Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Ash cloud compensation

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Q We live in Spain but were stranded in the UK in 2010 because of the ash cloud. We had to return by ferry and plane from Santander to Alicante. We also incurred extra costs in the UK. Can we claim from Ryanair?

David Chapman

A Despite the optimism in some quarters about the European Court of Justice ruling that Ryanair (and all other airlines) are responsible for customer care during delays, that applies only to people who stayed put and waited. The EU261 rules are, if you like, a charter for inertia: passengers who take the initiative to get themselves home get no help, while those who sit tight and wait for the airline to get them to their destination are entitled to continuous food and accommodation until their flight is finally ready.

If you had a Spanish-issued travel insurance policy, you would probably find some scope to claim on that. But beyond a refund for the unused tickets, Ryanair owes you nothing.

Sorry I can’t be more encouraging.

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