A LANDMARK court judgement in Manchester County Court has ruled that Ryanair cannot limit the time allowed for passengers to claim compensation for delayed flights to two years.
Under European law, passengers have the right to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights for up to six years.
Ryanair has now been told by the court that legally they must honour that agreement.
Lawyers for the Irish carrier say it could be liable for compensation payouts of around £610million.
The Irish airline has now said it will lodge an appeal.
A statement from Ryanair said: “Since we believe a six year time limit for submitting such claims is both unnecessary and unreasonable, we have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this ruling.”
The case was brought by two passengers from London, Archana Goel and Diwaker Trivedi, who were delayed on a flight in 2009.
Ryanair had argued the five year old claim was inadmissible as it exceeded the two year limit it imposed on customers.
All passengers who book a ticket with the airline are furnished with that fact in Ryanair’s terms and conditions, according to the airline.
It is believed that millions of passengers could now file compensation claims against Ryanair.
Passengers can claim between £180 and £440 for a delay of at least three hours or more, as long as it was not caused by “extraordinary circumstances”.