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Airlines on strike: What are your rights?



Airlines are facing the prospect of disruptions to and from airports in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Spain in the coming weeks as pilots and cabin crew with Ryanair and potentially British Airways pilots plan to stop work due to various complaints that have to their employers.

Some directly operating Ryanair pilots in Ireland, members of IALPA, a branch of the Fórsa union, last week supported industrial action in a dispute over pay, working conditions and related issues.

When will the strikes take place?

Irish and British pilots Ryanair, who are members of IALPA and BALPA respectively, voted to hold a two-day strike on August 22 and 23.

Ryanair is currently seeking a restraining order preventing IALPA pilots from continuing to strike.

BALPA pilots voted an additional three days in September.

Do we know what flights are affected?

Not yet. Not all Ryanair pilots are members of IALPA or BALPA, so the airline will try to minimize the impact of the impact by designing replacement pilots.

In the case of forward strikes, it is likely that some flights will be canceled and passengers who have booked flights should check with the airline. Typically, Ryanair will notify passengers within two or three days if their flight is canceled.

What are my rights if my flight is canceled?

According to EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, if your flight is canceled, you are entitled to either a full refund of the price of the flight ticket within seven days, a return flight to the first departure point or a replacement flight to your destination from an airport nearby, with the airline covering all additional travel expenses.

Are food and lodging costs included as part of the benefit?

If the delay is longer than two hours, depending on the flight distance, the airline must cover the cost of food and refreshments plus two free phone calls and emails.

If the flight is delayed until the next day, you are entitled to accommodation and transportation to the accommodation. If the delay is five hours or longer, you are entitled to a full refund of the ticket within a week or a return to the original point of departure.

What if I don't get what I believe I'm entitled to?

You need to make your own arrangements – keep your costs “within reason” – and keep all your income.

Upon your return, send copies of your receipts to the airline and include booking reference numbers, all passengers' names, and cancellation and replacement flight information.

If you are not satisfied with the airline's response, you can escalate the complaint by contacting the National Law Enforcement Authority, which is the Aviation Regulatory Commission for Irish Passengers.

Am I entitled to compensation from the airline for inconvenience over eligible costs?

Airlines are required to pay EU compensation between € 250 and € 600 if they cancel your flight without 14 days' notice unless it is due to “extraordinary circumstances”. Airlines are likely to claim that the strike is beyond its control. In fact, you will go to court to try to get your right to compensation.

Does travel insurance cover the cost of canceled flights due to a strike?

Check the terms of your travel policy.

It is unlikely to be covered, as most policies will have a clause explicitly excluding entertaining as a reason for payment.

However, it may cover the cost of certain items if you are left out of pocket as a result of the action, so it is always a good idea to keep your receipts.

And do not be tempted to conclude a policy now if you are concerned, as the insurance company will not pay back if the policy was purchased after the strike.


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