Ryanair has said it is “disappointed” after pilots have threatened to strike on 22-23 August and 2-4 September.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced there are two walkouts planned, which will inevitably impact customers’ travel plans.
It blamed the scheduled industrial action on “decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions” and said it wants to resolve issues including: pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances, and a “transparent and consistent” pay structure for pilots.
“We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all,” BALPA said in a statement. As such, strike action is planned to go ahead.
If the strikes go ahead, they are likely to disrupt customers’ holidays and flights, the airline said, “particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October”.
Brian Strutton, BALPA general secretary, said: “No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans, but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”
So where does this leave people who have flights booked on those dates?
At the moment, there is still a chance that strike action won’t go ahead – but only if Ryanair resolves the dispute with BALPA. The airline confirmed it has written to BALPA asking them to return to talks.
If you have flights booked, you might be tempted to arrange a replacement flight now. But with talks still ongoing regarding strike action – and both the airline and union saying they do not want the strikes to go ahead – there’s a chance you might end up forking out for two tickets. Plus, even if the strikes do happen, a significant number of Ryanair flights may still operate.
Money.co.uk advises consumers to look around for a suitable flight, but hold off paying for another ticket until you know that you’ll definitely need it, and have been told you’ll receive a refund for the other ticket.
Strike action is deemed as ‘extraordinary circumstances’ which means airlines aren’t always obligated to refund you, according to Which?. Depending on the circumstances of the strike, however, you might be entitled to compensation, it says.
That said, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said airlines are required to offer a refund if it has not warned passengers of the cancellation at least two weeks in advance of the departure. Therefore, if you are not contacted by Ryanair about the flight cancellation in advance, you should be entitled to a refund. You should also be able to swap onto a different flight.
If strikes do go ahead and your flight is impacted, Ryanair will first try to accommodate you on the next available Ryanair flight. But if all else fails, they may use alternative airlines. Find out more about the rerouting options here.
Prior to the day of your flight, Ryanair tickets are changeable but they cannot be cancelled, according to the airline’s website. Flight dates, times and routes can be changed up to 2.5 hours before the flight departure time, it says. You can alter your booking via My Bookings unless you have already checked in.
If you have flights booked and are concerned with what to do, contact Ryanair directly.