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30 September 2017, 12:14 | Kenneth Drake
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RYANAIR HAS GIVEN the details of how it will re-route or compensate the thousands of customers affected by its widespread flight cancellations, ahead of a deadline from a United Kingdom watchdog.
It comes after the CAA on Wednesday accused Ryanair of breaking European Union laws as the email it had sent customers did not sufficiently tell them about their rights. Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary also incorrectly stated that the carrier isn't obliged to reroute people on other airlines, it said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) instructed the budget airline to tell passengers they are entitled to be re-routed by another carrier and explain how that will work.
Around 400,000 customers were left without a flight after the airline granted holiday to pilots when there were not enough pilots to fly.
Ryanair has apologised to 800,000 passengers for cancelling their flights because of a pilot shortage, and then misleading them about their rights.
"Where we find that an airline is systematically flouting these rules, we will not hesitate to take action to minimise the harm and detriment caused to passengers, as we have done with Ryanair in recent days".
Passengers affected by the new measure, "less than 1% of the 50 million customers we will transport this winter" received an email to inform about these changes and "offer alternative flights or total refunds".
"Over the past week we have refunded/reaccommodated over 97% of the customers affected by the 18 September cancellations".
It instructed Ryanair to change details on its official website by the afternoon deadline.
Airlines who cancel flights appear to have an open-ended liability for out-of-pocket expenses, which could include anything from tickets for an FC Barcelona Champions' League football match to lost wages.
The regulatory body says it contacted the airline earlier this month for reassurance that customers would be provided with accurate information regarding their rights and entitlements.
"We have taken on extra customer service staff and are moving now to process and expedite all EU261 claims from affected customers".
"So if anyone has had a flight cancelled, any airline - in this case Ryanair - needs to provide them with an alternative way of getting to where they need to go or refunding them in full".
Several popular routes used by United Kingdom travellers were hit, such as Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast, Newcastle to Faro, and Glasgow to Las Palmas.
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