For many people, August is the peak of the summer holiday season, especially when there is a Bank Holiday weekend to make the most of. However, airlines can throw a wrench into travel plans when things go wrong. It might not be too surprising that Ryanair is facing some problems right now as Ryanair pilots continue a 48-hour strike into the Bank Holiday weekend. The strike began yesterday on 22nd August and will continue today. Ryanair has said that despite the potential for disruption, 97% of their flights are running on time. Other than this, Ryanair is not ruling out flight delays or changes this Friday or during future strikes.
Why are Ryanair pilots on strike?
BALPA (the British Airline Pilots’ Association) are taking industrial action on 22nd August – 23rd August and 2nd September – 4th September 2019. The UK pilots are striking due to disputes over pay and working conditions, which Ryanair refuses to negotiate. BALPA is saying that Ryanair is not working with unions to discuss their issues regarding pensions, licence insurance, maternity benefits, and the pay structure for Ryanair employees. Ryanair is saying that pilots demanding a pay increase of more than 100% is unreasonable and irresponsible. But on the other side, BALPA describes Ryanair as having a negative and belligerent attitude.
Who will be affected by Ryanair pilot strikes?
Ryanair uses crews from various bases in Europe to operate their flights to and from airports in the UK. For this reason, they do not think that the UK pilots going on strike will affect many of these flights. If delays or changes to flights do occur, Ryanair says that these will be minor. British pilots only make up around 23% of Ryanair’s pilots, and not all of them are members of BALPA. Domestic flights within the UK and between the UK and Ireland are more likely to experience problems than other Ryanair flights from UK airports. However, passengers flying from Stansted might experience disruptions, because it is Ryanair’s base in the UK.
How will I know if my Ryanair flight is cancelled?
Always check the status of your flight online in the days before your departure, and especially before you leave for the airport. Check Ryanair’s website directly for information on their flight departures, including cancellations or delays. Even when you are at the airport, keep checking the departure screens for important updates. Ryanair should send you a text message up to 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time if the flight is delayed for more than 90 minutes. They should notify you by e-mail if the delay is longer than 2 hours, and give you options for what to do. Ryanair should give 2-3 days’ notice for cancellations.
Can I get compensation if Ryanair strikes affect my flight?
If Ryanair cancels your flight, then usually you have the right to a refund. However, in the case of cancellations due to strikes, refunds will be at Ryanair’s discretion. You can try to claim back costs incurred by delays or cancellations, but Ryanair does not have to pay compensation in “extraordinary circumstances” such as strikes. You might have to take them to court if you want to claim EU compensation. Normally you will have to sort out reasonable alternative arrangements yourself and claim the cost back from Ryanair. Last time there were Ryanair strikes, the Civil Aviation Authority ordered them to pay back €250-450 per customer.
What will happen next with Ryanair strikes?
As mentioned, BALPA is currently planning another strike for UK Ryanair pilots. This is due to take place across 2nd, 3rd, and 4th September. Despite their criticisms of the pilots and optimism for minimal disruption, Ryanair is not faring well in the public eye. Customers are often just as unhappy with Ryanair as their employees, if not more. These strikes are coinciding with the results of the Which? annual customer service satisfaction survey, which reveals that Ryanair came in last place out of 100 brands in the UK. Their score was the lowest at 45%, and the most chosen terms to describe Ryanair were “arrogant”, “greedy”, and “sneaky”.