What to do if your Ryanair flight has been cancelled

Over the past few months, Ryanair has caused flight chaos, cancelling flights to multiple destinations around the world.

In case you’ve missed it, the airline initially cancelled up to 50 flights each day through to the end of October, affecting around 315,000 passengers. They then cancelled another 18,000 flights between November and March, affecting another 400,000 passengers.

If you’re one of the passengers whose Ryanair flight has been cancelled, you might be wondering what you should do next. Here’s our quick guide…

Consider your options

If your flight is cancelled, you have two options. Firstly, you can apply for a full refund. Even if only one leg of the flight is cancelled, you are still entitled to a refund for both journeys, assuming you don’t want to fly on the remaining flight.

The other option is to choose an alternative flight. In most cases, Ryanair will offer you another flight with them, usually one on an earlier or later date. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, if the airline fails to offer you a place on an alternative Ryanair flight within a reasonable timescale, then you are entitled to be booked on a suitable flight with a different airline at no extra cost.

Arranging your own alternative flight

If you decide to request a refund and then arrange your own alternative flight, you’re well within your rights to do so. However, it’s worth noting that, if you choose this course of action, you’ll no longer be entitled to any compensation. So, if the replacement flight costs more than your original flight, you’ll be left out of pocket.

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Claiming additional compensation

If your Ryanair flight is cancelled, you may also be entitled to claim additional compensation, but that depends upon a number of factors, including when the airline notified you of the cancellation.

For example, in the first wave of the recent spate of Ryanair cancellations, many passengers were given less than a week’s notice. Under EU regulations, these passengers would have been entitled to compensation, even if they were found an alternative flight.

If you were given more than 14 days’ notice of your cancellation, you will not be entitled to any compensation at all.

Less than 14 days’ notice

If you received less than 14 days’ notice, and the alternative flight you were offered arrived more than four hours later than your original flight, you can claim around £220 in compensation.

If the new flight re-routes you via another airport, resulting in a longer flight, you can still claim compensation but you will be awarded a lower rate. On a short-haul flight that arrives at least 2 hours late, you can claim approximately £110 whilst, on a medium-haul re-routed flight that arrives at least three hours late, you’ll be able to claim around £176, depending on the time of take-off.

Less than 7 days’ notice

If you have received less than 7 days’ notice of your cancellation, the regulations are tighter.

For example, a short-haul flight only needs to arrive more than two hours after your original scheduled arrival time for you to claim 250 euros. If your new, short-haul flight is re-routed, taking off more than an hour before your original flight, but arriving two hours after it, you can claim 125 euros.

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