Europe’s busiest airline, was warned to deliver “action, not words” by British aviation authorities on Thursday after it failed to inform 400,000 customers of their full rights regarding canceled flights through Christmas. Laura Frykberg reports.
If passengers are tired of yet another round of cancelled Ryanair flights... They may hope a warning by the industry gives the airline a wake up call. The UK Civil Aviation Authority has blasted the Irish firm for providing affected passengers with misleading information... After offering them a refund - or new flights on its airlines... (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY, ANDREW HAINES SAYING: "Bluntly, they have not been making clear to passengers their rights. If there is no reasonable alternative with their airline, then that airline has an obligation to provide an alternative airline, and if there are any costs associated with that, then to fund those costs." The debacle has affected hundreds of thousands of customers... Since last week its more than doubled its unprecedented cancellations, due to an error with pilot rosters. A total of 34 routes will now be suspended this winter. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVEL JOURNALIST, SIMON CALDER SAYING: "Nobody has seen anything like this in aviation. I was speaking to a guy yesterday who bought four return tickets at the weekend because Ryanair put on a seat sale, for the winter, Belfast to Gatwick. And yesterday he was told none of those flights are going ahead. " Ryanair has said it'll comply with the aviation authority. Perhaps in the hope it doesn't lose customers long-term. That though, may not be a problem, say some. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "When people want to get from A to B they probably want to do it the cheapest way possible and Ryanair I think for all the changes that we're seeing you know in two years time five years time will still be the cheapest operator out there still." What it's more likely to cost them is MONEY - up to 50 million euros, says CEO Michael O'Leary Coincidentally, it's also dropped plans to buy troubled Alitalia.