Ryanair faces enforcement action from the Civil Aviation Authority following another wave of flight cancellations.
The airline cancelled an extra 18,000 flights between November and March – taking the total toll of people affected to more than 700,000 and leaving passengers’ plans for the festive season up in the air.
The CAA has accused Ryanair of ‘persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information’ regarding their rights in recent cancellations that saw the suspension of 34 routes this winter.
Ryanair said it has emailed all of the affected customers offering them the choice between a refund or an alternative flight. Passengers will also receive a travel voucher worth £40 one-way or £80 return for travel between October and March 2018. But, crucially, this voucher can’t be used over the festive season, as an exemption applies from 20 December 2017 to 7 January 2018.
Further disruption for Ryanair passengers comes in the same month that the airline announced plans to shelve up to 50 flights a day until 31 October, affecting 315,000 passengers.
Find out your rights if you’ve been hit by the latest cancellations.
Affected Ryanair routes
Ryanair will fly 25 fewer planes between November 2017 and March 2018, and has suspended several routes popular with British travellers over Christmas and New Year. These include Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast, Newcastle to Faro and Glasgow to Las Palmas.
The airline said that cancelling thousands of flights over the winter period would ‘eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations’.
Alex Neill, managing director of Which? home and product services, said: ‘This situation is a complete and utter shambles that now extends to up to nearly three quarters of a million people. The news means that for some of its passengers, Ryanair has effectively cancelled Christmas.
‘On top of leaving the travel plans of many in tatters, offering a £40 voucher will be cold comfort for passengers that can’t book the flight they need.’
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Alternative flights, refunds and your rights
Those who have been hit by the latest wave of cancellations are not eligible for compensation under EU law because they have been provided with more than two weeks’ notice.