More summer holiday plans will be thrown into chaos as Ryanair pilots have voted to strike twice over the next month. The first walkout is scheduled from 22nd to 23rd August and the second will take place from 2nd to 4th September.
Anyone due to fly with the airline during those times will likely experience severe delays and should check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.
Balpa, the British Airline Pilot’s Association which represents the budget airline’s pilots, announced the strike action is due to a dispute over pay, maternity benefits and allowances. Members of the union voted by 4-1 to back the strike.
According to the Independent, more than two million passengers are expected to fly with Ryanair over the five days, however not all of them will be travelling on aircrafts flown by Ryanair pilots.
Passengers travelling with the airline over the strike days will be notified of any flight cancellations in advance but should check Ryanair’s website for the latest updates.
What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?
If a flight is cancelled due to strike action the airline is required to offer a full refund of any unused tickets or, under the European air passengers’ rights rules, find an alternative flight for its passengers.
If Ryanair is not able to find an alternative flight on one of their planes, they are required to book passengers a flight with an alternative airline. Ryanair is also required to pay transport expenses if passengers need to travel to an alternative airport.
Ryanair will also need to provide passengers with overnight accommodation if necessary, as well as food and refreshments.
I booked a package holiday, who do I speak to?
If the Ryanair flight is booked as part of a package holiday, passengers should speak directly to their tour operator or travel agent. It is the travel company’s responsibility to rebook an alternative flight or offer a refund for the whole holiday.
Can I claim compensation due to the strike?
There may be a dispute between the Civil Aviation Authority and Ryanair. Generally, strike action which does not involve the airlines staff is classed as an extraordinary circumstance and compensation does not need to be paid.
In this case, the airline must pay compensation if the flight is cancelled. Passengers travelling on a flight up to 1,500km are entitled to around £230 and passengers on longer flights are entitled to around £370.
Can my travel insurance help?
Most travel insurance policies will offer a small amount of compensation to passengers affected by delays. This is usually per set period of time and up to a total amount. For example, £10.00 for every 12-hour period up to £100.00. Some policies will offer compensation for every 6-hour period, and the amount available will differ.
Travel abandonment may also be an option. Passengers who decide to cancel their holiday after a 24-hour or 12-hour delay, depending on the policy, will be covered for cancellation.
Both delay compensation and travel abandonment cover will only be available if the passenger checked-in on time and the airline had not already announced the delay or cancellation.
If you are delayed reaching your accommodation or are unable to use any pre-booked car parking it is unlikely this will be covered by travel insurance as it is classed as a consequential loss.
In this circumstance, passengers should speak directly to the hotel provider or car parking company to discuss their options. Failing that, passengers may be able to claim back costs from their credit card company for any unused portion of their trip.