Holidaymakers hit by Ryanair’s flight cancellations

Furious holidaymakers who have been forced to cancel hotel rooms or rental cars after Ryanair axed their flights are facing further misery because travel insurance companies will not reimburse them.

Airline boss Michael O’Leary has apologised to outraged passengers for the ‘mess’ after he grounded more than 2,000 flights over the next six weeks because of the number of pilots taking holidays. 

The budget airline has agreed to pay for alternative flights or offer refunds to more than 300,000 affected customers, and should under European law meet the accommodation and food costs of those stranded abroad.

Airline boss Michael O’Leary has apologised to outraged passengers

But now people who have had to cancel their holidays before they have even begun are complaining that they cannot get their money back for non-refundable hotel bookings or car hire. 

A BBC investigation yesterday found none of the major travel insurance firms cover such ‘knock-on’ losses as part of their standard policies.

One angry passenger, Alice, told Radio 4’s Money Box programme that she had been planning to fly from Leeds to Montpellier in France but the flight was cancelled, so she opted for another to Slovakia only to find that had been axed as well.

She said: ‘I had hotels booked in two different countries and I had paid for those two bookings on my credit card.’

Fiona Macrae, from Travel Insurance Explained, advised customers to spend more on travel insurance so policies covered claims for cancellations ‘beyond reasonable control’. Other experts advised trying to claim from credit card firms.