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Can an airline just cancel my flight without giving any reason?

Travel Q&A: A reader’s return Ryanair flight from Seville for a wedding was cancelled — rebooking will cost time and money

Sometimes you hear of big policy decisions taken by major companies and you shrug and figure that it won’t have any impact on your life.

Sometimes, however, these big corporate decisions can have a significant impact on our lives and — in certain cases — throw our travel plans into disarray while leaving us entirely oblivious to what is going on.

“I’m attending a wedding with my wife and child in Seville and booked flights from Dublin with Ryanair,” begins a mail from a reader called Eoghan.

“Since booking these I’ve been informed that my return flight which was due to depart on Sunday, December 10th at 4.30pm has been cancelled and I need to book on to another flight either one day before or after.”


If he were to rebook for a day earlier than planned he would miss the wedding which would render the purpose of the family’s trip pointless. This means he has been left with no choice but to change his plans and fly home on the Monday at 6.50pm.

“With a child, this time is less convenient and my wife and I need to take an extra day off work, not to mention the hassle of reorganising accommodation and having to phone Ryanair to reschedule our flight,” he says.

He also highlights the additional costs.

“I can tolerate this hassle if there is a legitimate reason, however none was provided in the original email and when I asked the Ryanair assistant on the phone she was not able to give me a reason either. I asked who could I contact to find out and she said nobody. Is there any way this can be found out? If the reason is that Ryanair have projected the flight won’t be at capacity and as a result more profitable to merge flights this would be very frustrating and unfair.”

Dublin-based aircraft

We decided to try and find out what was behind the cancellation. The good news is we had more success than Eoghan. That, sadly, is where the good news ends.

We contacted Ryanair and a spokeswoman said that the schedule changes “are directly related to Boeing delivery delays announced on Thursday, Sept 28th.

As a result of the delays, Ryanair now has three fewer Dublin-based aircraft than it thought it would have. “We have had to roll out a number of flight cancellations/changes in Dublin between October and December and your reader’s original flight from Seville to Dublin was just one of these regrettable schedule changes,” she said.

She stressed that the changes have “been forced upon us by Boeing delivering just 14 out of 27 contracted aircraft this side of Christmas. Your reader was given over 2½ months’ notice of this schedule change and was offered changed flights or a full refund in line with our terms and conditions. We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience caused to him and his family due to this unavoidable schedule change in mid-December.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast