Ryanair pilots vote for strikes action leaving Holidaymakers with the prospect of mass disruption

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 8th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –

Holidaymakers face the prospect of mass disruption at multiple airports in August after Ryanair pilots voted for strikes that could coincide with walkouts by their counterparts at British Airways and by Heathrow ground staff.

The pilots’ union Balpa said “decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions” had led to members voting for a 48-hour strike beginning on 22 August and a 72-hour strike from 2 September.Quick guide

What are your rights when flights are cancelled or delayed?

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When an airline starts cancelling or delaying flights for more than three hours, passengers are entitled to compensation of €250-€600 under EU rules.

The cause of the problem has to be under the airline’s control and not an “extraordinary circumstance”. Lack of planes/staff, flight overbooking, a strike by the airline’s staff or an IT failure are all considered to be within the airline’s control – so compensation is payable.

Passengers on cancelled short-haul flights – up to 1,500km – are entitled to €250 or £230. For flights of 1,500km-3,500km duration, passengers are entitled to €400 (£370) or €600 (£555) for the longest flights (more than 3,500km).

Compensation is also payable in the event that the plane is delayed. The payments are the same but only kick in when the plane has been delayed three hours for short flights or four hours for the longer trips. The delay is calculated against the time the plane was due to arrive.

Passengers are also entitled to “assistance” under the EU rules. Short-haul passengers should receive food and water after two hours. Mid-distance passengers get help after three hours, while long-haul passengers receive it after they have been held in the terminal for four hours. If the delay is overnight, passengers should be provided with hotel accommodation but this often does not happen. This assistance should be provided irrespective of whether the delay is the airline’s fault.

The airlines have fought these compensation rules since they were introduced and passengers have had to go to court to get their money. The airlines frequently blame delays on events outside their control. Freak weather events, or a last- minute strike by air traffic controllers are deemed to be outside their control. A lack of planes or staff is not.

The rules only apply to EU-based airlines or all flights that start in the EU on non-EU based carriers. What will happen post-Brexit is not yet clear. Miles BrignallWas this helpful?

“We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action,” said Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton.

“No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”

Any disruption caused by walkouts at Ryanair could coincide with parallel action by BA pilots and Heathrow ground staff, who have yet to rule out their own stoppages.

Balpa is still locked in pay negotiations with BA , whose staff can strike at two weeks’ notice if they do not accept the airline’s offer.

A 48-hour strike by more than 4,000 security guards, firefighters, engineers and passenger service workers at Heathrow was called off, after the airport made a new pay offer. But more action is scheduled for the 22 and 23 August, the same day as the Ryanair walkouts, if staff do not accept the proposals.

The Guardian has approached Ryanair for comment.

Reporting by Rob Davies