Ryanair has pleaded with customers affected by the cancellation of 2,100 of its flights to “bear with us” as it gets to grips with refunds and rescheduling.
A total of 315,000 people’s flights were axed earlier this week after the no frills carrier admitted that a blunder over its pilot rota system meant it had to cancel 2% of its services up to the end of October.
Amid a flurry of complaints about customers being left stranded – with many forking out for accommodation and struggling to contact the airline – it announced on Wednesday that it was making progress in tackling the backlog.
Video: Ryanair admits ‘it messed up’ over flight cancellations
Ryanair said it expected to have re-booked 55% of the total affected by close of business on Wednesday, with 20% of customers receiving their refunds by then.
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The airline said it had hired extra staff to help process the refund and re-booking requests – adding that it was on track to have resolved 95% of the work by the end of the week.
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The company’s combative chief executive Michael O’Leary said on Monday that he took personal responsibility for the “mess” which he mainly attributed to the planning of pilot holidays.
A backlog of crew leave, air traffic control strikes and weather disruptions were other factors. He denied reports that the defection of 140 pilots to a Norwegian rival was a factor.
Video: Anger over cancelled Ryanair flights
The airline’s marketing chief, Kenny Jacobs, said of its work to resolve passengers’ plans: “The vast majority of these requests are being dealt with online, but as our call centres and chat lines are extremely busy, we ask affected customers to bear with us as we do everything we can to respond to their requests and try to resolve any problems we have created for them, for which we again sincerely apologise.”
:: Full list of Ryanair’s cancelled flights
Living proof that cheap is expensive ! £25 to call their “helpline”. What a disgrace #Ryanair
— Jonathan Deeley (@jonathaninmalta) September 20, 2017
The Ryanair Facebook page and Twitter feed continue to be dogged with complaints which include claims their calls to its call centre and online chat service are going unanswered or being cut off.
Holly Jayne Austin posted: “Has anyone managed to get through to Ryanair or had a refund? Won’t let me refund and they are just cancelling my call”.
Laure Savoy wrote: “How can I ask for the EU261 compensation and refund if on your website the cancelled fight number is unknown for you?”.