Is the CAA right?

By | Category: Travel news

Ryanair plane ascendingLast week, Ryanair won a court case in Barcelona. Judges ruled that the airline was not liable to pay out compensation under EU261 for flights cancelled due to strike action.

The CAA says that UK passengers are entitled to pay-outs of at least €250.

Is the court right or is the CAA?

The worst thing about the law is that unless it is extraordinary precise, much of the interpretation of what the law means is left to the courts.

In this case the Spanish court ruled that airlines didn’t have to pay compensation for disruption that was out of its control, and it ruled that they weren’t to blame for internal strikes.

The CAA takes the position that passengers have the right to seek compensation under EU legislation if it has not warned passengers of flight cancellations at least two weeks prior to the scheduled time of departure.

In the meantime Ryanair is declining to pay any compensation as a consequence of this strike action regardless of where the passenger lives.

Therein lies the issue. The law seems clear. EU261 does say that two weeks’ notice should be given to passengers in order to avoid the liability for compensation. Any notice given within two weeks means that compensation is payable. But if the strike action is not by Ryanair staff but by others that cause Ryanair flights to be delayed or cancelled where is the liability then? Some would argue that the supplier of the services – in this case Ryanair – bears the ultimate responsibility.

The Spanish ruling seems to suggest that the strikes were outside Ryanair’s control and therefore that no compensation is due. Ryanair has also queried why it is being treated differently to BA and Lufthansa in that neither of those airlines faced claims when they were disrupted.

Will a passenger or the CAA now appeal the Spanish court’s decision to a higher court? If that happens and things drag on for years do not throw away your boarding passes, tickets or any documentation that can prove you were on an affected flight. You might still need them if a higher court reverses the Spanish decision.

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