Airline Strikes and your Consumer Rights
When you think of holidays, you think of a stress-free time to relax. Unfortunately, the Airline strike at Europe’s second-largest carrier Ryanair has made this a Summer of Discontent. Thousands of eager holidaymakers have been left stranded in Airports across Europe. Ryanair Pilots across Unions are meeting in Frankfurt today to discuss their ongoing dispute. Undoubtedly trust in the no-frills airline is at an all-time low. Consumers are now valuing flight security and reliability over low cost. In a recent poll at ‘Hopper HQ, one staff member commented, “I would rather pay more and be sure of travelling than stress about whether my flight will depart or not”. On Friday, Ryanair unions from Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium voted to join their Irish colleagues and go out on strike. 400 flights or 15% of their Daily total were cancelling leaving thousands of unhappy travellers. If Ryanair and their staff do not reach a satisfactory resolution then this Summer of discontent is liable to drag on.
So what happens if your flight is cancelled?
Firstly rest assured that Airport Hopper tickets are valid for 90 days from your purchase date.
In the event of your flight being cancelled due to an Airline strike, Under EU Regulation 261, your airline is obliged to refund your flight or alternatively reroute you:
The airline will refund your flight costs: This is bittersweet as the Airline is only obliged to refund you the original cost of the flight. However typically flights will be a lot more expensive when booked at short notice. This will also only impact your flights and not tickets refunded etc.
Accommodate you on another flight on the same route as soon as possible: Only a limited amount of travellers will be able to avail of this option. In an effort to minimise the impact on their customers and to mitigate against customer dissatisfaction, Ryanair has rebooked using other airlines.
In the event that the Airline strike impacts you on your Return flight, you will be entitled to ‘Care and Assistance’, this means that the airline must provide you with meals and refreshments. If you are obliged to stay overnight, then the Airline will also cover the cost of hotel accommodation and transport between the hotel and the airport. In addition, you are also entitled to offered two free telephone calls and access to email ( sounds like jail doesn’t it!)
We understand that Strikes are completely outside of your control, so the Airport Hopper will allow you to use your ticket for 90 days from the point of purchase. Here’s hoping that the Ryanair Airline Strike will be resolved soon so that we can get back to the business of planning our stress-free holidays!