How Ryanair’s Compensation Policies Compare to Other Budget Airlines in Europe

How Ryanair’s Compensation Policies Compare to Other Budget Airlines in Europe


Efficient customer service is at the core of a strong company. Many airlines understand this and do everything they can to provide a high standard of care when it comes to delay and cancellation compensation.


Ryanair is no exception. The airline is one of Europe’s largest budget airlines in the market. It has built a great reputation for trust and service throughout the years, but its handling of compensation claims threatens to alter its strong record.


Air travel is an integral part of every frequent traveller and expat. Whether you travel internationally or live abroad and regularly visit your family back home, you probably find yourself boarding a plane quite often.


Since Ryanair is one of the top flight operators in Europe, familiarising yourself with the airline’s policies regarding flight delays and cancellations should be your priority. You need to know your rights as a passenger.


With the summer holidays just around the corner, the intensity of flights is going to increase soon. Therefore, now is the best time to discover how Ryanair’s compensation policies compare to other budget airlines in Europe.


  1. Overview of Compensation Policiesin the Airline Industry
  2. Ryanair's Compensation Policy
  3. Comparison with Other Budget Airlines
  4. Case Studies and Real-World Examples
  5. Challenges and Issues in Compensation Policies
  6. Conclusion



Ryanair is one of the largest airlines in Europe. 



Overview of Compensation Policies in the Airline Industry


Eurocontrol reports an average of 30,647 daily flights between 06-12 May 2024. Those flights experienced an average of 41,000 minutes of delays caused by traffic volume or weather disruptions a day. 


That’s almost 700 hours of delays. Every. Day.


The European Union (EU) recognises how frustrating schedule interruptions can be. Therefore, it protects certain passenger rights in Regulation 261, which applies to all flights that depart from or arrive in the EU.


As well as providing guidelines for compensation amounts, the regulation details other passenger rights, such as:


  • Right to care: Passengers must receive meals, refreshments, and two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.

  • Overnight delays: In the case of overnight delays, the airline must provide accommodations and transportation between the accommodations and the airport.

  • Re-routed flights: Airlines have to provide re-routed flights or full refunds.


Also, to qualify for compensation, the interruption cannot have been caused by something outside the airline’s control, like airport strikes or dangerous weather conditions. 



Ryanair’s Compensation Policy 


Ryanair offers compensation for delays, cancellations, and denied boarding.




Whether a flight qualifies as a delay and how much compensation can be claimed is determined by distance and time:


  • 2+ hours for flights of 1,500 km or less

  • 3+ hours for domestic (within the EU) flights of more than 1,500 km

  • 3+ hours for international flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km

  • 4+ hours for international flights of more than 3,500 km





Passengers are eligible for cancellation compensation unless their flight fits into any of the categories below:


Notice of cancellation

Re-routed flight departure

Re-routed flight arrival

2+ weeks before



Between 2 weeks and 7 days

No more than 2 hours before

No less than 4 hours after

Less than 7 days

No more than 1 hour before

No less than 2 hours after



Denied Boarding


In order to qualify for compensation, passengers must be denied boarding against their will, meaning they cannot have volunteered to give up their seats.



Compensation Amounts


Reimbursement amounts for delays, cancellations, and in cases of denied boarding are all determined by distance:


  • EUR 250 for flights of 1,500 km or less

  • EUR 400 for domestic flights  exceeding 1,500 km

  • EUR 400 for international flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km

  • EUR 600 for international flights of more than 3,500 km



How to Claim Compensation


Ryanair provides an EU261 claim form on its official website. You must log in to your myRyanair account. Submit only one claim per passenger after ensuring your situation qualifies. The form will ask for information about the flight and the situation. Once submitted, you’ll be able to view the status of your claim. 



Comparison with Other Budget Airlines


Ryanair’s compensation is similar to or exactly the same as that of most other budget airlines because all airlines are legally required to provide the rights outlined in EU-261.


If your flight is cancelled or interrupted long enough to count as a delay, all budget airlines will provide meals and refreshments. Also, all will provide accommodation and transport between the airport and the hotel if the interruption stretches overnight.


However, there are differences between the responsiveness and ease of processing claims between budget airlines:


  • Ryanair: The airline provides an expected timeline of ten days, but passengers report the process taking at least three months.

  • EasyJet: EasyJet says claims will take two weeks to process, but they are usually completed within about ten days.

  • Wizz Air: This airline takes two to three months to process claims.

  • Vueling: Vueling will respond to a claim within thirty days.


Of course, response times vary based on how many claims the airline is processing. 



Case Studies and Real-World Examples


Tripadvisor reviews for Ryanair consistently mention issues with receiving compensation. Payment either comes very late or never arrives, with most having to take their claim to a higher authority to get Ryanair to pay.


An article in The Guardian by Richard Colbey echoes customer dissatisfaction with Ryanair’s compensation process. The article reports that the airline tried to claim Ryanair staff strikes at Stansted Airport in London as an “exceptional circumstance” to avoid paying compensation to passengers whose flights were affected.


Ryanair isn’t the only airline whose compensation handling is less than stellar. It’s a common issue faced by nearly all travellers. For example, in a Forbes article, Madhvi Mavadiya reveals that easyJet took 6 months to refund only 60% of what was owed. 



Challenges and Issues in Compensation Policies


Airlines face challenges in implementing compensation policies, such as:


  • Cost of operation: The cost of operation is rising for many airlines due to inflation.

  • Staff shortages: Especially after the pandemic, airlines face staff shortages that make it difficult for flights to arrive on time.

  • Lack of resources: Not enough resources, like aeroplane parts or jet fuel, increases costs and makes it impossible for airlines to operate profitably. 





Overall, there aren’t many differences between Ryanair and other budget airlines concerning compensation policies. This is because all airlines operating flights in the EU must follow Regulation 261.


However, there are ongoing debates about the way airlines handle compensation policies, with many customers dissatisfied with long wait times and calling for change. Fair compensation practices are becoming more and more essential in the industry as customers are prioritising efficient service, so the future looks bright for better handling of compensation claims.


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Relocation packages offer a bunch of different benefits, depending on the company. But the most common perk is your new employer covering the costs of the journey from your home country to your final destination. 


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