Popular European air carrier RyanAir recently announced that it would be speeding up the processing of compensation claims for delayed and cancelled flights.
According to Kenny Jacobs, the carrier’s Chief Operating Officer, the claims are likely to be paid within a period of 10 days. RyanAir’s Guide Time for compensation payments, otherwise, is 4 weeks.
Rules set up by the European Union for passengers’ rights state that they are entitled to compensation for delays and cancellations. However, there are a few key conditions to be met. For starters, the passenger’s arrival is required to have been delayed by 3 hours or more at the destination airport. Other than that, a short notice cancellation is also eligible for compensation.
The payment rates can vary depending on the distance of the flight. For flights travelling less than 1500 km, the payout is fixed at 250 Euros and for longer flights, it is set at 400 Euros.
Compensation claims are not valid if the delay or cancellation has occurred due to extraordinary circumstances such as ATC strikes and bad weather. Staff-related problems or mechanical issues do not fall in this category.
RyanAir will be setting up a dedicated unit with 150 customer service representatives to carry out this operation. The unit will be working from Madrid. According to the CFO, RyanAir is aiming for high-speed resolutions. The company intends to process claims faster than any other airline.
But, will RyanAir be able to keep up? Passengers have often complained that the carrier makes use of a very complex claims filing process and that the payouts are often delayed. If Jacob’s statements are to be believed, the process will now be faster and simpler.
In his interaction with the media, the CFO clearly mentioned that everything was in black and white, meaning the carrier is aware of what is needed and what can be eliminated.
Easier Said Than Done
But, most delay or cancellation incidents are complex as there are several causes that lead to the problem. This, in turn, results in debates on whether or not a claim is legitimate. As a result, there are other entities that step in to solve the problem by offering legal advice to passengers.
RyanAir is also looking at switching to an automatic payments system, which can speed up claims processes for disruptions that are commonly agreed upon.
The Consumers’ Association recently launched an online petition that demands the implementation of automatic payout systems for verifiable and valid claims. However, this has been met with animosity from the carriers. Most of them have rejected it on the basis of the high costs involved.
For instance, the average ticket fare at RyanAir costs around 39 Euros, which is less than 10% of 400 Euros, which is a higher payout. Then, there is also the fact that only 50% of passengers submit claims. In fact, for some airlines, the compensation claims are in single digit percentages.
Citing the recent abrupt cancellation of 20,000 flights, Jacobs mentioned that RyanAir has learned a lot about customer service.