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Ryanair Cancelled Return Flight

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We received an email on the 2nd November 2020 from Ryanair Airlines explaining our return flight back to England on the 8th of November 2020 was cancelled due to ongoing changes to travel restrictions. 


We checked the airline website for alternative flights but there was nothing until the 19th November 2020, having checked for alternative flights from Thessaloniki Airport to other European countries but these places had high Covid 19 rates,  so this would have meant we would have to isolate for 14 days upon arrival to England.


We tried to phone Ryanair but without success and their website was not giving us the information we needed to return to England safely.

We took the decision to go to Thessaloniki Airport to speak with a Ryanair representative and try to arrange a safe passage home.

There was no representative from Ryanair to offer assistance so we spoke to an airport official who informed us that Thessaloniki Airport will be going into lockdown in the next 24hours.


We made the decision to make our way to Athens Airport where we had a better chance of finding another airline company that could take us to England safely. We found a flight back  but in two days time which meant we had to stay two nights in Athens.

The return leg took us to Gatwick but the car was in Stanstead which was more expense getting that.

On our return I filled out the EU261 Claim form on the Ryanair website (completed 9/11/20)


My question is what would be a reasonable time to allow Ryanair to settle my claim before I make a complaint to the CAA?



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there,


30 days is more than a reasonable time to get back to you, so since you haven't got a response whatsoever your next stage now is to complain to the CAA.


You're entitled 400 euros p/p, whether you had to get your car in Stanstead or not will make no difference to the amount.


Good luck!

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thanks for getting back, I have written to the CAA and received this reply:-


Thank you for your complaint received on 9 February 2021.
It appears to us that your complaint falls within the scope of Regulation EC261/2004. In the first instance, you should write to your airline so that they have an opportunity to respond to your complaint. However, as your flight involves EC Regulation 261/2004 and you departed from another European Union (EU) country or from a country outside the EU to an airport in another European country, I am afraid that we are not in a position to assist. This is because every Member State of the EU is required to have a body to receive complaints that fall under the Regulation. These bodies deal with complaints about flights from airports within their country and within their jurisdiction. You should therefore address your complaint directly to the relevant National Enforcement Body (NEB).

EU in this sense includes all EU Member States plus EEA countries of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland (Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, but maintains a special relationship with the EEA in regards to aviation).

It is up to the individual NEB how they deal with your complaint and we have found that some may take enforcement action against airlines in cases of proven infringements of the Regulation but they may not obtain redress for individual complaints. Whilst we do not want to pre-empt their actions we felt we should let you know you may have to pursue your individual claim legally to seek redress. However the NEB should advise you further of their findings, which will help you build your court case, and your next course of action once they have reviewed your complaint.
I am guessing the next move will be to send a message to the Greek authority?



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Yup, looks like they have a form here: http://www.ypa.gr/en/passenger-rights/


You may also want to notify Ryanair that you are proceeding with a Greek CAA complaint and that you are prepared to go the full length to receive the compensation you are due, maybe that will make them budge.


Good luck and keep us up to date!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I did try the national aviation authority on one occasion with Ryanair performance but was just given the runaround and ultimately got nowhere.  Granted, it was not Greece.


You may be better off going down the small claims track.  It can be done in the UK and could result in a swifter payout.  Be prepared to go toe-to-toe with Ryanair's pet solicitors though!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Received an email response tonight from Ryanair, but it leads only to this message "A previous application has already been submitted for this booking." Should I start getting ready an LBA?


Our Ref: 30*****

Dear Customer,
I refer to your recent correspondence regarding your booking.
Due to an unprecedented demand in contacts received as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may not have personally responded to everyone. Perhaps you have had a resolution though our contact centre or through another channel. If your query has been dealt with that is great and we have closed your ticket. We apologise if your query remains unresolved, the below options may assist:
• If you received a voucher and want to reject this option and request a cash refund, click here to submit your request. All cash refunds processed will be refunded back to the method of payment used during the booking process.
• If your flight is scheduled to operate and you choose not to travel, there is no refund due. However, flight changes can be made prior to departure. Please click here for the Terms and Conditions.
• As this cancellation was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore outside of our control, no EU261 compensation is due.
• If you have any questions relating to travel restrictions in the country, you may be entering or returning from please click here.
• If you have booked through an Online Travel Agent and wish to reject your voucher and request a refund please click here to access the Verification Form to submit your request.
• If you are an Online Travel Agent making a claim on behalf of your customers, it is necessary for one of the customers on the booking to submit the claim or alternatively follow the Letter of Authority process Click here for information on both options.
• If your query has not been resolved please click here to resubmit and we will handle this as soon as we can.
Yours sincerely,
Ryanair Group Customer Care (Ryanair DAC, Lauda & Malta Air)



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NWNF have no more legal powers nor clout than you..




please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Ok, so this very interesting, when they are trying to deny you compensation by claiming Covid-19 as an extraordinary circumstance.



• As this cancellation was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore outside of our control, no EU261 compensation is due.



A blanket statement blaming it on Covid-19 is not acceptable, as every flight must be assessed on a case by case basis, and the burden of proof is on Ryanair to demonstrate that cancelling this particular flight was necessary as extraordinary.


The fact that they sent this email in bulk to customers on 1000 of flights is already a big hint that they're not assessing this properly on a case by case basis.







Nevertheless, the respective advice of both the EU Commissioner for Transport and the CAA has emphasised that each cancellation must be assessed on an individual case-by-case basis. This means that airlines cannot use COVID-19 as a blanket excuse for cancellations without compensating passengers. Airlines intending to rely on the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ exemption for COVID-19 related cancellations must be mindful that the burden of proof is on the airlines in such scenarios and of the need to demonstrate, in each case, that:

  • there was a clear link between the extraordinary circumstances and the cancellation; and
  • the cancellation could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken






You are however not out of the woods as they do have various reasons to invoke where they could actually deny you EC261 - if properly demonstrated for your individual flight. The rules have been very very vague and so it will heavily depend on what happened at that time of the year, what new restrictions were imposed, and even the number of passengers on your flight





Given the unprecedented situation we are experiencing in aviation due to Covid-19, and although each case would need to be considered on its own merits and the relevant facts, we consider that the following circumstances would be viewed as extraordinary circumstances and therefore the fixed sum compensation would, in our view, not be payable:

  • Where the Government advises against all travel, or all but essential travel, to a destination.
  • For cancellations or long delays impacted by Covid-19 in other circumstances that are not inherent in the operation of the airline and beyond its control. Such circumstances could include those where there is no Government advice against travel, but where disruption has been directly caused by activities of regulatory authorities or other third parties related to Covid-19, for example closing airspace to the airline, seriously restricting the airline’s operations in other ways, or where the corresponding movement of persons is not entirely prohibited, but limited to persons benefitting from exemptions (for example nationals or residents of the state concerned). 

There may be other circumstances where airlines seek to cancel flights within the 14 day period due to the economic and environmental consequences of operating flights with only a small number of passengers on board. Such circumstances could arise as a result of restrictions applied within the country of destination, for example restrictions on movement within the country (e.g. lockdown/shutdown measures implemented by the local or national government) as well as restrictions on access to local services that are critical for non-residents (e.g. hotel closures, restaurant closures, etc), which will have affected whether passengers take their flights. Such circumstances may be viewed as extraordinary circumstances under Regulation EC261/2004 and therefore the fixed sum compensation would not be payable, but this may not be the case in all circumstances.

Where a flight is cancelled and the airline can demonstrate that this decision was justified on grounds of protecting the health of the crew, such cancellation should also be considered as caused by extraordinary circumstances.

The above considerations are not and cannot be exhaustive in that other specific circumstances in relation to Covid-19 may also fall under the ambit of Article 5(3).




Did anything happen between you travelling out and your flight being cancelled - such as new restrictions announced - that would enable them to claim extraordinary reasons? That will be key because if they sold the ticket whilst the pandemic was already known then they might not really have a leg to stand on there.


Either way I don't know the legal procedure but as it seems clear that Ryanair did not treat your complaint with due process,  I suggest you get in touch with the greek CAA again to say that Ryanair have denied your claim under the guise of extraordinary circumstance, using a template email, and without providing justification, and that you do not accept their decision and wish to take the complaint further.




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amazing piece of info, thank you for taking the time to compile this for me.

The story is what I've written above, but there is still a matter of the insurance policy that was in place at the time, they've asked us to contact everyone concerned to ask for refunds and once we have rejection letters we can go back to them and hope for a payout.

This does not let Ryanair off the hook so upon your advice I will go back to the Greek CAA and complain!


again thanks for you time and effort



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There is EU updated guidance on how COVID-19 relates to being an extraordinary circumstance for travel.


In (very) short, it says that it is only fulfilled if a public authority prohibits travel or a flight is cancelled or delayed due to an individual being the cause of the delay.  Ryanair are using this as a blanket excuse when it is not.

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Fantastic advice from everyone so much to think about, so what will be my next move a) contact the Greek CAA or b) LBA and start the ball rolling through the courts or c) Insurance Claim?

I'm off to bed now I have to feed the Bears tomorrow!



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Before I contact the Greek CAA this is the cancellation email we received back in November 2020, I cannot see anything that relates to Covid-19. Just checking with you guys to see if you can find anything before I send off an email.



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Dear Customer,

We regret to advise you that due to ongoing changes to travel restrictions, at very short notice, we have no alternative and are forced to cancel your flight(s):

FR8583 from Thessaloniki to London (Stansted) on 08Nov20.

Please inform any other customers who may be travelling in your party of these cancellations.

We are notifying you today to inform you that you can choose between a full reimbursement of the cost of your ticket, or the option of re-routing as well as reasonable care (as detailed below).



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It does say clearly "because of ongoing changes to travel restrictions". If I remember correctly the 2nd lockdown started around that time so, assuming you travelled out before it was announced and the announcement was made when you were there,  it is likely that they have indeed a specific reason to not pay you EC261. You need to look back into Bojo speeches etc... and see if the timing fits. After all Ryanair, despite all their flaws, are not responsible for the lockdowns. (at least not directly 😬)


Risks of travel during an ongoing pandemic...


With EC261 probably out of the window, do you have any evidence left for yourself that they completely neglected the rerouting option with reasonable care. When they sent you the initial email did you ask for a rerouting in writing,? Did you keep evidence (phone record/photos) they weren't responding tp calls, and not present at the airport etc? 





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at the time of the booking the corridor to Greece was open with no COVID restrictions in place apart from having a valid Passenger Locator Form to enter Greece and one to return to UK. Greece went into lockdown before Britain this is why we had to leave because within 24hours Thessaloniki Airport was going into lockdown. Obviously we tried phoning Ryanair but an automated message kept diverting us to their website to rebook another flight however the next flight two weeks away. When at Thessaloniki airport there was no agent from Ryanair to assist us so with the airport lockdown looming we had to make an instant  decision on how to get back to the UK. We decided the safest route was to fly to Athens Airport and fly from their to the UK. I do believe the second UK lockdown came into effect on the 5th November 2020, Ryanair cancelled our flight on the 2nd November understandably we were due back on the 8th November.

Edited by webbscatering



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Ryanair is definitely not responsible for the cancellation if the airport was shut down, and thus they don't owe you any EC261 compensation here. Sorry I missed the situation when you posted your OG story.


Rather than a victim of Ryanair here you are a victim of believing the government's more than dodgy "air corridor" scheme... like that was ever going to work in the middle of a pandemic, and before a 2nd wave that had been predicted months before 🤨


Ryanair did not provide you any help or service, but that is what you pay for when you travel with them. As much as I hate to defend them, I can't imagine they could have coped with 2 weeks worth of stranded passengers suddenly all trying to fly back within a 24 hour window.


You did the right thing (assuming your goal was to return to the UK!) but I'm afraid you're going to be out of pocket here.


I suppose another option you would have had then (especially if you are into adventures), would have been to let yourself be locked down, and call the British embassy and ask for a repatriation flight. However I do seem to remember that this gov was by far the worst organised (people stranded for weeks and forced to pay for flights - while residents of other European countries were taken faster and for free). That point is completely moot right now mind.


See if anyone else has thought about something else.

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I agree with Kyosanto, if the air corridor closed the route then it means it was a "public authority" causing the cancellation so it is an extraordinary circumstance.  That means no EU261 compensation unfortunately.  Having opted to re-route though you should be able to claim those costs back from Ryanair.


What did you clam for from them originally?

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