Tuesday 21 May 2019

Ryanair's Christmas strike: What are my options for flights?

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Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

A planned pilots’ strike for December 20 has left Ryanair passengers facing yet more frustration. Pól Ó Conghaile looks at their options.

Q: What is happening?

A: Another season, another Ryanair public relations debacle. A dispute between the airline and pilots has escalated to a strike threat by some of its Dublin-based pilots on December 20, just days before Christmas.

Q: What flights will be cancelled?

A: We don't know yet, because Ryanair hasn't said.

"Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions (at Dublin on December 20) if and when they arise," it stated, apologising for "any upset or worry" to passengers in the coming days.

Not all of the airline's Dublin-based pilots are set to strike (just Ialpa members directly employed by the airline, which it says accounts for less than 28pc), so the optimistic view is that many December 20 fights will go ahead regardless.

Q: I'm flying on December 20. What should I do?

A: The uncertainty is the issue. A deal could be done, or the strike could go ahead.

Your flight could be affected... or not.

That's why this is so frustrating for passengers.

One option is to sit tight and wait for a concrete announcement on cancellations.

Even if there is a strike, not all Dublin flights will be affected, and Ryanair is likely to manoeuvre to plug gaps.

For cancelled flights, it will be obliged to offer passengers refunds and re-routing.

The other option is to change your flight just in case. Anecdotally, I've heard of people doing this, but remember - you bear the full cost of any changes in the absence of cancellations, and are not entitled to refunds.

Q: What if I am flying on December 21?

A: There is no mention of any other strike dates - though clearly, if passengers do end up being rescheduled onto future flights, they will fill up faster. If you haven't booked yet and want to fly next week, then book soon, and best avoid December 20.

Q: What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?

A: If your flight is cancelled, under EC Regulation 261/2004 your airline must offer you re-routing or a refund.

If you choose a refund, the airline's obligations to you end with that. If you choose a re-routing, you are entitled to certain care and assistance (see flightrights.ie for more).

Irish Independent

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