This morning a huge case against Ryanair was introduced at the Commercial Court of Charleroi. About 400 passengers are claiming a compensation from the low-cost carrier. The Irish airline had cancelled thousands of flights at short notice last autumn, many of them at Charleroi airport. The complainants have asked Happy Flights, a company specialising in claiming compensation from airlines, to go to court.
Happy Flights, what’s in a name, is a Ghent-based start-up specialised in claiming compensation from airlines. They are representing 746 passengers, victims of flights cancelled or delayed by Ryanair last autumn. Among them, 375 passengers were travelling from Charleroi airport. The amount claimed in the commercial court is not less than 108,425 euros.
“For a delay of more than 3 hours or for a cancellation, the European regulation allows to claim a compensation of 250 to 600 euros, it is a right,” said Peter Van Hende, spokesman for Happy Flights.
Last September and October, the Irish airline cancelled thousands of flights because of scheduling problems of its pilots. Some 715,000 passengers in Europe were affected by these cancellations. Some had managed by themselves to obtain a compensation. But often, it can be very complicated to get a compensation.
Several specialised companies, therefore, propose to do the work against a commission of 25% of the compensation. Regarding Ryanair, the start-up Happy Flights in Ghent is hopeful. “Last year, we did the same thing and they paid, we would not do that if we were not sure of winning,” said Peter Van Hende.
The claim relating to flights from Charleroi has today been introduced before the Commercial Court of Charleroi. The session was very short: the case has been forwarded to another chamber of the Court, which will examine it at the end of March.
Ryanair cautions against “claim hunters”
“Ryanair does not make it difficult for passengers claiming compensation,” says the airline. The company denounces companies like Happy Flights, calling them “claim hunters” who “do not provide any useful services“.
“Many of these ‘claim hunters’ businesses are scamming consumers by taking up to 50% of their compensation and we urge all customers with valid claims under EU Directive 261 to submit them directly to Ryanair“.
Comment: If you have accepted a refund or flight change, you have up to one year to claim a compensation from your airline.