Ryanair has tried to appease angry customers by publishing lists of all flights to be cancelled until Wednesday, after 82 failed to take off on Sunday, with the airline admitting it had mismanaged the planning of pilot holidays.
However, this will do little to calm nerves as travellers are demanding to know which flights will be cancelled over the next six weeks when Ryanair has said there would be up to 2,000 cancellations. Up to 400,000 passengers could be affected.
Ryanair is cancelling about 55 flights a day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “We will cancel 40 to 50 flights daily for the next six weeks, less than 2% of our schedule, with a slightly higher number initially, as we begin to implement these cancellations.
“Flights are operating as scheduled unless an email confirming a cancellation has been received. Cancellation notices for flights cancelled up to and including Wednesday 20 September have been sent to affected customers and posted on the Ryanair.com website. We will continue to send regular updates and post flight information on our website, with the next set of cancellations to be issued on Monday. We apologise sincerely to all affected customers for these cancellations.”
Martin Callanan, the aviation minister, said: “I am very concerned to see all of these reports of stranded Ryanair passengers. We expect all airlines to fulfil their obligations to their customers and do everything possible to notify them well in advance of any disruption to their journey.
“In the event of any disruption or cancellation, airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”
Seven Dublin flights and 20 flights in to or out of London Stansted were among those cancelled on Sunday.
Many travellers have taken to social media to contact Ryanair.
Chloe Morrison tweeted:
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, said the company was “working hard to fix” the problem, after it announced a 2% reduction in scheduled flights until the end of October. The airline is changing its internal calendar as part of increases in holiday allowances for pilots and cabin staff, which has contributed to the backlog in staff leave.
Ben Dodds from Newcastle is worried that his flight to Alicante on 28 September might get cancelled. He said he emailed Ryanair’s chief operations manager, Michael Hickey, but did not get a response.
Dodds told the Guardian: “The problem we have is that we booked all parts of our holiday separately meaning a rescheduled flight two days later doesn’t work for us. If they cancel the flight, I will have to cancel the entire holiday, take a loss and go straight back to work so I don’t lose annual leave and just wait for compensation.
Paul Waldron tweeted:
Some customers said last-minute cancellations had left them out of pocket due to non-refundable accommodation costs or with no choice but to book expensive alternative flights or transport. Others said they had been left stranded in their holiday destination.
Ryanair said passengers whose flights were cancelled could apply for a refund which would be processed within seven working days. Alternatively they could rebook for free, subject to seat availability.
But Karen Litton, whose flight from Knock in Ireland to London Stansted on Wednesday was cancelled, said she had been unable to rebook her flights or apply for compensation. She tsaid she was going to meet her first granddaughter, Margot. “I was going to spend a week with my daughter to help out as her husband is starting back to work after his paternity leave,” she said. “We are all so disappointed.”
Travellers asked Ryanair on Twitter whether they could cancel their flights in return for a refund so they could book with another airline to avoid having them cancelled at the last minute.