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Ryanair Finds a Novel Way to Cut Costs on Passenger Compensation Claims

Ryanair Finds a Novel Way to Cut Costs on Passenger Compensation Claims
Jeff Edwards

A new study by the U.K-based consumer rights group Which? reveals that Ryanair’s decision to withdraw from a binding arbitration program has saved the company millions of dollars in both passenger compensation payments and fees associated with fighting the claims. Meanwhile, passengers have been left with a much more difficult path to recovering owed compensation.

Ryanair has found a novel way to avoid paying passenger compensation claims. Rather than fighting the validity of the claims, the Dublin-based carrier has instead reportedly decided to make filing the claims much more tedious in the first place. According to a new report, the technique has saved the company from paying out millions of dollars in rightfully owed passenger compensation claims.

The U.K. consumer protection group Which? reveals that when the budget carrier abruptly left the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)-approved arbitration program, Aviation ADR, in November of 2018, the number of disputes filed by passengers dropped from 14,000 in the previous eleven months to just 553 over the next four months. Aviation ADR ordered the company to pay more than $3 million to passengers when the organization oversaw compensation disputes. Since Ryanair left the program, passengers can now only file complaints directly with the CAA.

According to the Which? study, the airline not only saved more than $150 in administrative fees for each claim it was ordered to pay under the arbitration scheme, but the more complicated dispute resolution scheme in place now has also discouraged passengers from pursuing claims. The end result being that the airline has saved a “fortune.” The airline was also effectively released from any claims filed with arbiters after the company opted to leave the system.

“When the airline left the scheme in November 2018, the arbitrator rejected 854 complaints that it says arrived after that date and told those passengers to contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA),” the Which? study’s authors explained. “Only 87 passengers did this in the last month of 2018 and just 466 passengers in total complained to the CAA in the first quarter of 2019. This is despite the fact that, as Ryanair confirmed to us, there has been no ‘drop off’ in the number of claims since it left Aviation ADR.”

For its part, Ryanair says it has a policy of paying all valid claims within “an industry-leading ten days of receipt.” Despite this claim, the CAA announced shortly after the carrier left the binding arbitration agreement that the agency would begin enforcement action against the airline for denying valid compensation claims.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. Great White North

    October 5, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    There is a simple solution–just don’t fly Ryanair–consider the cost of the filing for compensation as part of the ticket, and suddenly Ryan just isn’t competitive anymore.

  2. FEasy

    October 7, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Whenever there is a problem with a flight, Ryanair will leave you stranded in the middle of the night with no alternative routes (unlike other airlines who ahve partnerships) and no support. Getting some money months afterwards doesn’t make up for that kind of grief. After two of those experiences, I decided not to gamble anymore with my family’s wellbeing and I make sure they are filterered out when I search for plane tickets.

  3. Gigantor

    October 7, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Never flown with Ryanair… and I never will.

  4. BOBAD

    October 8, 2019 at 6:31 am

    This is part of the deal when you choose to fly with Ryanair…..

    Pay peanuts – get monkeys.

    It’s your choice.

  5. onchanman

    October 9, 2019 at 4:35 am

    For straight EU261/2004 the UK small claims court is the answer. File the claim online and they’ll pay up.
    FWIW EasyJet have streamlined their claims process and are paying compensation within about 10 days. Last month they texted me 9 hours before departure informing me of a cancellation due to ATC problems, thus giving me plenty of time to rebook on another carrier. AND they not only refunded my fare (as you would expect) BUT they paid me the difference in the new fare on the other carrier. While other people are Slagging off Ryanair I’m telling everyone how wonderful EasyJet is. Go figure!

  6. BC Shelby

    October 9, 2019 at 9:06 am

    ….Ryanair, is company so obsessed with its bottom line, it takes it out on its customers. This is an airline which considered such “innovations” as “standing seats” to cram even more bodies into their planes and even pay loos.

    Definitely rates a “Flyer Beware” warning.

    I’m glad the ditched flying here to the States.

  7. fartoomanyusers

    November 16, 2019 at 5:41 am

    i had a fairly clearcut EU261 claim against Ryanair last year … and used the Resolver website to lodge my claim … and Ryanair coughed up pretty quickly.

    appreciate that with more complicated / less clearcut claims, getting money out of Ryanair maybe more difficult.

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