Today, on Breakfast the story about Ryanair’s cancellations was run. During the story the presenter stated that for cancellations more than 2 weeks prior to the date of travel there was no compensation payable. Whilst this is true for the EU compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 (the well known compensation scheme for cancellations, delayed flights and denied boarding) it is not the case for your rights under contract law.
The presenter also said that the wasted cost of your holiday that you had paid for but could not enjoy and could not recover your money would not be recoverable. Whilst this would not fall under the compensation scheme of EC 261/2004 it could still be claimed for and recovered under contract law.
Legally speaking, Ryanair has a contract with everyone it has sold tickets to and if it cancels those flights it is in breach of the contract and should be liable for the consequential loss that follows from the cancellation, this is separate to and in addition to the EU compensation scheme which gives fixed amounts of compensation for flights where the flight has been cancelled, your arrival delayed or you have been denied boarding.
The breach of contract claim will still be available even if the cancellation was more than 2 weeks prior to the date of travel. I would add that following you being made aware of the cancellation you will have to take reasonable steps to “mitigate” your losses, which would mean trying to minimise your financial loss caused by the cancellation, this might mean seeking to cancel your hotel if possible.
You may also have a claim for the disappointment caused by the loss of your holiday (if that it what was lost by the cancellation) although this is likely to be a minimal amount.
Ryanair are based in Ireland. They do not have an English address for serving any legal documents and these will have to be posted to its Irish registered office (Ryanair DAC of Corporate Head Office, Airside Business Park, Swords, Co Dublin , Ireland). They will no doubt make it difficult to obtain any compensation but don’t let that deter you.
There are a couple of options if they do not pay up:
- The European Small Claims Procedure for claims worth up to €2,000.
- The Aviation Ombudsman (Ryanair have signed up to this scheme and so will be bound by a finding by the Aviation Ombudsman against it), the Ombudsman scheme is operated via an online portal.
If you are having difficulty getting your compensation paid by Ryanair, call Nick for legal advice, I am a senior solicitor 0n 01925 759 510 or complete the contact form on the right of this page.