‘This could ruin our Christmas’: Readers on the Ryanair strike

Irish Times readers have shared their dismay and anxiety over the planned strike on December 20th

Sonja Heppner: ‘Any cancellations or major delays would take away from much anticipated time to catch up with family and friends in Germany.’

They may not be flying home for Christmas after all. Passengers booked to travel on Ryanair services on December 20th are still waiting to hear whether their flights will be cancelled due to strike action by pilots at the airline next week.

Irish readers living abroad, and foreign nationals living in Ireland, have been sharing their dismay and anxiety over the planned strike, which could affect their travel plans in the run up to Christmas. Below is a selection of responses received by Irish Times Abroad.

In a statement, a Ryanair spokesman said contingency plans “to minimise disruption” for customers would be published on its website on Monday.

“We apologise sincerely to our customers for any worry or concern that this threatened action, during Christmas week by a small number of very well paid pilots, may cause them. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to minimise disruption for our customers,” he said.


Steve Foley, Singapore: ‘After travelling 19 hours I could land in London with no flight to Dublin’

I’m a PhD student who has been living in Singapore for the past two years. I live on a month-to-month basis, and I don’t have a lot of spare money, so I opted for the cheapest route home this Christmas. This led to me booking two separate flights. Flight one is operated by Norwegian airlines, from Singapore to London. The second is Ryanair, leaving London for Dublin on December 20th, just a few hours after my flight from Singapore lands.

I’m now concerned that after travelling for 19 hours, I will land in London with my flight to Dublin cancelled. Even if they promise to reimburse me, I won’t be able to afford another flight up-front, and no doubt the “next available” flights will be backlogged with other people in this situation. It could be a very long trip home.

Marian Davis, London: ‘My son is extremely anxious’

I am booked on Ryanair on Wednesday to travel with my two sons to see family at home for Christmas. One of my sons, who is on the autism spectrum, is extremely anxious. This could ruin our Christmas, as chopping and changing flights and chaotic busy airports really stress him out. Not knowing is very stressful for us all.

Niamh Walsh, London: ‘We are looking at rail and sail as a backup’

I am booked to fly London to Dublin with my friend. We chose to fly home earlier than usual, on the 20th, in case of any weather delays but now I wish we’d booked any other day. We are looking at rail and sail as a backup option as other airlines want £200 one way and we can’t justify that. I agree that employees should have their representation recognized, but the pilots have lost the moral high ground doing this to people so close to Christmas.

Gillian Kotowicz, Meath: ‘Santa had already arranged for the presents to be delivered to Poland’

I am due to fly with my husband and two sons aged six and two to Berlin on Wednesday, and from there drive to Poland to be with my husband's family for Christmas. We booked these flights months ago to ensure we had the day we wanted. Now, because of the potential strike, we had to scrape together money to book Aer Lingus flights out on the 21st instead.

We cannot afford this, but the alternative was missing his family Christmas, disappointed kids, and missing presents as Santa had already arranged for them to be delivered to Poland instead of Ireland. Imagine the kids’ faces if we were in Ireland on Christmas morning with no Santa presents? We alternate every year between Ireland and Poland so that we get to spend Christmas with both our families; it is looked forward to very much as it only happens every second year. We have had no contact whatsoever from Ryanair to at least let us know our options.

Alberto Román Corrochano, Cork: ‘Passengers are not responsible’

I have been living in Ireland for three years, doing a Doctorate in Science. I have a flight scheduled next Wednesday to go home to Spain for Christmas. I have also a hotel booked in Portugal two days later to spend part of the holidays there with my family. A strike would affect all my Christmas holiday plans, made a long time ago. I agree with people who demand improvements in labour conditions, but passengers are not responsible. I would like to know what the pilots would think if they needed surgery and the doctor decided to go on strike. Professionals in all sectors should be responsible within their job, and focus properly the target of their “anger”.

Fran Garofano, Dublin: ‘I can visit my parents in Naples just once a year’

I have been living in Ireland since 2012, and can visit my parents in Naples just once a year, at Christmas. I bought Ryanair tickets months ago for the 20th. I understand the reasons behind the strike but this is a major issue for me. I have lost completely my trust in Ryanair. This is not the first time Ryanair changed my holiday plans. I will avoid flying with this company from now on.

Anna Burdzanowska, Dublin: ‘I haven’t seen my family in six months’

Four months ago I bought a ticket to go to Warsaw in Poland on the 20th for Christmas. I have not seen my family for six months. Now I am worried and stressed this flight will be cancelled. I have decided to take two days additional annual leave and fly to Warsaw on Monday 18th instead. If the flight on Wednesday is cancelled I will be reimbursed; if not, I will lose that money but seeing my family has no price. I am very unhappy with this situation and would gladly stop using and supporting Ryanair but, unfortunately, there are no other cheap airlines I can use from Dublin. I already have three other flights booked with them for next year.

Sonja Heppner, Dublin: ‘I only have a week in Germany and time is precious’

I am due to fly from Dublin to Memmingen with Ryanair on the 20th. I only have a week to spend with my family in Germany; time is precious. Any cancellations or major delays would take away from much anticipated time to catch up with family and friends. I haven’t made any alternative arrangements yet but I am considering it. Lucky, I am returning to Dublin with Aer Lingus. If I make it to Germany for Christmas, at least I know my return is safe.

Jilly Foster, Norfolk, UK: ‘This action is causing me stress’

I am flying with Ryanair from Stanstead to Nice on December 15th, returning on the 22nd. I am disabled and confined to a wheelchair. This action is causing me stress. I do not know whether to go or not, at the risk of losing my hotel booking which, as a pensioner at Christmas, is not welcome.

Amy Fitzsimons, Dublin: ‘My children have been counting down the days’

I am due to fly to Lanzarote with my two children for our first Christmas abroad on the 20th. They have been counting down the days since we booked in June. If I have to tell them we can’t go, they will be devastated.

Catherine Cunningham: 'I don’t want to travel at all if I can’t be guaranteed to get back to my children'

Catherine Cunningham, Dublin: ‘I don’t want to travel if I can’t be guaranteed to get back’

I am due to fly to Valencia on Sunday 17th for work, returning to Dublin on Wednesday 20th. Now I am very anxious because I don’t want to travel at all if I can’t be guaranteed to get back to my children on Wednesday.

James Cunningham: ‘I will fully support Ryanair’

I am a regular Ryanair user and have always found them very competitive and reliable, not subject to the irresponsible behaviour of other unionised airlines. I will fully support Ryanair and Michael O’Leary regardless of what action is necessary to prevent it from becoming another scruffpot union-controlled airline.

Anna O’Connell, Dublin: ‘I am considering purchasing an alternative flight with Lufthansa’

I am flying home for Christmas from Dublin to Krakow on the 20th. I have spoken with three Ryanair customer representatives, and they all told me I should check their website for updates. They haven't confirmed or deny anything. I hope for the best that my flight won't be cancelled and if it is, that they will arrange a different flight the next day. I am considering purchasing an alternative flight with Lufthansa, but if my flight will not be cancelled I will lose €300. Ryanair should let us know asap what is the status of our flights.

Caoimhe Campbell, Waterford: ‘We haven’t had a family holiday in years’

I am booked to travel to Poland with my family on the 20th for seven days. My brother’s partner is from there and we are meeting her family for Christmas. We haven’t had a family holiday with all of us together in years, and now the strike has us all seriously worried.