Consumer watchdog takes Ryanair to court

Consumer watchdog takes Ryanair to court
Photo: Andrew W. Sieber
Sweden's consumer watchdog has decided to take low price airline Ryanair to court.

The Consumer Ombudsman has criticized the airline for not providing proper compensation for cancelled flights.

Ombudsman Gunnar Larsson is to represent a Swedish couple in legal proceedings against the airline.

The couple in question had booked a flight from Brussels to Stockholm in May last year.

On learning that their flight had been cancelled, the couple were offered a place on a flight two days later.

Ryanair agreed to cover the costs of the tickets – 322 kronor – but did not offer any further compensation.

The couple were not offered food or accommodation and were not in a position to wait two days for a flight.

Instead they made their way home using a taxi, train and rental car, for which they requested reimbursement from the airline.

The Consumer Ombudsman accuses Ryanair of breaking the law. As there is no legal precedent and the case is regarded to be of general interest, the ombudsman has agreed to represent the couple in the District Court.

“An airline should book passengers onto another airline if it can’t offer a replacement flight. If there are no available flights, passengers should be offered food and a hotel room. We are of the view that many consumers are affected by the failure of airlines to follow the rules,” said Gunnar Larsson in a statement.

The couple has demanded that their travel costs be reimbursed by Ryanair.

A Ryanair official had a different version of the incident.

“In that case we had seats available the next day and if anyone has to stay at a hotel we naturally pay for that,” Northern Europe director Wilhelm Hamilton told Swedish news agency TT.

He added that Ryanair considered that Swedish compensation rules do not follow European Union regulations.

The agency said that Swedish National Board for Consumer Complaints had on 35 occasions ordered Ryanair to pay compensation to passengers, but the airline had only acquiesced in nine of those cases.