Ryanair has been ordered by the UK’s aviation regulator to sort out compensation for hundreds of thousands of travellers hit by mass flight cancellations by 5pm on Friday.
The Civil Aviation Authority instructed the budget airline to tell passengers they are entitled to be re-routed by another carrier and explain how that will work.
Ryanair must also publicly state it will reimburse expenses for affected customers, according to a letter from the CAA.
In addition, the Dublin-based carrier must commit to helping passengers who chose an unsuitable option as a result of being misled.
It comes after the regulator accused the airline of “not complying with the law” over its handling of the fiasco.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said he was “furious” after Ryanair cancelled an extra 18,000 flights for the winter season on Wednesday – a move that will hit 400,000 customers.
“They are not making it clear to people their entitlement,” Haines told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“If they follow through on what they are saying, then they would be breaking the law.”
A Ryanair spokesman said the company will meeting with the CAA and comply fully with its requirements.
The latest round of cancellations adds to mounting anger against Ryanair, which was already coming under heavy fire after cancelling up to 50 flights a day earlier this month.
Ryanair says the cancellations were brought about because of an error with pilot holiday rosters.
Passengers have expressed their frustration with the airline, with many left out of pocket due to a lack of alternative flights and accommodation bookings they can no longer use.
Haines said airline passengers are “well-protected by the law”.
“They are entitled to compensation and if there is a cancellation, they are entitled to be re-routed by other airlines.
“The chief executive of Ryanair (Michael O’Leary) has gone on record and said he is not going to do that. He then issued a clarification.
“But yesterday when they announced 18,000 further cancellations, they failed to follow through on that.
“We are furious they are not complying with the law and they are not giving customers what they are entitled to.”
The regulator could take legal action against the airline for breaching consumer protection laws.
It says Ryanair has falsely claimed it did not have to re-route passengers on other airlines, particularly when there are no other services available.
The CAA also accused the airline of stopping short of providing details on its obligations to refund additional expenses incurred by passengers as a result of cancellations including for meals, hotels and transfer costs.