Budget airline Ryanair has apologised after a passenger caught up in the cancellation chaos last month was wrongly told he could not claim compensation because he'd already been given a refund.

Under EU regulation 261/2004, if your Ryanair flight was cancelled the airline must give you the choice of an alternative flight or a full refund - and if your flight was cancelled with 14 days' notice or less, you could also be due between £110 and £355 compensation.

Mark Newman was given a refund after his flight was cancelled with just six days' notice, but then told the airline had "no further liability". It was only when he contacted MoneySavingExpert.com and we took his case up that Ryanair admitted its mistake.

Ryanair insists Mark was denied compensation as the result of a "one-off error" - but if you think you should have been offered compensation and weren't, check now.

For full help see our Ryanair cancellations news story. For more on your rights and our free reclaim tool, see the Flight Delays guide.

Martin Lewis
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How Mark was denied compensation

Mark was due to fly from Brussels to Edinburgh on the evening of Sunday 24 September, but was told on Monday 18 September that his flight had been cancelled.

Mark was initially told he could transfer to another Ryanair flight, but as there were none available that day, he opted for a refund and booked himself on a different airline. (Ryanair has now admitted it's required to also offer alternative flights on other airlines if necessary, and says it's doing this).

Under EU law Mark should have been due compensation, because his flight was cancelled with less than 14 days' notice and the alternative flight he was offered was the next day.

However after Mark claimed his refund of €33 from Ryanair, it sent him an email saying: "We note you chose not to rebook with Ryanair, but decided to apply for a refund of your cancelled flight. We have processed the refund as you requested, therefore Ryanair has no further liability according to EU261."

Response 'sent in error'

Mark knew Ryanair's response was incorrect, so emailed us for help. After we contacted Ryanair, it admitted its response had been "sent in error" - but insisted it was a "one-off error" by one of its customer service agents.

A Ryanair spokesperson added: "Our customer service department are contacting Mr Newman to process his compensation claim and we apologise for the inconvenience caused." On Thursday, Mark says he received a letter from Ryanair apologising and promising to send him a cheque in compensation. 

Have you been wrongly turned down for compensation by Ryanair? If so, let us know at news@moneysavingexpert.com

If your flight's cancelled and you're refunded, you may ALSO be due compensation

If your flight's cancelled with 14 days' notice or less you could be due between £110 and £355 compensation ON TOP of a refund or alternative flight. The cancellation must be the airline's fault for this to apply.

What you're due is based on the distance of your flight, how much notice you were given and the arrival time of the alternative flight you're offered – though you can claim compensation even if you opt for a refund instead and never actually take the alternative flight. It's worth noting details of the alternative flight you were offered for evidence in case of any future dispute.

The tables below show how much compensation you could be due if your flight's cancelled.

Flight cancelled 7-14 days before departure

Flight length 0 – 1,500km, eg, London to Paris 1,500 – 3,500km, eg, London to Istanbul
Time of alternative flight vs original (i) Leaves 2hrs+ before, lands late (up to 2hrs after) Lands 4hrs+ late. OR leaves 2hrs+ before, lands 2hrs+ after Leaves 2hrs+ before, lands late (up to 3hrs after) Lands 4hrs+ late. OR leaves 2hrs+ before, lands 3-4hrs after
Compensation €125
(£110)
€250
(£220)
€200
(£180)
€400
(£355)
(i) Based on the timings of alternative flight offered. Sterling figures based on exchange rate of €1.13 to £1. Rounded to the nearest £5.

Flight cancelled less than 7 days before departure

Flight length 0 – 1,500km, eg, London to Paris 1,500 – 3,500km, eg, London to Istanbul
Time of alternative flight vs original (i) Leaves 1hr+ before, lands late (up to 2hrs after) Lands 2hrs+ late Leaves 1hr+ before, lands late (up to 3hrs after) Lands 3hrs+ late
Compensation €125
(£110)
€250
(£220)
€200
(£180)
€400
(£355)
(i) Based on the timings of alternative flight offered. Sterling figures based on exchange rate of €1.13 to £1. Rounded to the nearest £5.

If your flight's cancelled with more than 14 days' notice, you'll still get a refund or altenative flight under EU rules, but WON'T be due compensation. For more info and our free reclaim tool, see the Flight Delays guide.

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