An EU agency is issuing advice to passengers caught up in the Ryanair flights cancellation debacle.
The UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) , an agency funded by the European Union, is urging British holidaymakers hit by the cancellations to note that EC Regulation 261/2004 legislation protects consumers when their flights are cancelled.
(UK ECC) has also pledged to offer free help and advice to consumers if they need it. Ryanair says that the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff holidays.
What does this mean for you?
If your flight has been cancelled then the airline is obliged to offer you a full refund or re-routing to your final destination.
If you chose to get a refund then you should be paid within seven days of the request. If you chose to be re-routed then this should be at the airline's earliest opportunity.
You may also be entitled to receive compensation, depending on when you are informed of the cancellation and its reason.
If you are informed of the cancellation more than 14 days before the scheduled departure, then the airline does not have to provide compensation.
If the airline cancels the flight within 14 days of the scheduled departure it has to pay compensation, but in certain circumstances this may be reduced.
What should you do next?
If your flight has been cancelled then you should contact Ryanair to arrange a refund or re-routing. You should ask for the appropriate amount of compensation to be paid as well.
If you are stuck on holiday then you should keep any receipts for extra expenses for overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments whilst you wait for your re-routed flight. It should be possible to claim these costs back on top of any compensation due under the Regulations.
Adam Mortimer, consumer advisor at the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC), said: "This is a time of distress and anger for many passengers whose flights are due in the next few weeks. The company has now released a full list of affected flights and is said to be contacting consumers directly if their flights have been cancelled.
Thousands of holiday-makers were originally left clueless as to the status of their flights.
"It still means that passengers may either be left unable to get to their destination when they expect to or even worse, not be able to get home from their trip when they want to.
"It's important that consumers know that EC Regulation 261/2004 is there to protect them, but if you do not get the response that you are hoping for from the airline then please contact the UK European Consumer Centre for free advice on 01268 886690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
What is the UK ECC?
The UK European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 30 centres in the EU, plus Iceland and Norway. The aim of the network is to provide advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK. The Network will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.
UK ECC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel.
UK ECC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the European Commission.
The UK ECC provides advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK and will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.
Consumers can make contact with the UK European Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 weekdays between 9am and 5pm.
If in doubt before you buy, contact our sister organisation – the European Consumer Centre for Services – for pre-purchasing advice: www.ukecc-services.net