My coworker had a flight scheduled for this afternoon from Brussels to Dublin using Ryanair. However, Aviapartner, one of the 2 companies in charge of ground activities like baggage handling, moving planes away from the gate, refueling etc, is on strike today and Ryanair canceled his flight.

Normally, since this is an EU flight that's been canceled, my coworker could demand refund and compensation from the carrier. However, Ryanair is a notorious stickler for refunds etc. In addition, it's not Ryanair themselves that are on strike, but a 3rd party partner. Does this mean that Ryanair can call in "force majeure"? Or are they still required to provide a refund and/or compensation?

  • If I understand it correctly, Aviapartner does regular ground handling of the Ryanair flights in Brussels. They are not responsible for air traffic control ('... like plane navigation') as you state in your question. The difference may be relevant. Oct 26 '18 at 8:43
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Sorry, I used the wrong word. with plane navigation I meant things like moving planes away from the gate, not the actual on-tarmac navigation.
    – Nzall
    Oct 26 '18 at 10:24
  • 4
    In theory, if it's a ground handling partner, Ryanair is liable, but they notoriously often refuse compensation in those cases, even though case law is quite clear on the subject I believe.
    – jcaron
    Oct 26 '18 at 11:33

There is a theoretical part to this and a practical part. In theory, what you think is the cause of the cancellation, what they say is the reason for the cancellation and what can be proven in court later on are three very separate problems.

Given the fact that the claim (ticket refund + compensation) will be in the 3-digit EUR, how many hours can you pay a lawyer to fight your case and how much effort can you put into that assuming you are a person that needs to work to earn your living. Also keep in mind that you possibly will have to sue Ryanair in Ireland from abroad unless you happen to live there anyway.

So a practical solution would be to contact one of the many portals on the Internet which you or your co-worker can sell his claim to. This usually doesn't involve more than entering the date and flight number to get a first impression about what they think.

  • Note that it's only compensation that is subject to the legally tricky extraordinary-circumstances loophole -- they have to offer refund or rerouting (at the traveler's choice) for any cancellation no matter why. Oct 1 '19 at 13:07
  • (Though of course with a low-cost carrier the compensation could easily be the major part of a hoped-for claim). Oct 1 '19 at 13:08
  • Given the route Brussels to Dublin, the copensation is 250 EUR, not the often thought of 600 EUR. For that you need > 3500 km which will be hard to find on an intra-EU flight. If you get re-routed, there will be no refund as you have been transported. Unfortunately, depending on what airport you are it may be hard to find someone who you can talk to at all.
    – TorstenS
    Oct 1 '19 at 13:14

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