Flight delay and cancellation compensation, Ryanair ONLY

edited 13 October 2017 at 1:22PM in Flight Delay Compensation
3.7K replies 625.4K views


  • I would counter the airline's assertion with the ECJ ruling in the Cuadrench More v KLM case which applies directly to this issue (see the link in the FAQs).

    In this judgment the ECJ ruled specifically that the time limit in the MC does not apply to claims brought under 261/2004 and that the time limit which is applicable is the one in the EU member state where the action is brought.

    As you correctly surmise, that limit is 5 years in Scotland. Since you are claiming under an EU Regulation, ECJ rulings are absolute and take precedence on this matter and therefore any National ruling (even one from the Supreme Court) cannot be regarded as the appropriate judgment.

    I would write to the court and copy in the airline with your response.

    After receiving a positive ruling in my case against Ryanair, I wanted to come back and share part of the Sheriff's ruling in case it is of some help to others. If anyone knows how to upload a document/image here please let me know and I will post the full ruling. I must confess that much of the ruling is beyond my understanding, therefore I would appreciate advice from anyone with better knowledge of such things...a few specific questions I have are listed below but any other thoughts are welcome...

    1. It seems Ryanair's clause 15.2, which seeks to limit actions to a period of 2 years, does form a valid part of the contract because it was agreed to prior to confirming the booking. However the real crux of the court's decision to award in our favour appears to relate to the court's interpretation of the word "damages". Ryanair's usage of the phrase "right to damages" in 15.2 as it existed in 2008 when our flights were booked appears to have shot them in the foot. Incidentally since 2008 Ryanair have updated their T&Cs so that it now states "right to damages and/or compensation". Excerpts from the ruling are below:

    a) "Separately from the statutory rules in regard to prescription and limitation it is well settled that the parties may agree to limit the time within which any claim may be brought. The question here is whether a right to compensation under EC 261/2004 amounts to a “right to damages”, which is the expression used in clause 15.2 to describe that which is extinguished if an action is not brought within two years. The starting point for consideration, in this case beyond which, as will be seen, it is unnecessary to go, is the natural and ordinary meaning of that phrase."

    b) “It might have been more helpful if Philip Lee, the Irish Counsel, whose opinion is presented in support of the defendant’s position had, at paragraph 13 of that opinion, quoted McGregor on Damages (18th ed) in full:

    A resounding definition of the term ‘damages’ would make for a fitting opening of a work on the law damages and in their first sentence earlier edditions have done just this. But it has become more and more difficult, as time has moved on, to construct a definition of damages which is satisfactory and which is comprehensive. So many exceptions to and qualification upon, once solid, clear, unadulterated rules have appeared, perfectly sensibly, that a clear-cut definition is no longer reasonable; the arrival of restitutionary damages and of human rights was the last straw. The impossible search for a clear-cut comprehensive definition is therefore abandoned. Instead the definition from earlier editions, a definition which still represents the norm, is taken but it is qualified to indicate that it applies generally but not invariably, thus:

    Damages in the vast majority of cases are the pecuniary compensation obtainable by success in an action, for a wrong which is either tort or a breach of contract, the compensation being in the form of a lump sum awarded at one time, unconditionally and in sterling.”

    c) “There is nothing in the general conditions to suggest that the intention of the draughtsperson [of Ryanair's T&Cs] to use the expression otherwise than in its normal sense. If one proceeds upon an understanding of "damages" in accordance with the norm then I do not consider that compensation payable by virtue of EC 261/2004 can be described as compensation for a wrong which is either a tort (in Scotland the word is "delict") or a breach of contract. While damages are compensatory not all claims for compensation are necessarily claims for damages.”

    d) “'McGregor on Damages' (18th Ed) identifies four types of money claims in which pecuniary satisfaction is gained by success in an action but which are not based upon a tort or breach of contract and which do not satisfy any definition of damages because they fall outside of any definition. The fourth of these types are actions claiming money under statutes where the claim is made independently of a wrong wich is tort/delict or breach of contract. The examples given are actions in respect of benefits under the Social Security Acts, claims for unfair dismissal and for redundancy payment under the Employment Rights Act 1996. I consider that a claim under EC 261/2004 has exactly the character of a claim under legislation (in this case in the form of an EC regulation) where the claim is made independently of any wrong.”

    e) ”Actions claiming money based upon statutes which have created a tort/delict are actions for damages. As I read EC 261/2004 it does not expressly create any tort/delict and nor can it be said that the decision in Joined Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07is a ruling in which the court has identified the existence of a statutory tort/delict.”

    f) “The amendment which the defendant has made to clause 15.2 in the current edition of the general conditions appearing on the defendant's website inserts after "right to damages" the additional words "and/or compensation"; an insertion which might be thought to be significant.”

    2. The judgement seems to imply that the normal 5-year limitation in Scotland may in fact be 20 years for actions brought under 261/2004. Seems a little odd to me? Excerpt below…

    “ In Cuadrench More v KLM (C-139/11) it was held that the time limits for bringing actions for compensation under articles 5 and 7 of EC 261/2004 are to be determined in accordance with the rules of each member state on the limitations of actions. As I understand the claimant’s position it is that the matter is governed by section 6 of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973. That section provides for the extinction of obligations by a prescriptive period of five years. Prescription and limitation of actions are not the same. The former extinguishes the obligation, while the latter is only concerned with the right to bring an action. I am not aware of any limitation period applying to an action of the present kind. I suspect that in referring to limitation of actions the judgement in Cuadrench More does not seek to make the distinction which I have identified and rather the intention is to refer to both prescription and limitation. I that be the case then it should also be noted that it is far from clear that any obligation to pay compensation under EC 261/2004 falls within the category of obligations affected by prescriptive periods of five years as contained in schedule 1 to the 1973 Act. It may well be that the prescriptive period applicable to such an obligation is 20 years.”

    3. It seems statutory interest has not been awarded because there is no specific provision for this in 261/2004 and the payment of 400euros is not classed as 'damages'. Clearly 8% * 400 * 5 years amounts to another c. 200 euros each so it's a big reduction in the monetary award. Does anyone have any feedback on whether statutory interest has been awarded in other similar cases? Excerpt below…

    “Statutory interest is claimed, however, there is no provision for interest in the regulation. Since the payment does not represent damages in the ordinary sense I do not consider that section 1 (1) of the Interest on Damages (Scotland) Act 1958 applies such as to allow the court to award interest from the date when the right of action arose. In any event it would be unreasonable to award interest prior to _____ when the claim was first intimated to the defendant. Since there appears to be no statutory right to interest, interest will run ex lege from the date of decree at the rate of 8% as provided in section 9 Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1892.

    4. Costs of £60 were awarded but the fee for the European small claim process was c. £70 and there were also additional postage costs incurred sending recorded delivery letters to Ryanair’s HQ - although not hugely significant it seems a little unfair that the award doesn't cover the costs that were actually incurred. Is this something I can challenge or do I just need to accept it?

    Many thanks for any advice
  • edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
    blondmarkblondmark Forumite
    456 Posts
    edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
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  • I have sent letters, emails for a delayed flights, and I finally received an email on 16 July saying a would get a cheque within 10 working days, as these 10 working days have now lapsed, anyone know how long it actually takes to receive the cheque, I have tried to email them today but got an automated message telling me to fax them - HELP!!!
  • Granny_TGranny_T Forumite
    2 Posts
    Hi all
    Have been reading everyone's battles with interest (good on you all!) but don't seem to have found anyone with a similar slightly odd (by Ryanair's standards!) issue. Apologies however if I have speed-read past the very entry I'm hunting for!

    To give some backround, we were flying from Liverpool to Oslo Torp at the end of May and the flight was delayed indefinitely twice for unspecified technical reasons (no word aside from Technical for the first delay and then apparently they'd taken the airplane out of the hangar after the first inspection before clearing it with the engineers so cue delay 2 for a further hour) before finally leaving and landing us in Torp almost 3 and a half hours late. The FlightStats website tells me it was a 205 minute delay. The trip is under 1500 km so that would suggest, if I've taken this up right, that compensation could be claimed of around £220 (not sure if that's per person or per booking).

    Around 2 weeks later, Ryanair sent an unsolicited email (purely because I hadn't got around to starting to wrangle with them due to other stuff) which I've pasted in below:
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    We sincerely apologise for the delay to your recent flight with Ryanair.

    We have organised to reimburse the credit/debit card which was used to pay for your reservation reference xxxxxx the amount of GBP 10.5 to cover any incidental expenses you may have experienced whilst waiting for the departure of your flight

    This payment is for all passengers in the booking and will show on the relevant account within the next 5-7 working days.

    Yours sincerely
    Ryanair Customer Services
    I have to say I almost fell over with the shock - firstly of getting an email from Ryanair that wasn't selling stuff, secondly that there was an offer of money in it, and thirdly that they thought £10.50 would cover an unplanned airport lunch for 3 adults (although we did make full use of the Boots Lunch Deal so that's not too bad!:D). The other shock was that the reimbursement was in my account 4 days later.

    As I have learned over the years to expect the worst from Ryanair, I have to say I'm just a tiny bit cynical. Is this a rather forward thinking attempt by Ryanair to stave off more expensive claims from what was almost a full flight? And since money has now been paid back, I assume that would negate any further pursuance of a claim? I don't wish to sound money grabbing at all, because I'm honestly very surprised and grateful for the £10.50 (Honestly! Felt like printing the email out and framing it lol) but just wondered what to make of it and if anyone else has had a similar experience?

    Good luck to all pursuing claims for more than a wee delay and a few sandwiches! Just thankful it was the second hop of our trip and not the first, which would have scuppered everything entirely and then I would be out for a grumble!

    Thanks for reading!
  • edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
    blondmarkblondmark Forumite
    456 Posts
    edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
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  • edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
    blondmarkblondmark Forumite
    456 Posts
    edited 5 November 2013 at 4:04PM
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  • Mark2sparkMark2spark Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Well, 'care' kicks in after 2 hours, and seeing as Ryanair have been charging a levy for this for a few years now I suppose they thought they would pre -empt things. They might be under investigation for not providing care by the Irish NEB I suppose.
  • edited 31 July 2013 at 10:03PM
    Granny_TGranny_T Forumite
    2 Posts
    edited 31 July 2013 at 10:03PM
    Hi blondmark and Mark2spark
    Thanks to you both for your replies.
    blondmark: I wasn't sure if it was one of those "keep them happy before they complain" payments or if accepting any sort of reimbursement meant that essentially I'd settled. Kinda interesting!

    Mark2spark: Now that you mention the care thing, that puts the email into context. Ryanair staff on the day had mentioned that we would get vouchers for food etc. but those never materialised. To be honest, they were so busy herding us around Liverpool airport I'm not surprised they didn't have a chance! Essentially then the email would refer to the food vouchers but means a wee go at the daunting world of claims wouldn't be out of the question, as blondmark has said.

    Time for a wee research and think - forms aren't my forte! :)
  • Hi

    We had a lovely week in France in 2008. However, on our return flight the Ryanair plane landed at Carcassonne Airport, taxied to the airport and then hit it (the airport!) with its wing.

    Numerous engineers came out to look at it, pictures were sent back to UK etc, eventually another plane sent from UK and picked us up and flew us back to Stanstead.

    Around 12hr delay. Can see this info on Flight Status website.

    is it worth claiming on this?

    or does this fall into the exception circumstances beyond it's control? :D

  • romanby1romanby1 Forumite
    294 Posts

    We had a lovely week in France in 2008. However, on our return flight the Ryanair plane landed at Carcassonne Airport, taxied to the airport and then hit it (the airport!) with its wing.

    Numerous engineers came out to look at it, pictures were sent back to UK etc, eventually another plane sent from UK and picked us up and flew us back to Stanstead.

    Around 12hr delay. Can see this info on Flight Status website.

    is it worth claiming on this?

    or does this fall into the exception circumstances beyond it's control? :D

    Most definitely YES claim.
    It may be an Exceptional Circumstance but not where EC 261/2004 is concerned a big NO.
    Pilots are not supposed to taxi into airport buildings.
    Tell them to claim on their pilots Comprehensive insurance policy.
    Send Ryanair a NBA letter stating that facts and you will issue proceedings if the do not give a satisfactory response within 14 or 21 days.
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