I think I am entitled to compensation under EC261. I filed an application from Ryanair's website and, after the automated ZenDesk acknowledgment email, I haven't heard back for months.

Is the company required to answer within a specific time frame? What is this time frame, and to whom should I escalate if my request is being ignored?

For context, I am a EU citizen living in the UK, and this is referring to a flight between the UK and the EU at a time when the UK was still under EU regulations (before 31 Dec 2020).

(This post isn't asking whether I'm entitled to compensation – in fact, I haven't given any details here –, but whether and under what rules I'm entitled to an answer)

  • 1
    No matter what you are legally entitled to, currently many airlines struggle with cash, and simply ignore their lawful obligations to pay. Be prepared to wait a long time and get nothing, or sue them.
    – Aganju
    Mar 2 at 16:12

The deadline is officially 2 months, after which you can submit a complaint to passenger.complaints@caa.co.uk. In practice most national enforcement bodies say 6 weeks.

Attach your boarding pass, proof of the basis of your claim, and a screenshot of the Zendesk auto-reply

  • Thanks, this is what my question asked specifically! Would you have a source for that?
    – Nicola Sap
    Mar 5 at 6:38
  • 1
    @NicolaSap Not really. europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/… says 2 months, but practice with most national enforcement bodies is 6 weeks
    – Crazydre
    Mar 6 at 21:06
  • I'd suggest changing the answer to state the 2-months deadline, as expressed by the source – then add any extra experience that would make you suggest a shorter deadline. I have already accepted the answer because the link in your comment was what I was looking for.
    – Nicola Sap
    Mar 7 at 15:43

Most airlines have no intention of paying EC261 and so they will make the process as difficult and cumbersome as possible. Many will just ignore you in the hope that you will simply go away. What you are "entitled" to is irrelevant and they will happily ignore this. The question is how to get some action going.

Enforcement agencies are here: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/2004_261_national_enforcement_bodies.pdf Technically you can complain there, but these tend to be large government agencies with spotty track records of actually doing something.

Your best shot is probably to keep writing to Ryanair with registered and legal sounding letters with due dates and the threat of interest, legal action and government escalation. These are not intended as a legal instrument (you would need a lawyer for this) but to convey the message that you are not going away peacefully. If you are lucky Ryan Air will eventually yield.

There are also third party companies that will fight the claim on your behalf for a sizable percentage of the compensation. They tend to have a good track record since they fight every claim to the end with full legal weaponry if required. The airlines know this and it's cheaper for the airlines just to pay.

EDIT Full test of the law is https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32004R0261

Concerning time it says in Article 8:

(a) - reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, ...

That only covers the refund but not automatically the compensation and I don't think is specified anywhere.

In article 7(3) it only says

The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

So it specifies the means but not the timing.

  • Thanks Hilmar for your reply. Are you aware of any accompanying measure to EC 261, or any legal precedent, that set a time frame for an application? In order to write "legal sounding letters with due dates" I should have a vague idea of whether they have crossed this line.
    – Nicola Sap
    Mar 3 at 8:14
  • I added some notes on the timing. Unfortunately the law isn't super helpful but that doesn't make much of a difference since the airlines will happily ignore whatever the law says anyway. This being said, you have long crossed the line. Ryan Air will NOT get back to you voluntarily. You need to start pestering them now and keep doing so at least once a week.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 3 at 12:25
  • @NicolaSap There's no such thing as a line that would matter these days. The airlines simply don't have nowhere near enough cash to pay all the refunds and compensations until air travel returns to "normal" levels. The governments and enforcement agencies also don't want to force all airlines to go bankrupt. By law, you should have received a refund or compensation long ago, but now we're at a point where those capable of enforcing it mostly have to keep looking the other way until the pandemic is over. Anything else could trigger an avalanche.
    – TooTea
    Mar 3 at 14:30
  • @TooTea The Kosovan national enforcement body saw to it that I got compensation (€400) for a cancelled flight in July. So at least some countries' bodies still care.
    – Crazydre
    Mar 4 at 23:49

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