Ryanair strike Q&A: What do I do if my flight is cancelled?

Irish-based Ryanair pilots have voted to strike over two days later this month

What is going on at Ryanair?

Its Irish-based pilots have voted to strike over two days later this week on Thursday, August 22nd and Friday, 23rd. The airline is seeking an injunction to prevent this.

What is the strike about?

According to the pilots' union, they're looking for pay levels and structures in line with sector norms. They've also asked for changes to pensions, working conditions and other related matters. Ryanair said the demands included pay rises of about 101 per cent on top of the current annual pay of over €172,000.

What has the airline said about the action?

Ryanair maintains that its pilots are already “among the best paid workers in Ireland” who are now threatening to disrupt the holiday plans of “thousands of customers”. While it called on the union to avoid the disruption “in pursuit of what are clearly unrealistic and un-implementable pay proposals”, the airline said previously it remains willing to engage in mediation with the union.

Are there other industrial relations issues I need to be aware of?

Pilots based in the UK and cabin crew in Portugal are also planning to strike on August 22nd in a move which could bring substantial disruption to Ryanair's services on that day.


So when will I know if I am going to be caught up in the strike?

If a stalemate persists, Ryanair will have to make alternative arrangements and it will likely have to start cancelling flights out of Ireland on the day of the strike.

What do I do if my flight is cancelled due to the strike?

Under EU regulation 261, airlines must offer passengers affected by cancellations a full refund or a rerouting on the next available flight or at a later time that suits the passenger. If you opt for a refund the airline’s responsibility to you ends. If you ask to be put on the next available flight then the airline must provide care and assistance until you can be accommodated on an alternative flight.

What does care and assistance mean?

If you are overseas and trying to get home – or indeed in Ireland and trying to get home – the airline must provide you with meals and refreshments. If necessary it will have to cover the cost of hotel accommodation and transport between the hotel and the airport and you will have to be offered two free telephone calls and access to email.

What happens if my flight is not cancelled but I face a long delay?

If you are facing a delay the airline must also provide you with care and assistance. If you are left hanging around in an airport it must cover reasonable cost of meals and refreshments. If your flight is delayed by more than five hours an airline must offer you the choice of continuing with your journey or a refund of the cost of your ticket.

If I am overseas and can’t get home, what can I do?

If the airline does not provide the care and assistance it is legally obliged to at the moment you need it, you should make your own reasonable arrangements and retain all receipts and use them to claim back the reasonable expenses.

What if I can get a flight with another airline that gets me home sooner?

There has been a change in tone across airlines in recent months and where once they would not allow passengers facing long delays to book with other airlines they tend to do so now but you should always check with Ryanair that it will cover the cost retrospectively and get that in writing.

How do I claim back expenses?

Passengers should send copies (it is very important the original documentation is never sent in case it goes missing) of all receipts to the airlines on which they booked flights. Submissions should also include booking references, passenger names, original and new flight details.

Am I covered by my travel insurance?

It is possible but not likely. Most policies have a get-out clause and don’t cover industrial action.

Am I entitled to compensation outside of reasonable expenses from Ryanair?

That is most unlikely. If you are affected by flight cancellations or long flight delays as a result of this strike action and seek compensation it is only likely to be granted after an investigation.