Ryanair settles over 90% of ash cloud claims

COMPENSATION: RYANAIR SAYS it has responded to all expense claims submitted by passengers after flight disruptions caused by…

COMPENSATION:RYANAIR SAYS it has responded to all expense claims submitted by passengers after flight disruptions caused by ash from an Icelandic volcano earlier this year.

The airline claims to have settled more than 90 per cent of expense claims but says that a “small number of claims” remain unresolved, six months after the passengers’ flight plans were disrupted. A spokesman blamed this delay on the failure of passengers to support their claims with receipts or said the claims were not reasonable: “Ryanair continues to correspond with this small group of passengers, to bring their claims to a resolution.”

He refused to say how many customers had sought refunds for cancelled flights or had submitted expense claims after being stranded abroad. The ash cloud that resulted from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (below) caused the cancellation of almost 10,000 Ryanair flights last April and May, causing disruption for 1.45 million passengers.

Ryanair processed all the requests for flight refunds it received by the end of June, but this was a relatively simple procedure because in most cases passengers hadn’t left home and the money could be refunded to their credit card.


The handling of expenses claims has proved more protracted, with some passengers complaining about the length of time the airline has taken to respond. One passenger said his claim was recently settled when Ryanair remitted one-third of the amount sought because all his claims were not backed up with receipts.

Aer Lingus said the ash cloud forced the cancellation of 2,128 of its flights and impacted on 272,000 customers. It received over 70,000 requests for ticket refunds from customers whose flights were cancelled and 17,000 claims for reimbursement of accommodation. The airline expects to pay out almost €20 million in refunds and claims.

At one stage, the Commission for Aviation Regulation was dealing with 200 complaints a week from passengers who were unhappy with the processing of their claims but the regulator says it is broadly happy with the way Irish airlines have dealt with the issue.

“The airlines did step up to the mark and, while there have been difficulties, in most cases we consider the resources they have devoted to be adequate and reasonable,” a spokeswoman said.

While generally the airlines have insisted on receipts before paying out on a claim, in some cases they have made payments where a passenger was unable to obtain a receipt, she said. The regulator is still dealing with a backlog of 100 complaints.

Ryanair originally said the disruption and resulting claims would cost it €50 million but last November, at the presentation of its half-year results, it reduced the projected cost of claims to €32 million because of “our experience of actual claims”.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.