This week, Ryanair announced yet more cancelled flights as it failed to reach a deal with its pilots. As a result, the travel plans of 55,000 people have been disrupted leading to millions of euros in compensation claims and out of pocket claims. So who’s been affected and what can you do about it?
So it’s happening again – and it’s starting to feel like a constant at Ryanair. Last summer, a lack of planning left pilots unable to take to the skies after refusing annual leave days for too long. This year it’s pilot strikes over pay, conditions and benefits. Germany and Ireland will suffer the most from the strikes, as flights between Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dublin are the most affected. But the knock on effects will be felt across Europe.
What exactly happened to cause the ryanair strikes?
The Dutch pilot’s union, Vereniging Nederlandse Verkeersvliegers (VNV) took action after demanding the low-cost airline change its ways. Most passengers won’t find it hard to belive that many pilots find the Ryanair management impossible to deal with. In the past they’ve been called ‘penny-pinching’, ‘pernickety’ and ‘perverse’. The VNV tweeted, “Today is all about a wake-up call for the Ryanair Managers. A culture change is needed. Give your employees the respect they deserve.”
In total agreement, Germany’s “Cockpit” union reported that the Ryanair strike had occurred after the airline “refused categorically” to account for higher personnel costs for cockpit crew. “Ryanair alone is responsible”, Cockpit president Martin Locher told a news conference.
Can I get a refund?
While we’re glad the pilots are taking a stand against Ryanair’s shoddy treatment, for those disrupted, it’s another headache. By now, most of us are aware of the EU261 legislation. This requires an airline to give a full refund plus 600 EUR compensation for a last minute cancellation or a delay over 4 hours. You can apply for it online directly with Ryanair. Some have also managed to get reroute…but only if it were that simple.
Passengers have reported being compensated for their outward leg only. So if your flight from Stansted to Berlin has been cancelled, they’ll refund it. But the flight back from Berlin tomorrow – well, that hasn’t been cancelled, so hard cheese.
Pilot sympathies in Ryanair strikes
In this latest round of Ryanair cancellation news, most passengers are taking the pilots’ side and many are vowing to steer clear of the Irish LLC from now on. This terrible PR could is yet another straw on their already shaky camel’s back.
Cutting costs and corners by Ryanair was once accepted with a laugh in exchange for low cost flights around Europe. But fifteen years later, after most of its customers have experienced the sharp end of the stick, the joke has worn thin.
There’s also the realisation of the knock-on effect. Pilot strikes and lack of pilot hours have meant the LLC has needed to cancel other flights, strategically. I was booked on one such flight this year and forced to drive five hours to the alternative flight offered me. From my perspective, it’s been a lesson learned. I can’t imagine booking with them again and after this weekend, I’m willing to bet there at 55,000 more people who feel the same way.