Ryanair passengers were left reeling after being offered roughly £3 (€4) worth of airport vouchers and spending the night sleeping on “plastic airport chairs.” The flight is reported to have taken off “over eight hours” behind schedule, with customers’ right to compensation being called into question.
A Twitter user named Peter Swann reported: “Ryanair delayed flight FR1906 by more than eight hours and yet Ryanair confirm they will not provide accommodation.
“Only a €4 voucher- not enough to buy any food. Flouting EU law pretty hard there.”
He went on to say: “Staff denied knowing the departure time had been delayed by a further five hours before they were shown the automated text messages sent by @Ryanair to passengers, at which point they conceded that was true. Is this intentional to avoid compensation?”
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Following the incident, the budget airline issued a statement suggesting that passengers were given more than one of the vouchers. They said: “This flight from Bari to London Stansted was delayed ahead of take-off due to a minor technical issue with the aircraft.
“All impacted customers were contacted by SMS text message and email and advised of their options of a full refund or free move onto the next available flight and were provided with three sets of refreshment vouchers.
“Customers boarded a replacement aircraft which departed to London Stansted early the following morning. Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this delay.”
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Ryanair also noted that hotel accommodation was not arranged due to insufficient time. Passengers were required to be at the airport for 4:20am in advance of the re-scheduled flight.
Meanwhile, according to Ryanair’s website in the case of a delay passengers will be notified in advance and given the option to re-route or refund after two hours.
EU law specifies this option does not have to be given until the five-hour mark.
According to Ryanair’s website: “We understand the inconvenience of flight delays and we’ll try our best to minimise the impact of these disruptions.
“Although the law only requires us to provide you with a refund or re-route option following a delay of more than five hours, Ryanair offers you these choices at the two-hour point.
“You may still choose to take your flight. If so, please check airport screens to see the latest updates.”
Ryanair: The delayed flight took off for Stansted “over eight hours” late
What is EU law surrounding flight delays?
According to EU law, if a flight is delayed long enough the affected airline responsible for giving food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if they are delayed overnight.
If accommodation is required passengers are also entitled to journeys between the airport and hotel.
Often airlines, such as Ryanair, offer vouchers for the listed things at the airline.
Citizens advice UK suggests: “If they don’t give you help at the airport, keep receipts for expenses and try to claim from the airline later.
“Airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ expenses – you are unlikely to get money back for alcohol, expensive meals or luxury hotels.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co emphasised the importance of passenger’s knowing their rights.
He explained: “Many passengers are still not aware that they have more rights than they think if their flight is delayed or cancelled.
“If the disruption is not caused by extraordinary circumstances – for example, technical faults or cabin crew sickness – passengers may be able to claim up to 600 Euros.
“EU Regulation 261/2004 also includes care and assistance rules that airlines must adhere to if passengers are stuck at the airport and have been delayed by two-four hours or have had their flight cancelled.
“Food and drink vouchers should be provided as well as means for passengers to communicate, including being entitled to a telephone call and an email.
“Accommodation must be provided if passengers are delayed overnight and transport to and from the accommodation and the airport must also be provided.”