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?