture where one only got what they paid for, and nothing more – with a byzantine labyrinth of rules they had to abide by, “or else” (as in penalties, additional fees, etc., when, byw, if they failed to comply with the airlines own rules which were intentionally rigged to tilt the balance of power in the airline’s favor to maximize its profits they paid dearly…), it’s hard to sympathize with its position now that it’s being unfairly “victimized” by its unions (as it’s claiming) and therefore is entitled to refuse proper compensation for flights that are delayed or canceled from the now ongoing industrial action of its employees, whom, btw, given its long documented history of hoarding profits for shareholders at the expense of those who help made the airline the success it is today, have every reason to feel aggrieved as they seek a fairer share of the wealth the now marooned passengers created in the first place!
Rules are rules!
Certainly the airline makes that clear when one flies them.
Now, Ryanair must play by the rules, too – or face the heavy hand of regulators it will so richly deserve if it continues to assert that they’re above the law itself.
Of course, the wording got transposed/wonky in the above in paragraph two (2).
The corrected copy is as follows:
So, yes, while the Ryanair of today may not be as “draconian” as the one of yore, the fact is, they’re asserting that they’re above the law (or consumer protection regulations where non-payment can result in seizure of property/liens by legal entities for enforcement/payment), when, the fact is, they’re not.
Our airlines (hilariously, ridiculously, hypocritically, etc.) like to have it both ways wherein for us as passengers whatever rule the airlines make we either abide by them – or face a wide array of fees, penalties and punishments.
Yet, they want to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they way – free of any responsibilities, obligations, or for passengers, rights (consumer protections, etc.)
For example, if we want to make changes to our flights, for most of us there’s an array of fees, service charges, penalties and punishments.
And if we “no show” (which the airlines claim leaves them in the lurch with an unsold seat, and is the “reason” they offer for either charging ridiculously high walk up fares, or non-restricted fares and/or now mostly complete forfeiture of fares paid for discounted tickets), we’re screwed.
But if the airlines make changes, often we have no say in the matter: either we accept the changes, or at best we thank our lucky stars if they “offer” us other flights free of change fees, or possibly money back that they’ll fight tooth and nail to offer as an ecredit for a future flight instead of an actual refund.
Even if we’re left in the lurch by the airline’s actions.
Now, we see the mother of all sleazy airlines, and perhaps the one that masterminded the “there is no low WE won’t go to” as we define, and lead, the airline industry in its “Race to the Bottom” whining about how IT’S being victimized by out-of-control /renegade unions who are leaving the airline in the lurch as its “excuse” to avoid paying the lawfully required EU compensation to passengers who are left in the lurch.
Now, THAT’s ‘rich’ – except for the passengers at Ryanair, and at many other airlines that seem to want to have things their way, and only THEIR way, who’ve seen their travel plans left in the lurch by Ryanair, and are now finding out the company they had a contract with, only believes contracts should apply when they’re holding flyers’ /passengers’ feet to the fire, but NOT the other way around.
Keep on at it Ryanair – it will only make for even worse headlines, angrier passengers whom you’ve screwed, which might just make it easier for everyone to finally say enough is enough with sleazy, hypocritical airlines who love making rules to better screw us, but hate being held accountable when THEY screw up! 😉
Stop playing the blame game, Ryanair. Take responsibility, pay your customers back, and provide the lawful EU compensation they are entitled to if you can’t deliver them as promised due to industrial action arising from your own managment decisions.
Just like you tell everyone else when they show up at the airport with a million and one “excuses” begging for a waiver from whatever bs fee you’ll charge them when they screw up.
In the above:
Yet, they want to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they WANT – free of any responsibilities, obligations, or for passengers, rights (consumer protections, etc.).
[Not “way” as written]
Ryanair is tough to get compensation from. During delays they rarely offer any meal vouchers and if they do, expect a value of 4-5 USD. Much better option is when they don’t since you can buy anything you want and get reimbursed easily afterwards.
“The price doesn’t matter… as long as it’s not expensive”.
I really think compensation under EU261 should be available to EU citizens only.
That’s ridiculous. If an American or Cambodian or Mexican is traveling in Europe and their flight from Amsterdam to Palermo is delayed by five hours, they are just as much — from a moral and ethical standpoint — entitled to compensation as somebody holding an EU passport.
Care to explain your logic?
I totally agree with Evan, because whilst I travel around Europe, as an American, local laws shouldn’t apply to me
Here in the UK it’s very easy to issue proceeding in court if Ryanair do not meet their obligations under EU261 and in that regard we are lucky. The judgement will almost certainly be found for the claimant and then Ryanair either have to pay up including claimant’s costs and fees. The baliff service will enforce if necessary as they did recently with a claim involving easyJet.
If you’re in the UK or bought a ticket for a flight departing the UK it’s called Moneyclaimonline and easy to use.
My family and I were stuck in the airport for over 4 hours without a plane traveling to Greece from Germany. My family lncluded a 7 month old baby. I had no idea about the compensation until ryans air employees told us to file and get a refund for our tickets and gave us a paper were to file. We did and the responses I got were, 1- even after 4 hours you decided to fly with us (didnt have many other choices) 2- it’s not our fault there’s a strike so we are not responsible. We travel ever year and I will try very hard never to fly with Ryan air. Between the extra charges for last minute things, late flights and the rudeness of employees I will look elsewhere.