Ryanair forced to pay damages in Sweden

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been ordered by a Swedish court to compensate a couple from Linköping for costs incurred returning home after their flight from Brussels was canceled at the last minute.

Ryanair forced to pay damages in Sweden

The couple had traveled to Brussels in May 2006 with Ryanair and just before they were set to head back to Sweden they were told their flight was cancelled and that it would be two days before the next Ryanair flight back to Sweden.

But the couple couldn’t wait that long and so instead paid their way home through a combination travel by train, rental car, and taxi.

While Ryanair agreed to pay the cost of the couple’s airline tickets – 322 kronor ($40) – they received no additional compensation from the airline for the extra costs incurred during their harrowing journey home.

Sweden’s Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen – KO) took up the couple’s case for what it saw as Ryanair’s failure to live up to the European passengers’ rights laws.

The agency filed a suit in order to force the airline to pay the 4,790 kronor to compensate the couple for the cost of their trip.

The district court in Nyköping ruled against the airline, but decided that it was only liable to pay 2,325 kronor, adding that each party was responsible of paying its own court costs.

The landmark court ruling is the first to examine exactly how for European passenger rights extend and to what extent airlines are responsible for compensating passengers.

“I see the ruling as a huge success,” said Consumer Ombudsman Gunnar Larsson in a statement.

“The district court has clearly stated that airlines must take responsibility for passengers who suffer from cancelled flights.”


Ryanair flights grounded as pilots strike

Ryanair's pilots in Sweden went on strike on August 10th, with several flights cancelled at Skavsta.

Ryanair flights grounded as pilots strike
Ryanair flights cancelled on Friday at Skavsta Airport. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Pilots in Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also joined the 24-hour strike over demands for a collective labour agreement and better working conditions and representation.

In Sweden, around 40 Ryanair pilots were striking until midnight between Friday and Saturday.

“Today our members are on strike to demand their rights. For decades Ryanair has refused their employees basic labour rights most employees on the labour market take for granted, but here a strike is necessary to show the airline that it no longer can avoid treating its employees in a dignified manner,” Martin Lindgren, President of the Swedish Pilots' Union, said in a statement.

Twenty-two flights which were due to depart or travel to Skavsta Airport south of Stockholm on Friday.

The airport usually welcomes around 700 travellers for the first few departures of the day, but on Friday morning the building was almost completely empty, news agency TT reported.

“We want to again apologize to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes,” tweeted Ryanair.

Compensation can be claimed for some cancelled flights but it varies and depends on how much information was given in advance. For journeys under 1500km a maximum of €250 can be claimed (or €400 for flights between 1500 and 3,000km), but in the event that the airline directly warned passengers of their flight cancellation with 15 days' notice, there is no right to request economic compensation. More information can be found here