Ryanair fined for not helping stranded passengers

Back during April’s travel mess, the European Union warned Ryanair because Ryanair refused to compensate stranded passengers for lodging and food. The EU told them they were legally required to, and the budget carrier backed down.

Here comes the sequel to that story.

Italy has slapped Ryanair with a three million euro ($3.75 million) fine for not providing 178 people at Rome’s Ciampino airport with help required under EU Regulation 261. This includes lodging and food that the airline was supposed to give stranded passengers.

Ryanair is denying the charges so this will probably end up in court. Ryanair will almost certainly bring up a provision in the regulation stating that, “obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.”

Italian officials, however, have pointed out that most other airlines offered food and hotels for the duration of the shutdown. Plus Ryanair’s own website says that you’re covered by EU261, “If your flight is cancelled, for whatever reason.”

Considering that an estimated eight million passengers were affected by April’s volcanic eruption, this is probably only the first in a long series of legal actions.