Ryanair gives fairer contract terms

Ryanair has agreed to change its contract terms to give air travellers a fairer deal, following action by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT had a number of concerns with Ryanair’s terms, in particular:

* Ryanair’s liability for damage or delay to sporting equipment, infant equipment, medical/mobility equipment and musical instruments - Ryanair’s terms excluded liability for damage or delay to the above items and stated that they were carried on a ‘limited release basis’ - in other words, at the passenger’s own risk. Ryanair has now removed these exclusions of liability from its terms and conditions.

* Ryanair’s liability for baggage claims - Ryanair required that if an item of baggage was reported as lost and not found within 21 days, consumers would have to make a further claim within a further 21 days, otherwise Ryanair excluded liability for the lost baggage. In the OFT’s view this relieved the airline of liability to a greater extent than permitted by the Montreal Convention. Ryanair amended the terms so that the consumer is not required to make a further claim within the 21 day period, and also removed the requirement that consumers complete a ‘Property Irregularity Report’ when making a claim for damaged or delayed baggage, which the OFT also considered went beyond the provisions of the Montreal Convention.

* Ryanair’s liability in the event that flights are delayed or cancelled, or passengers are denied boarding on a flight - The OFT was concerned about the options that Ryanair offered to consumers in these situations, and considered that Ryanair’s terms did not reflect consumers’ full rights under the relevant EU Regulation. Ryanair has now amended these terms and included a copy of the notice setting out these rights on its website.

The OFT worked closely with the Air Transport Users Council in securing amendments to Ryanair’s terms.

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Ray Hall, OFT Director of Services said: ‘The OFT’s action has secured improvements to Ryanair’s terms that will benefit passengers. We expect other airlines using similar terms to stop doing so immediately. Continued use of such terms will be considered a breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.’
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