Ryanair Cancels 18,000 Flights, Affecting 400,000 Travelers

Ryanair has done something very Ryan-airy.  They canceled 18,000 flights.  Over 400,000 passengers were booked on these flights.

According to the Independent:

A total of 34 routes will be suspended over the winter, including London Stansted to Edinburgh, Newcastle to Faro, London Gatwick to Belfast and Glasgow to Las Palmas.

The low-cost airline has said it has offered all 400,000 passengers affected the choice between a refund or an alternative flight.

Ryanair has described the move as “slowing its growthâ€, saying it will fly 25 fewer aircraft of its 400-strong fleet in order to “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations because slower growth creates lots of spare aircraft and crews across Ryanair’s 86 bases this winter.â€

Read the whole story here for the CEO’s statement as well as information about how it has affected passengers.  Note, this is not the first set of cancellations Ryanair has announced.

Ryanair is an interesting airline.  While we have our own low-cost carriers in the US, Ryanair is its own special breed of low-cost carrier.

people boarding an airplane

If your flight is canceled on Spirit or Frontier, they will book you on another flight.  Ryanair will just refund your money.

As in, you aren’t on an airplane.

Tiff and I were talking about this new story and she reminded me of the time she flew Ryanair with her family.  Their flight was canceled and they were shocked to find out they were issued refunds vs. Ryanair finding another flight for them.

Note, Spirit will even rebook you on another airline if they have to.

Tiff’s family could only get to their destination via bus–which cost twice as much as the tickets they purchased for Ryanair.  While tickets on another airline would have been more expensive, they wouldn’t have had to scramble to find alternate solutions on their own.

This is why I’ll fly (gasp) Spirit and Frontier, but not Ryanair.

The reasoning behind the cancelations is interesting, though.  They are slowing growth to prevent future cancellations.  In other words, they canceled flights so that flights wouldn’t get canceled.


In this situation, the flights are getting canceled ahead of time, giving passengers enough time to find alternate plans.  Ryanair is also letting them rebook onto another Ryanair flight–something they might not be able to do with a last-second cancellation.

Perhaps this is a step towards being a slightly more passenger-friendly airline.  Or maybe I’m just overly optimistic today.

But the ultimate reason for the cancellations is needing to give more leave to comply with UK regulations.  So maybe it’s at least more employee friendly now?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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