Ryanair Loses EU Fight Over Ash Cloud Row

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A court has ruled Ryanair flouted EU law by refusing to pay out cash to a customer left stranded by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud three years ago. Denise McDonagh from Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) was due to fly back to Dublin from Faro on April (Paris: FR0004037125 - news) 17, 2010, but was trapped in Portugal for a week after the eruption closed down much of European airspace for nine days. She ran up hotel, meal and refreshment bills of 1,130 euro (£940), and submitted them to the airline when she returned to Ireland. But the company refused to reimburse her, claiming the consequences of the eruption were so unexpected they could not count as 'extraordinary circumstances'.
I’m not so sure I’m in agreement with the ruling. This was one occasion where Ryanair had absolutely no control. If the authorities shut down airspace, then they can’t fly. I am of the opinion that it is the authorities who ordered the shutdown that should foot this bill. There are still those who say a complete shutdown was unnecessary.
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Ash Cloud Mre here: http://www.airportsinternational.com/2013/01/ryanair-loses-ash-cloud-court-case/12026 This is a tricky one. I had flown Ryanair to Berlin and was due to fly home on day two of the ash cloud event. I think it is tough on airlines to be responsible for everything under such circumstances, but in my experience Ryanair didn't offer any help at all to stranded passengers. At Schonefled it didn't have any representation there as the staff only came in to deal with flights and, as there weren't any, the staff stayed at home. The unfortunate lady on the airport information desk (who wasn't an airline representative) was left to field all the questions from stranded Ryanair passengers. Several other airlines did have customer service staff on duty to advise passengers, even though nothing was flying.

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But the company refused to reimburse her, claiming the consequences of the eruption were so unexpected they could not count as 'extraordinary circumstances'.
Uh, yeah... it was so unexpected it does not count as out of the ordinary. :rolleyes: The fact is Ryanair is responsible for reimbursing customers against extraordinary circumstances, not just ones within their control. I would expect them to carry insurance for such events out of their control. The law is not even unclear here, so that Ryanair acted the way they did to the point of necessitating a court case just reveals that they really have some sort of wierd mindset that they believe they are above the law. If they feel that airtraffic controllers un-necessarily closed air space, then they should sue those authorities. That has nothing to do with legal obligations to customers. Somehow I suspect most people would feel better with the current authorities in control of airspace and not Ryanair.

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I don't see why airlines should pay compensation for this sort of thing...or weather delays It's not their doing.. Passengers should just accept this sort of thing can happen...delays caused by things outside of anybodies control. OK so a lot of people lost a lot by missing flights, but it was not the airlines fault.

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Yes, it is the airline's fault that people paid them money and then were denied the thing which they purchased, suffering further costs because they assumed the valid contract (ticket purchase) would be fulfilled when it wasn't in the end. Ryanair has no control over whether a volcano explodes, or whether air traffic control closes airspace. But they do have control over their own policies, and if their own policies didn't have people pay them money until the time services are rendered, then they wouldn't have created their own obligation to provide those services or make up for the customers' costs when that service isn't provided. If they didn't sell seat tickets until just before boarding, there would be zero expectation of seat availability, and zero obligation from Ryanair to provide those seats. Of course, it's more beneficial to them to lock in passengers before a flight leaves, but with that benefit to them comes obligations. Ultimately, this is an issue of law, and claiming 'something unexpected does not count as extraordinary' simply fails a simple glance at a dictionary... which the court held up.
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Yes, it is the airline's fault that people paid them money and then were denied the thing which they purchased,......
So any airline can order up a volcano eruption an they? And I suppose any airline can ask for the aviation authorities to completely shut down the airspace they control, right? I mean, airlines only loose money by flying, far better to let the planes sit idle on the tarmac! Do us a favour an take your ignorance elsewhere :mad:

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"something unexpected does not count as extraordinary"

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Do us a favour an take your ignorance elsewhere :mad:
Easy there, we're all entitled to post our opinions without being branded 'ignorant' surely;) The EU ruling on this matter is what it is, and maybe it should be reviewed. Until it is, even Ryanair has to abide by it, other carriers don't seem to be having problems doing so.
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Really good news Ryanair lost... This isn't about the law - which you can either agree with or disagree with - its about Ryanair deciding it could ignore the law. The EU court was not sitting to decide whether the law was reasonable or should be changed, it was sitting to decide whether Ryanair did and should abide by current EU law. Most airlines took a compliant, helpful and sympathetic approach with respect to the volcano - for example, I was in San Francisco and my flight was cancelled between leaving the hotel (already checked in) and reaching the airport... Within a few minutes, I was rebooked on a future flight and back in a hotel, courtesy of an airline that isn't even an EU airline. Ryanair can bitch and moan, campaign to have the law changed, do pretty much anything it wants to, except ignore the law. That's what this case was about and that's why they lost.
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Easy there, we're all entitled to post our opinions without being branded 'ignorant' surely;)
Opinion is one thing, but claiming a volcanic eruption and subsequent disruption was Ryanair's fault, as snow monkey did, is in my opinion ignorant and just wrong. As for law being law, granted, that is so. Ryanair ignored it and must now pay up. I may not agree with the law in this circumstance and really, there was nothing Ryanair or any airline could have done to prevent the airspace closure. The authorities should foot the bill on this one, they imposed the closure.
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Furthermore, Ryanair levy a fee to cover this EU law... http://www.ryanair.com/en/news/ryanair-to-introduce-eu261-compensation-levy-of-2-euro As there have been relatively few volcanos or any other major natural calamities interrupting Ryanair's operations since their levy was introduced (admittedly not collected prior to the 2010 folcano), some people may feel that the levy has been a nice little earner for Ryanair over the last couple of years. That they should object to the principal of accommodating this EU law whilst at the same time collecting money to cover themselves against such an eventuality almost beggars belief.
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Indeed they do. They brought it in soon after the law was changed. And it is cheeky to collect a fee for such a situation and then not pay out. However, as you said, the fee came in post volcano. But then, I'd expect nothing else of them. I still maintain however, that if an authority above the airlines closes the airspace, then that authority should become ultimately responsible for fees incurred.

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Opinion is one thing, but claiming a volcanic eruption and subsequent disruption was Ryanair's fault, as snow monkey did, is in my opinion ignorant and just wrong.
ahem...
Ryanair has no control over whether a volcano explodes, or whether air traffic control closes airspace. But they do have control over their own [ticketing/payment] policies
That they should object to the principal of accommodating this EU law whilst at the same time collecting money to cover themselves against such an eventuality almost beggars belief.
Not merely OBJECT to the law while covering their costs, but BREAK the law to make more money from the law-induced fees. There's just something psychopathic going on in Ryanair management...
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On that we can agree

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As for law being law, granted, that is so. Ryanair ignored it and must now pay up. I may not agree with the law in this circumstance and really, there was nothing Ryanair or any airline could have done to prevent the airspace closure. The authorities should foot the bill on this one, they imposed the closure.
I totally agree with you there. Neil.
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Would travel insurance not cover any associated costs with this form of disruption?