Topic of the Week: Ryanair Charges You So It Can Compensate Stranded Travelers

Ryanair is unhappy that it has to pay compensation under EU rules to people who are canceled or delayed even if it isn’t the airline’s fault. So, it has introduced a €2 compensation levy on all bookings. Some say it’s awful that Ryanair is charging a fee just to compensate people if something goes wrong. Others applaud Ryanair for highlighting the tremendous cost of a rule that may not make sense. What do you think?

And yes, I realize today is April Fools’ Day, but this ain’t no joke.


36 Responses to Topic of the Week: Ryanair Charges You So It Can Compensate Stranded Travelers

  1. Brian says:

    It is a cost of doing business, so include it in the base price. Ryanair has terrible ethics when it comes to advertising the price of their flights, and this is just another bit piled on so they can keep advertising 1£ flights…

    • Everyone would be ok with Ryanair bitching about having to pay compensation due to the problems created by ash clouds and other things, if they ever picked up the bill when things go wrong because of their shortcomings. They leave people in the middle of nowhere (that is often where they fly to) without the money to get the bus back to civilisation.Try contacting them through any form of communication it is impossible. They treat the consumer with contempt for the most part and I and many people I will know will never fly with them.

  2. Jonathon Nield says:

    Here’s the thing. People are calling Ryanair all sorts of bad things which is fair. You are entitled to your opinion just like you are entitled to choose whichever mode of transportation you want to get from Point A to Point B. If you don’t like Ryanair’s fees, go fly someone else like Aer Lingus. Wait… they are more expensive than Ryanair you say? I rest my case.

  3. Brian says:

    @Jonathon: What does that have to do with being honest in advertising your price?

    • Fred says:

      It has to do with people complaining about Ryanair. If you don’t like them being dishonest with their advertising (or any other reason), then don’t fly them.
      Besides, it really is naive to believe in this whole ‘truth in advertising’ thing, as the point of them advertising is to get people to buy tickets, rather than give fun facts about your company. All these things that ‘ought’ to be right, such as “truth in advertising”, or “the government is on your side”, or “the good guys will win” simply don’t happen even though everyone is expecting them.

  4. Hovig A. says:

    All this complaining about “deceiving advertising” is getting annoying. Listen, I have NEVER been required to actually book a flight (or anything online, for that matter) with out knowing all the fees and add-on charges before I hit the final “submit” button. While it stinks that all these fees can get added as you go through the booking process, that is NO different than when a supermarket sends you its weekly advertisement showing only the base price with out tax added already.

    As JONATHAN said above, if you got a problem with it, BUY ELSEWHERE. But as long as cheapest price remains the primary decision making tool, expect these practices to continue. If you don’t vote with pocketbooks, companies have zero incentive to change practices.

    • ditto this, we all know what ryanair is by now. anybody who buys a ticket without knowing the fees that they will be charged at the time of purchase (or even the fees they could be charged in the future), they aren’t paying enough attention. ryanair fills a pretty big niche in the european air service market but, if it’s not for you, don’t fly them.

  5. Interesting, Ryanair have just launched this new service – wonder how many takers there will be….!

    http://www.ryanair.com/ie/news/child-free-flights-from-october-2011

    • BarryATL says:

      This has to be an April Fools joke. The wording is too negative towards children and families. It is probably just another Ryanair stunt to get their name in the news…. they seem to love doing that.

  6. Hunter says:

    Whether they roll it into the base price or tag it on as an extra fee, I think the charge is the right thing to do. Essentially, the new EU rule has held airlines hostage to conditions that are completely beyond their control. I can’t think of any other business that is forced to feed and shelter customers when a natural disaster occurs and possible strands people. And, if ryanair needs to pull in revenue to offset this business expense, then they should. IMO, it makes sense to call it out as a fee. It brings attention to the lame rule and could possibly piss people off enough that they put pressure on their elected officials to lobby to change it. The airline has already said they will eliminate the charge if the law is changed, so in a way, it’s their campaign to make that change.

    As other posters have pointed out, it’s not like there’s a monopoly on flying. Plenty of other choices out there if you don’t like how ryanair does business.

  7. Brian says:

    Fair enough, then RyanAir to break out other costs of doing business. On top of the base fare there should be say 30p for the purchase of the jet you are flying on. 7p for shareholder renumeration. 3p for the captian, 2.5 p for the first officer, etc.

    Why not?

    • CF says:

      There have been efforts by airlines to try to be more transparent in showing the cost of fuel to the customer so they understand fully what the impact is. It wouldn’t surprise me to see then continue to break things out further along those lines – costs that are out of the airline’s control.

      • Brian says:

        You are right CF. Let’s look at Aircraft Maintenance – Do you really need to follow the overbearing government’s rules on maintenance? Really? Pushy government over-regulating I say.

        If the planes crash, I think we as consumers can decide not to fly that airline! If you are stupid enough not to know the safety record—too bad for you.

        Anyway, I can just buy insurance if I feel the need to save a euro or two on a riskier airline.

        Caveat Emptor!

  8. Euan says:

    I can see their point when you consider that train and ferry companies in the EU are only liable for costs up to the value of price paid for the ticket.

    I think Ryanair have said if the policy for airlines changes so that it is the same for all transport companies then they will remove the charge.

  9. That’s a fee that should be part of the price of doing business and part of the fare. How stupid are the people who fly them to by a $5 ticket then have to pay 25 different fees just to get on the airplane.

    Now what about the no children flights that people said they would pay more to fly on? That had to be a joke since wouldn’t a lot of families fly them because they are so cheap so just how many childless flights could they operate? But then again they could charge a ‘private no child member fee’ to get away with having flights for adults only.

    Wow two items to get Ryanair’s name in the news.

  10. I don’t know what the EU rules for this type of thing are, but here in the US, airlines are required to include in the advertised base fare everything that is applicable to all passengers, unless required by the government.

    Therefore, government-imposed fees like the passenger facility charge and the September 11th security fee (what a horrible name for it, by the way) need not be included in the base, nor do luggage fees or priority boarding fees or the convenience charge that Allegiant and Spirit impose for booking at a non-airport location, since you can get around each of those charges.

    But, things like fuel surcharges and the “natural occurrence” fee that Spirit tried to impose once upon a time (ostensibly to offset the cost of weather-related disruptions) cannot be levied on top of the base fare.

    So, in Ryanair’s case, this compensation levy or the EUR 5 charge to obtain a boarding pass wouldn’t fly here in the United States. By contrast, the surcharge for booking a reservation online with a credit card probably would be okay, since you can get around it by using a specific type of pre-paid debit card.

  11. Eric says:

    I love how Ryanair continues to test Gordon Bethune’s axiom, ‘you can make a product so cheap(as in quality) that nobody wants it’.

    • CF says:

      I think Ryanair has proven that theory wrong time and time again. There is no limit to how many people they can fly around Europe. But there is a difference. Continental was supposed to be a full service airline, so cutting further and further as happened before Gordon arrived was a disastrous idea. It didn’t fit with the brand (or whatever was left of the Continental brand at that point).

  12. Ryan says:

    I’m fine with it so long as it brings attention to the EU’s unwillingness to point the finger at itself when it fails to take any responsibility for stupid decisions (like the shutting down of airspace longer than necessary during the Icelandic volcano, which is the responsibility of the EU). I don’t think the EU can reasonably expect airlines to compensate passengers when an event like that or the air traffic strike in Spain causes their passengers to suffer, and therefore the airlines because they are required to provide compensation. It makes absolutely no sense, but then again, what government regulations against the airlines do?

    If a music concert is canceled at the last minute because the lead singer of a band came down with the flu, is the music venue required to pay for everyone’s gas and parking charges who showed up to find it canceled? No. If a baseball game is rained out and is rescheduled, is the ballpark required to provide you compensation above and beyond a refund of the ticket? No. Why should airlines be held to such higher standards?

  13. Travelnate says:

    I say more power to Ryanair. They’ve always had a “stick it to you” attitude towards government, and the EU is *bad* government.

    the latest WTO case against Boeing is a prime example.. the EU is dancing all over some $5 billion in “aid” to Boeing when the EU gave Airbus over $20 billion (which the WTO also said is illegal) … pot.. kettle, or “railroad tanker car” in the case of EU.

  14. Hill Rider says:

    I think they’re totally hypocritical: where is the €10 compensation levy to make up for the “tremendous cost of complying with all the CAA safety directives”?

    Or the €1 compensation levy to make up for the fact that they have to pay for “seats, that are crash-worthy to boot, with seat belts” on all planes (instead of flying us on the same bare floors of the cargo compartment)?

    It’s about time that governments stopped this indiscriminate BS.

  15. There are some pretty bad rules that come out of the EU, but EU Regulation 261/2004 on passenger compensation and assistance which applies to AIR passengers only, is THE most inept law ever to come out of Brussels. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has produced a Comparison of EU Passenger Rights By Transport Mode. Check out this, and other pax rights issues here: http://www.eraa.org/issues/passenger-rights/243-current-regulations

  16. Craig says:

    First off, I just took a quick look at the Ryanair website and it looks like they’re in compliance with the advertising laws – the front page shows the lowest fare (being offered for May flights) as GBP 7 – the 5 pound “administration fee” and the new two pound “compensation fee”. So this would be a base fare of zero (they still run these sometimes), with the two mandatory fees added.

    I can’t blame Ryanair for adding this charge and breaking it out – the volcano problems last summer proved the ridiculousness of the EU’s “duty of care” regulations. Yes, I feel sorry for someone on holiday who has to shell out for additional hotel nights and food because of a weather event, but it’s simply not practical for a business selling someone a 40 or 50 pound round-trip ticket to be on the hook for hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of pounds in added costs because of an event completely beyond the airline’s control, especially since the general consensus was that the government regulators over-reacted.

    Also, why only airlines? Train operators aren’t subject to these regulations…oh, wait, the train operators (except in the UK) are owned by governments.

  17. Baron says:

    Well, one could look at it as a personal insurance policy. If something untoward happens to one of us en route we would want to be compensated quickly and easily with no questions asked. Maybe better this than no compensation whatsoever.

    • CF says:

      That’s true, but an insurance policy for something like this (let’s not move into healthcare because I see that differently) is best when people have the choice as to whether or not they want that insurance. Each traveler can decide whether or not the risk is worthwhile. In this case, nobody gets to decide.

  18. Pixi says:

    I don’t get why should an airline pick up the bill if something goes wrong with weather or anything else outside airline’s influence that may cause delays or cancellations. This is one of the few airline fees that seem justified in my eyes. The customers should be angry at government for implementing such regulations and not at the airline in this case.
    Makes no sense.

    • David Z says:

      Ah, it’s emotion. People emotionally get riled at the airlines’ numerous times of perceivedly screwing them they welcome any chance to so-called get back at them.

      It doesn’t matter if one questions those very same people if they’re equally prepared to compensate their own customers or so or problems outside their direct and material control.

  19. Polarisguy says:

    Sometimes you have to do something absurd to highlight the absurd. Legislatures seem to think that they can waive a magic wand, pass a law and, every problem (real or imagined) will be solved! Go Ryanair

    • Oliver says:

      The passengers (= voters) seem to like it and RyanAir is profitable, isn’t it! Surely the cost is already factored into the fares. So this is just for show.

  20. robdub says:

    Easy. Don’t fly Ryanair. Who wants to be treated like cattle by these Irish fools. Have yo seen the state of their economy? You’re a bigger fool if you fly with these dodgy bastards

  21. Euan says:

    I think Ryanair’s issue is that other modes of transport are not required to pay the same ‘unlimited’ level of compensation as airlines are.

    As someone else commented, if a concert is cancelled the band/promoter don’t pay everyone’s expenses so why should airlines.

  22. RobertS says:

    This idea that airlines should take care of their passengers is no ‘bad law’ – as Ryan, Hunter, et. al. seem to think. Ryan Air is only upset because they have to maintain the same pricing standards as all of the other EU airlines as well as the same regulatory standards. Sorry – but Ryan air should have to pay even more – most of their flights are to the middle of nowhere, miles from the city they ‘claim’ to fly to. They call Beauvais ‘Paris’ – and it is a 180 minute bus ride north of the city. When Ryan Air leave you high and dry, they strand you in the middle of nowhere! They also have a tendency to blame ‘natural occurrences’ for things well within their control, and they cancel their flights long after they know it won’t run to maximize their revenue. They are a truly horrible airline – and some of you are complaining that they shouldn’t have to to follow the same rules as everyone else? Moreover, some of you imply that the regulatory environment in the EU is ‘bad’ – have any of you been air passengers in the US lately? The horror that is domestic flying in the US is largely due to an under-regulated environment.

  23. meendancer says:

    i still have no compensation from ryanair for being stuck in benidorm for seven days

  24. You cant complain being stuck in benidorm meendancer, means you can enjoy the sun for longer lol.

  25. Jonathan B says:

    All this talk of hidden fees and charges eh? As someone has already pointed out this occurs frequently in daily life, does the fact that a cinema charges you a booking fee stop you going to see a movie there? No, because they all do it and besides no-one is forcing you to hand over your credit card.
    Who cares if Ryanair charges £50 for luggage or £10 for speedy boarding, you’re not being co-erced into taking it but i’m pretty certain that most of the time their bottom line is less than other airlines.

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