Ryanair hit by setback in claim over payout

BUDGET airline Ryanair yesterday lost the latest round in its legal battle to avoid paying for hotels, meals and drinks for passengers disrupted by delayed flights during the Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) published an opinion indicating that airlines were not exempt from regulations requiring them to pay for stranded passengers’ extra-care expenses, such as hotels and meals, even if the flight cancellations were due to circumstances beyond the airline’s control.

“It does not appear to be disproportionate to impose on air carriers such an obligation to provide care in so far as they are free to pass on the resulting costs to airline ticket prices,” the advocate general, Yves Bot, said in a decision published on the court’s website.

The decision comes after a Dublin woman, Denise MacDonagh, took Ryanair to the ECJ for its failure to refund her expenses when her flight was held up by nine days due to the volcanic ash cloud in 2010.

Last night Ryanair issued a statement saying it noted that the advocate general’s opinion is not binding on the ECJ, hoping that the court will side with the airline in its final decision.