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Making a claim against an airline for cancellation of a flight. - Tue 25th January 2011

Making a claim against an airline for cancellation of a flight.

My personal experience

Yes, we all have to get caught out on the odd occasion and this time it was my turn.

Having booked a return flight with Ryanair UK Ltd (Gatwick-Alicante), both myself and a partner were caught up in the cancellation of the return flight due to the closure of airspace. Although not desperate to get out of Spain, the earliest date for a flight with Ryanair was two weeks away, so we simply booked with Monarch airlines on the trusty laptop for a flight leaving in 6 days. Time was not wasted with a laptop to hand.

One month after my return to the UK, Ryanair kindly refunded the return flight, but sadly would not accept my claim for compensation of a cancelled flight under (EC) Regulation No 261/2004 *(see next paragraph), and responded  by stating that any such claim should be claimed from my insurer. After submitting documents and drawing their attention to the issue and the regulation it was rejected twice, on the basis that I had chosen to use another airline to fly back to the UK, even though it mitigated further losses. Ryanair  then stated that their decision was final and further correspondence would not be entered into. I therefore sought settlement through the small claims court, which was more driven because of their tone than anything else.

*Under (EC) Regulation No 261/2004  (article 9) you are entitled to compensation for additional accommodation costs, food and travel cost between hotel or other to the airport, but Ryanair would not accept the European regulation.

Whilst it may well be unfair to airlines that claims are brought against them for circumstances beyond their control, it is incumbent upon the airline to be insured for this, or as is the case, airlines are claiming from the government for unnecessary closure of airspace for their losses. The (EC) Regulation was put in place to protect travellers that have had their flight cancelled, irrespective of cause.

Making a claim for compensation on cancellation of a flight is straightforward in most cases, but this was due to the ‘ash crisis' back in April 2010 and with Ryanair........oh dear. Ryanair are not known in the forums for being very helpful in meeting the simplest of claims, but airspace closure??? This was going to be a challenge.

To cut a long story short they kindly settled out of court with £700 out of the £800 claim.

If you ever need to communicate and take action against Ryanair, under similar circumstances, then you may well find the following helpful after issuing proceedings against them

Address, as it is not easy to find;

Ryanair UK Ltd
Satellite 3
London-Stanstead-Airport
Essex CM24 1RW

Firstly, Ryanair say they will defend the case.

Then the secretary of Ryanair UK at Stanstead will send an application to the judge stating that Ryanair UK is a dormant UK company and that it did not enter into an agreement with the Claimant.

The file then goes to the District Judge for directions, which usually results in a mediator being appointed to hear your case, which you can agree to do.

In the meantime, the Secretary of Ryanair UK will write to you asking to settle the claim and to phone him on his personal number. He will include  a notice to discontinue the claim in the letter.

The deal is about 50 Euros per person accommodation per day plus allowance of travel and food. If your claim is not excessive and falls within these boundaries then you may want to consider accepting the offer. If not then let the secretary submit your claim to Ireland for further consideration.

The secretary then confirms the offer in writing to you.

You then send a letter of acceptance and withdrawal of the case.

Many have been successful suing Ryanair in Ireland, for which many Forums advise that it only costs about 15 Euros to do, so you could try that.

Ryanair Holdings PLC
Ryanair Corporate Headquarters,
Dublin Airport,
Dublin,
Co Dublin,
Ireland

To my understanding, if you took off or landed in the UK; then a UK court has jurisdiction, and the applicant can choose where to start the claim.

The moral of the story is do not be put off making a claim, particularly as there is an EC regulation that supports such a claim.

It is a pity that some companies are simply unreasonable and in this case downright difficult.

Hope the above is helpful to those who have or may have a similar experience in the future with an airline.

Bruce

Posted by Bruce Gibson

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