Q&A: All you need to know about Ryanair flight cancellations

Why is the airline cancelling flights and how can you claim compensation

2 per cent of Ryanair flights are being cancelled across its vast pan-European network affecting almost 350,000 journeys. Conor Pope reports.


What on earth is going on with Ryanair?

More than 300,000 Ryanair passengers have had their travel plans thrown into disarray as a result of a rolling programme of flight cancellations that will hit 2 per cent of all of the airline’s flights between now and the end of October. And the manner in which the airline has handled the story could most kindly be described as shambolic.

Why is the airline cancelling so many flights?

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary blamed a “messed-up” rostering system and a need to give pilots “lots of holidays over the next four months”. He said the roster issues arose due to a change in the way the airline records flight hours. Under EU rules, pilots can only fly 900 hours a year, and 100 hours in any month. For a 10-year stretch the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) recorded flight hours for a 12-month period starting in April, while other EU countries recorded flight hours from January. The IAA said Ryanair now has to fall into step with the EU, so many Ryanair pilots reached their annual number of flight hours in September.

Anything else?

Yes. O’Leary also cited punctuality problems. He said that since the beginning of September punctuality levels across the network had fallen from 90 per cent to close to 60 per cent. By cancelling flights the airline could have more crews available to deal with issues such as air-traffic control disputes and bad weather and get its punctuality back on track. He said that cancellations would hit 2 per cent of its passengers, while late flights would have hit close to 50 per cent of them over the same period.

What impact has all this had on the airline?

It has lost as much as €2.1 billion of its market value since the middle of last week, as the carrier’s move to cancel flights added to the impact of a potentially costly European court ruling on employment conditions. And the company estimates that it will lose about €25 million when the compensation costs and the cost of refunds are totted up.

Do we know what flights are to be cancelled?

Yes, finally. Over the weekend a huge cloud of uncertainty hung over the entire airline, but it is now publishing details of all cancellations on its website. At least one of 23 “lines of flights” is to be removed from Dublin Airport.

A line of what now?

A line of flight refers to the airport in which an aircraft begins and ends its day. Other affected airports include Barcelona, Brussels, Lisbon, London Stansted, Madrid, Milan Bergamo, Porto and Rome.

List of Dublin cancellations with full list across Europe available at https://www.ryanair.com/ie/en/useful-info/help-centre/travel-updates/flight-cancellations7

Tuesday September 19th:

FR8556 Dublin -Berlin Schonefeld

FR8557 Berlin -Schonefeld Dublin

FR 5774 Dublin -Glasgow

FR5773 Glasgow -Dublin

FR1901 Dublin -Krakow

FR1902 Krakow -Dublin

Wednesday September 20th

FR3105 Amsterdam -Dublin

FR509 Bristol- Dublin

FR 22 Dublin -Paris Beauvais

FR 554 Dublin -Manchester T3

FR 3104 Dublin- Amsterdam

FR 508 Dublin -Bristol

FR 555 Manchester T3- Dublin

FR 23 Paris Beauvais -Dublin

Thursday September 21st

FR504 Dublin - Bristol

FR505 Bristol - Dublin

FR1986 Dublin - Nantes

FR1987 Nantes - Dublin

FR1958 Dublin - Nice

FR1959 Nice - Dublin

FR1982 Dublin - Biarritz

FR1983 Biarritz - Dublin

Friday September 22nd

No Dublin cancellations announced

Saturday September 23rd

FR1984 Dublin - Carcassone

FR1985 Carcassone - Dublin

FR1958 Dublin - Nice

FR1959 Nice - Dublin

FR1986 Dublin - Nantes

FR1987 Nantes - Dublin

Sunday September 24th

FR504 Dublin - Bristol

FR505 Bristol - Dublin

FR1986 Dublin - Nantes

FR1987 Nantes - Dublin

FR1958 Dublin - Nice

FR1959 Nice - Dublin

FR1982 Dublin - Biarritz

FR1983 Biarritz - Dublin

Mondays: September 25th, October 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd

FR672 Dublin - Birmingham

FR673 Birmingham - Dublin

FR26 Dublin - Paris B

FR29 Paris B - Dublin

FR9428 Dublin - Milan B

FR9429 Milan B - Dublin

Tuesdays: 26th September, October 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th

FR26 Dublin - Paris B

FR29 Paris B - Dublin

FR9428 Dublin - Milan B

FR9429 Milan B - Dublin

FR211 Dublin - London S

FR212 London S - Dublin

Wednesdays: Sepember 27th and October 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

FR9428 Dublin - Milan B

FR9429 Milan B - Dublin

FR506 Dublin - Bristol

FR507 Bristol - Dublin

Thursdays: September 28th and October 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th

FR26 Dublin - Paris B

FR29 Paris B - Dublin

FR46 Dublin - Brussels C

FR47 Brussels C - Dublin

FR3978Dublin - Madrid

FR3979 Madrid - Dublin

Fridays: September 29th and October 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th

FR22 Dublin - Paris B

FR23 Paris B - Dublin

FR664 Dublin - Birmingham

FR665 Birmingham - Dublin

FR7156 Dublin - Madrid

FR7157 Madrid - Dublin

Saturdays: September 30th Sept and October 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th

FR7156 Dublin - Madrid

FR7157 Madrid - Dublin

FR552 Dublin - Manchester

FR553 Manchester - Dublin

Sundays: October 1st, 8th 15th and 22nd

FR7156 Dublin - Madrid

FR7157 Madrid - Dublin

FR202 Dublin - London S

FR205 London S - Dublin

FR1452Dublin - Brussels

FR1453 Brussels - Dublin

What rights do I have if my flight has been cancelled?

If Ryanair cancels your flight it must offer you the choice of an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity or at a later date of your choice, subject to the availability of seats, or a full refund of the ticket. The airline can also offer comparable transport to the final destination if no alternative flight with the carrier is available. If a destination is served by several airports, Ryanair may offer a flight to an alternative airport to that originally booked. Ryanair is then obliged to bear the cost of transferring passengers to the airport that they had originally booked or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

Does it have to put me on a flight operated by another airline?

No, it does not. Some airlines choose to do this. Ryanair is not one of them.

What if I am overseas and my new flight is not leaving for three days after the original flight?

Ryanair has a duty of care to you and you must be offered care and assistance free of charge while waiting for the next flight - specifically, reasonable meals and refreshments in relation to the waiting time, hotel accommodation in cases where an overnight stay becomes necessary, transport between the airport and place of accommodation and two telephone calls, emails, faxes or telexes.


Okay, we can’t imagine there will be a big telex bill coming Ryanair’s way, but it is in the rules.

What else?

The Commissioner for Aviation Regulation has warned Ryanair passengers stranded abroad to stay with the airline if they want compensation. Anyone who decides to come home with another airline will not be eligible for compensation or care and assistance, commissioner Cathy Mannion said.

“Ryanair has a duty to provide care and assistance for any passengers overseas. They will have to provide hotel accommodation until they can get them out. It is important to stay with Ryanair,” Ms Mannion said.

What about compensation?

Ryanair will most likely have to compensate you, although that will depend on when you are notified of the cancellation, the distance of the flight and the reason for the cancellation.

If Ryanair can prove the cancellation was caused by an extraordinary circumstance which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken, no compensation is payable.

If the distance is 1,500km or less, the amount payable is €250, and if it is between 1,500km and 3,500km, the amount due will be €400. It is very important to note that compensation is distinct from and separate to the notion of reimbursement of expenses and/or the refund of the cost of an unused flight ticket.

How do I make a claim?

If you make a claim for expenses or compensation from Ryanair, you must contact the airline directly. Ryanair aims to deal with your application within four to six weeks. It is important to remember that Ryanair is not required to pay compensation if the cancellation was outside of their control.

The form for flight refunds can be found here: https://refundclaims.ryanair.com/

The form for expense claims can be found here: https://eu261expenseclaim.ryanair.com/

The form for disruption compensation can be found here:

https://contactform.ryanair.com/?cr=eu261&lg=en&id=78Once Ryanair has finished dealing with a claim, if a customer does not agree with their decision, they can refer the matter to: The Commission for Aviation Regulation. Third Floor, Alexandra House, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, or apr@aviationreg.ie; aviationreg.ie.

I have had to curtail my weekend break because of the cancellations. I had paid for car hire and a hotel in advance. I can’t get that money back, will Ryanair compensate me for that?

No, it will not. Or at least it is not under any legal obligation to do that. Your best bet is to try and claim any losses off your travel insurance policy. Although that does assume you have travel insurance and that such eventualities are covered by it.

What damage will this do to Ryanair long-term?

Well, Michael O’Leary has said its flight cancellations “will have a reputational impact”, but Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy at Warwick Business School who has researched the airline industry, said the airline would weather the storm. “Despite the current general annoyance about this matter, given Ryanair’s fast growth, expanding route network, and tempting value proposition, this incident is unlikely to have a lasting effect on Ryanair’s performance,” he said.