Budget airline Ryanair has pledged to pay flight delay compensation to customers within 10 days, rather than its current 28 day target.

The airline today announced that from 1 April its claims team will aim to pay a "valid" claim under the EU261 flight delay regulation within 10 days of receiving it.

If you're delayed by more than three hours or your flight's cancelled, under EU rule 261/2004 you could be entitled to between £110 and £530 in compensation.

Ryanair was forced to process a large number of these compensation payments at the end of last year, after 100,000s of passengers had their flights cancelled with little notice.

And at the time it came in for some criticism, see our MSE Ryanair wrongly denies passenger compensation for cancelled flight News story for more information.

See our Flight Delays guide for full info including our free reclaim tool.

What does Ryanair say?

Ryanair announced its intention to speed up compensation payments as part of its 'Always Getting Better Plan'.

As well as processing valid claims in 10 days, it has also promised that 90% of its flights in the next year will be on time, and that its flights will be plastic-free within five years.

Speaking to the Independent, Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: "We are promising today we will pay any valid claim within 10 days of receiving that claim.

"At Ryanair we have learnt a lot about customer service in the past six months, and the two key things we want to do are reassure customers that if you have a valid claim it's very black and white in terms of what's valid and what's not valid, and we will pay that claim within 10 days.

"We're also introducing new digital initiatives for customer service so if you want to rebook a flight or you want to take a refund, it would be something that you can simply do on the Ryanair app and we're also going to make the claims form and claims process much more simplified on the Ryanair website."

'Don't assume being told no means your claim isn't valid'

Megan French, consumer expert at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "While it is good news claims will be paid more quickly, don't assume that being told no means your claim isn't valid - you can escalate your claim if you disagree with the airline.

"It's worth being particularly careful if you're rebooking a flight on the app, firstly make sure you get compensation as well as a refund if you're owed it. Secondly be aware you may be entitled to rebook with another airline if you're not offered a reasonable alternative, but you MUST speak to Ryanair first in person, on the phone or using online chat to be able to reclaim the cost."

When are EU261 claims 'valid'?

There are many rules around whether a flight delay meets the criteria for compensation and we have all the details in our Flight Delays guide, but in brief:

  • You must've arrived more than three hours late (see how to check past delay lengths)
  • The flight must have left from an EU airport, or you must have arrived at an EU airport on an EU airline. Under this law, EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • It must be the airline's fault - eg, airport strikes aren't covered. What counts?
  • How much you can claim is fixed, based on delay and journey length. What am I owed?

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