FACUA reports Ryanair for leaving 200 Spanish passengers on a plane for over 6 hours

The association stresses that EU Regulation 261/2004 lays out a series of options for compensation following a cancelled flight, and recommends those affected to claim for all damages they may have suffered.

FACUA reports Ryanair for leaving 200 Spanish passengers on a plane for over 6 hours

FACUA-Consumers in Action has reported Ryanair to the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA, according to its initials in Spanish) for holding 200 Spanish passengers on a plane for over six hours before announcing that the flight, travelling from Prague to Madrid, had been cancelled due to snowy weather conditions.

What’s more, according to those affected, the company at no point took responsibility for the extra costs of accommodation, food and travel incurred by passengers having to spend an extra day in Prague until they were able to fly back on another aircraft.

FACUA draws attention to EU Regulation 261/2004, which lays out in article 9, among other provisions, that in the event of flight cancellations, passengers have the right to free "hotel accommodation", "meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time" and "transport between the airport and place of accommodation", provided by the airline.

This regulation also lays out a series of provisions for compensation which should be automatically applied in the event of cancellations. Article 7 states that "passengers shall receive compensation amounting to (a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less, (b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1,500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres, and (c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b)".

FACUA also believes that the airline is unable to claim the snowstorm falls under the "extraordinary circumstances" compiled by EU Regulation, due to the fact that low temperatures are quite common for Prague at this time of year. Ryanair should have taken all measures possible to ensure that the weather conditions didn’t affect the flight.

In any case, the association notes that the "extraordinary circumstances" outlined in this regulation do not, in any case, justify holding passengers on a plane for over 6 hours, preventing them from getting off.

Compensation for damages

In addition, regardless of the provisions for compensation laid out by EU Regulation, FACUA stresses that all of the customers are also entitled to claim other forms of compensation for damage and loss, be they non-material or monetary, which they may have suffered due to the flight being cancelled, or not being able to disembark the aircraft for 6 hours.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling made on the 13th of October 2011 clarifies that any passenger affected by a delay is entitled to claim, in addition to the fixed provisions outlined in EU Regulation, compensation for damages and loss, including non-material, for the breach of air transport contract they have fallen victim to.