Ryanair has been forced to cancel as many as a sixth of its flights on one of the busiest days of the year.
The low-cost airline has removed some 400 flights from its schedule, affecting the plans of around 50,000 passengers, as its staff in Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands take part in a 24-hour walk-out.
The industrial action is over pay and conditions.
The carrier said in a statement: “We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes.”
German pilots announced a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday. They joined industrial action previously planned by Ryanair pilots in Ireland, Sweden and Belgium. VNV, the Dutch pilot union, is also striking.
Vereinigung Cockpit, the German pilots’ union, said it hoped the strikes would force Ryanair “to compromise with us and enter serious negotiations” over pay and conditions.
What to do if your flight has been cancelled
Am I entitled to a refund if my airline cancels my flight?
Yes. European Union regulations require airlines to offer you either a full refund for the unused parts of your tickets, or to re-route you to your destination as soon as possible. Some airlines may also allow you to rebook your flights for a later date at no extra cost.
Will I get compensation?
Airlines are not liable to pay the additional cash compensation set out by EU regulations because they are not directly responsible for the disruption.
What should I do if I am stranded abroad?
EU regulations make it clear that, when a flight with an EU airline or from an EU airport is cancelled, an airline is liable to pay for the cost of a hotel and subsistence for all those stranded as a result, until a replacement flight is provided. Should your airline advise you to buy your own food and accommodation, keep all receipts, and keep such costs to a reasonable minimum, before making a claim when you get back to Britain.
What about package holidays?
Those passengers on package holidays who are stranded in a destination should be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is legally obliged to get them home. Customers will usually be allowed to stay in their original hotel, or will be moved to one of a similar standard on a half-board or all-inclusive basis. The exact situation will depend on the operator’s booking terms and conditions.
My flight has been cancelled - can I cancel my accommodation?
If you have booked a hotel, a villa or other accommodation independently of your travel arrangements (i.e not as part of a package holiday) your contract is directly with the hotel or villa and you are responsible for any cancellation. If you can’t get there, you will have to do your best to persuade them to give you a refund or rebook for a later date – but they are not obliged to do this and you may lose money.