January 31, 2013 Ryanair Has to Compensate stranded passengers
Ryanair the ultimate no-frills airline lost in the European Court of Justice and now has to compensate a passenger for a seven-day delay due to the Iceland volcano disruption.
The ECJ said there was no limit on either time or money that airlines can use to stop providing customer care under the EU passenger bill of rights. While Ryanair certainly can’t be faulted for the volcano eruption, this situation is their own fault.
Let me explain.
Ryanair in the early 2000’s started gutting customer service. Things which other airlines provided, free check-in, free wheelchairs, and IRROPS support Ryanair discovered they could charge for. Where other airline decided to be reasonable, even if it cost the government money, Ryanair said the government doesn’t prevent it so lets do it.
The problem with the “if it’s not banned so it must be ok” mentality that Ryanair has is that it invites the government to come in and regulate. The EU said “Ryanair you are right, we don’t prohibit this so here is a passenger bill of rights to prohibit it.” Well, government regulation is a blunt and weighty object, ill suited to micromanage industry regulations. However, Ryanair basically dared the EU into regulation, which is precisely what the EU government did. The result of that regulation is that Ryanair is now on the hook for over 1,000 euros for delay that there is nothing they could have done anything about.
Moral of the story, don’t bite the tail of the tiger because the tiger will eat you.