Flight rights: what you need to know

Today's ruling the EU court on the duty of care owed to passengers by airlines is significant. Our guide to how it could affect you.

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Travel trade group rejects Ryanair fare claims

by - Consumer Editor

Gillian Edwards, of travel trade association Abta, has said there is no reason today’s European Court of Justice ash cloud ruling should lead to a hike in air fares - but admitted that the EU regulations needed revisiting.

Today’s ruling does not in fact change the law, it just reinforces it. For the past nine years airlines have had to cover the costs of delays and cancellations under EU law.

Ryanair has already introduced a levy in 2011 to compensate for this so there is no reason that today’s ruling should result in a further increase in its fares.

Ryanair does raise a valid point, through this court case, that the EU regulations are perhaps now due for a review so that there is a sensible balance between looking after the passenger and airlines’ responsibilities.

– Gillian Edwards

Which? says airlines should not increase fares

The Which? consumer group said there is no reason airlines should increase fares in the light of the European Court of Justice ash cloud ruling.

Today's ruling by the European Court of Justice simply confirms the existing situation relating to the 2010 ash cloud travel disruption - that airlines should reimburse passengers for reasonable costs, including accommodation food and transport.

Airlines already account for compensation in their ticket costs, so there should be no reason for any airline to increase their prices as a result.

– Which? spokesperson


Travellers react to Ryanair compensation ruling

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Ryanair should have compensated passengers whose flights were cancelled because of volcanic ash in 2010.

Twitter users have been reacting to the ruling today:


Stop with the whinging & threats of higher air fares Michael O'Leary and pay-up #AshCloud


Michael O'Leary quick enough to take your money... then threatens to hike up fares when he doesn't get his own way..


Hard to say, but for probably the first time I actually agree with Michael O'Leary about the #ashcloud court case #compensationculture

UK travel association: Ryanair has responsibilities

Gillian Edwards, of travel trade association Abta, has said that today’s ruling by the EU’s top court means Ryanair cannot “wriggle out” of its obligations to customers.

She said:

Today's ruling doesn't change passengers' rights but it does show that Ryanair has the same obligations to its customers as any other airline and can't wriggle out of its responsibilities.

Bob Atkinson, of travelsupermarket.com, has urged passengers to contact airlines as soon as they are delayed to avoid requiring court action.

Ryanair boss: Air fares will 'inevitably' rise after ruling

by - Consumer Editor
Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary (left) has criticised the decision by the EU's top court. Credit: ITV News

In an interview for ITV News, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary predicts fares "inevitably" will rise and some airlines will go bust as a result of today's ruling on passenger compensation by the European Court.

He added that much of what has been claimed amounts to "crazy compensation".

Ryanair chief: Another crazy decision from the EU court

Ryanair boss Mike O'Leary said today's decision by the European Court was "crazy" and would result in increased airline prices for passengers across Europe. He told Sky News:

Why do we have to take responsibility for delays caused by others? Airlines will be sued by passengers for things that are beyond our control. This is another crazy decision from the EU court. We can't be responsible for providing compensation for the world and his mothers, for situations out of our control.


CAA reiterates advice on passenger flight claims

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has today reiterated its advice to passengers affected by flight delays and cancellations

It follows rulings in both the UK and European courts in favour of compensation to passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled.

These regulations are in place to protect people when things go wrong with their flights. Anyone with concerns that they are not being treated correctly by their airline can contact the CAA for advice or to make a complaint.

– CAA spokesperson

Read: Consumer Editor Chris Choi's analysis on Ryanair EU compensation ruling

Ruling changes airlines' responsibility to passengers

by - Consumer Editor
Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary.
Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary. Credit: Press Association

The relationship between passengers and airlines was rewritten this morning with a decision from the European Court.

The firm providing your flights will, in future, owe you a far greater duty of care and will have to look after you far more in the event of widespread disruption.

It is a huge decision which will add many many millions to airlines costs.

It means that future mass disruption could drive some airlines out of business completely. No doubt airlines will say they will have to increase fares to allow for this.

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