Ryanair on trial in Sweden over couple’s cancelled flights

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair went on trial in a Swedish court on Tuesday accused of compensation infringements for cancelled flights, the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket - KO) said.

Ryanair on trial in Sweden over couple's cancelled flights

“We want a verdict that sets a legal precedent that clarifies when an airline can claim extraordinary circumstances and thereby avoid paying compensation to travellers,” KO consumer ombudswoman Agneta Broberg told AFP.

“This is very important for all consumers,” she said.

The consumer agency is representing a Swedish couple in its case against Ryanair.

In May 2006, the couple, Rune and Eva-Marie Brännström, was booked on a flight from Brussels to Stockholm that was cancelled because of heavy fog.

Ryanair offered the couple a new flight two days later and reimbursed them for the price of their tickets, KO said.

They received no other compensation and Ryanair did not offer to pay for their meals or hotel.

The couple could however not wait two days and made their own way home by taxi, train and rental car, paying for the trip themselves.

They have sought 9,500 kronor ($1,228) compensation from the airline for their costs, which Ryanair has refused to pay despite a recommendation it do so from the Swedish National Board for Consumer Complaints.

KO said Ryanair’s refusal to pay compensation was illegal.

Ryanair has argued that it had no control over the situation, since the flight was cancelled due to fog, and therefore it cannot be held responsible to pay compensation.

“The organization is looking for more money and they’re looking to give the passengers compensation for (a circumstance) which we believe is beyond our control,” Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara told Swedish Radio.

The Nyköping court south of Stockholm was to hear the case on Tuesday, but the hearing was suspended due to a problem with the interpreter. The case will resume on February 4, the consumer agency said.