Ryanair faces legal action over delay claim failuresRegulation holds airline to account

18 September 2015

RyanAir plane

Passengers who have been delayed on Ryanair flights are being urged not to be fobbed off if the airline rejects claims for compensation. 

Ryanair has been failing to pay proper compensation for delays caused by technical faults and is attempting to impose a two-year claim limit from the date of the flight.

As a result, the UK aviation regulator - the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) - is taking legal action against the Dublin-based airline. 

The CAA claims that Ryanair is not complying fully with European consumer law designed to support passengers following flight disruption.

Executive director of Which? Richard Lloyd said: 'The regulator is right to take legal action against any airline that is failing to comply with the law. 

'Airlines must be held to account and consumers should claim the compensation they are rightly owed if they have a lengthy delay and their carrier is at fault.'

Make sure you're not fobbed off by Ryanair - you can use our free tool to start your claim for flight delay compensation.

Six years to claim

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: 'The law is clear that compensation must be paid if a flight is delayed for more than three hours by a routine technical fault.

'It's also clear that air passengers have up to six years to issue a compensation claim at court. This position was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal last year.

'We are determined to ensure all airlines comply with this regulation.'

The CAA's review of airline policies has already led to Jet2, Aer Lingus and Wizz Air changing their positions.

But Ryanair insisted that it 'fully complies' with compensation rules, adding that they are 'a fundamental part of our customer charter'.

The airline's director of customer service Fiona Kearns said: 'Ryanair has requested an early meeting with the CAA to clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen in dealing with some historic cases.'

Make your compensation claim

On 17 September, the European Court of Justice found in favour of a Dutch couple who were refused compensation by KLM because of a delay caused by a technical problem.

This means many consumers who've had their compensation claims relating to technical faults put on hold should now have their claim accepted.

The Denied Boarding Regulation entitles air passengers delayed by three hours or more to claim up to €600, as long as the delay was not caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances'.

The regulation doesn't give a definition of extraordinary circumstances, which has led to a series of lengthy court battles over the past decade.

Don't let airlines fob off your claim - here are three key facts you need to know:

  • You have up to six years from the date of your flight to make a claim.
  • Airlines can only refuse your claim if the delay was as a result of 'extraordinary circumstances' - poor weather, natural disaster or industrial action.
  • Delays due to technical issues - whether spontaneous or discovered during routine maintenance - do not count as an extraordinary circumstance.

For more information you can use our advice on claiming flight delay compensation.

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