Fall is off to a rough start for Ryanair.
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In September, the low-cost airline announced that it would have to cancel upwards of 50 flights a day through the month of October due to a pilot rostering error. It explained in several statements that those creating the schedules overlooked upcoming pilot holidays, thus the need to cancel flights.
"We apologise to all affected customers for these cancellations," Ryanair wrote in a statement on Facebook. "We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we're working hard to fix that."
As Business Insider reported, the cancellations will affect 400,000 passengers in Ryanair's Stansted hub, and in airports in Brussels, Barcelona, Rome, and Milan. Passengers can cancel their flights for a full refund or change their flight for free. Business Insider also noted that the error will cost the company somewhere around $23.6 million.
Now, according to The Telegraph, the airline is facing legal action for allegedly attempting to intimidate passengers who tried to recoup the costs of their canceled flights via a third-party legal company.
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The legal firm Fair Plane, which specializes in claims for flight delays, is asking Ryanair for both an apology and compensation after the airline allegedly sent a letter to its clients. According to The Telegraph, the letter sent by Ryanair asked passengers if they had “actually agreed” to let Fair Plane represent their claim. The letter then added that the passenger would receive 100 percent of their fare if they dropped the suit and instead worked with the carrier directly.
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Fair Plane is now accusing the airline of “defamation, harassment, and unlawful interference.”
“They’re trying to disrupt the client’s relations with us,” Daniel Morris, director of Fair Plane, told The Telegraph. “In many cases the main reason Ryanair pays up is because we get involved.”
For its part the airline has dismissed claims of defamation and called Fair Plane a “rip off.”
“Ryanair complies fully with all EU261 legislation and deals with each claim on a case by case basis. Many of these 'claims chaser' firms are ripping off consumers by charging up to 50 per cent of their compensation,” a spokesperson for the airline told the Independent. “We urge all customers with valid EU261 compensation claims to submit their claims directly to Ryanair. Customers with valid claims who claim directly from Ryanair will receive 100 per cent of their EU261 compensation entitlement without the deduction of these excessive 'claims chaser' fees.”