The Court of Appeal has upheld Ryanair’s policy of communicating and paying EU261 delay compensation direct to consumers.

An application by flight delay specialist law firm Bott and Co to indemnify it for any fees that it cannot recover from customers who have been paid compensation directly by Ryanair was dismissed.

Lord Justice Lewison, who along with Lord Justice Simon and Lord Justice Lindblom, presided over the Court of Appeal hearing.

They stated that Ryanair’s claims procedure “enables a passenger to claim compensation with a minimum of effort”.

The judges endorsed a London High Court’s finding last year that “Ryanair has established a straightforward and easy to use process for its passengers to make their flight delay compensation claims, either online or by correspondence, without the assistance of a third party”.

Ryanair urged customers with valid EU261 compensation claims to submit them directly and avoid  what it described as ‘claims chaser’ firms such as Bott and Co.

The budget airline claimed such firms can deduct more than 40% of a €250 claim in fees.

However, Bott and Co senior partner David Bott described the ruling as a “victory for passengers, who retain the right to choose who they want to ask for assistance with their claim”.

He added: “As far as passengers are concerned the Court of Appeal have looked at Ryanair’s terms and conditions and said passengers:

  • Have to use the Ryanair claims process in the first instance and
  • Can use third parties such as Bott and Co, so long as the claim is made in the name of the passenger

“We argued that the passenger should have total freedom of choice as to how they could lodge their claim and who could help them.

“We welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision that passengers are free to use third parties, so long as the claim is made in their name.

“Bott and Co continues to offer free advice to passengers, including a template letter, guide to claiming compensation and an advanced online tool that confirms whether a claim is valid, and if so how much the passenger is entitled to.

“We believe that every passenger has the right to decide if they are represented and remain steadfast in our fight for their rights.”

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome this confirmation by the Court of Appeal concerning last year’s London High Court ruling, which upheld Ryanair’s policy of communicating with, and paying EU261 compensation directly to, our customers.

“This will help prevent ‘claims chaser’ firms deliberately and needlessly dragging consumers through the courts so they can grab more than 40% of customers’ compensation, for providing no useful service whatsoever.

“Where customers have a valid claim for compensation, they can make their claim directly on the Ryanair.com website and avoid these excessive ‘claims chasers’ deductions.

“Last year, we established a dedicated claims team to process these valid claims within ten working days and to make it as straightforward as possible for our customers.”