The UK Court of Appeal has rejected Ryanair’s appeal, ruling it cannot avoid refunding customers that were affected by walkouts in the summer of 2018.
The low-cost carrier initially refused to pay travellers back, as it considered the disruption to be caused by “exceptional circumstances” but was taken to court by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and found in breach by the High Court in April.
Passengers whose flights were cancelled were entitled to up to a £208 refund, PA news agency reported.
According to Lord Justice Newey, the strikes did not constitute “extraordinary circumstances, as they related to Ryanair’s employment conditions.
“Ryanair has refused to pay compensation to passengers affected by industrial action taken by its pilots in 2018,” said the CAA’s director Paul Smith.
“We believed that these passengers were in fact protected by law and that Ryanair could not claim its delayed and cancelled flights were ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
“The Court of Appeal has today upheld the High Court’s agreement with our interpretation of the law.”
A company spokesperson told the news agency the airline will file a second appeal.
The verdict comes as consumer group Which? slammed Ryanair and British Airways for their poor refund policies, kicking them at the bottom of its annual survey.
Ryanair’s perceived lack of transparency and low-cost policies have for the longest time antagonised travellers, as 74 per cent of respondents said they would never fly with the Dublin-based airline, City A.M. reported.
“Ryanair’s consistently terrible customer service has made it a fixture among the worst performers in our surveys for many years – but the airline plumbed new depths with its handling of Covid refunds,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel’s editor.