Ryanair’s reliability is in question, to say the least…

Like flower shops ahead of Valentines Day, toy shops ahead of winter holidays and breweries on a warm day, summer is when airlines make their money. Passengers pay 2x, 3x and more for the pleasure of travel during the busiest time of year, and few airlines reap the benefit more than Ryanair. The airline is facing a potentially crippling series of strikes, smack dab in the middle of their busiest season, which has passengers curious about the fate of their summer plans. Here’s everything you need to know about the pending Ryanair strikes, and how it might affect your summer trips…

Multiple Strike Dates

Ryanair faces pilot strikes in Ireland on July 12th, and crew strikes in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal on the 25th and 26th of July. Can you even imagine 48 hours of cancellations in those key markets? It’s important to note that even flights from other markets could be affected, due to resource shortages, as the airline attempts to maintain its most valuable flights. There’s always potential for mediation to resolve any issues before strikes actually occur, but if you’re traveling with the airline on or around these dates, it’s essential to develop smart contingency plans and understand your air passenger rights.

Why Ryanair Staff Are Striking

Well, because for the most part, they’re not actually “Ryanair” staff. Ryanair has dodged many pay issues and labor issues by hiring crew members through third party agencies. Crew members argue that this practice has left them without sufficient workers rights, or even adequate pay. The union representing both pilots and crew has delivered a list of 34 demands to Ryanair bosses, and insist Ryanair must come to the negotiating table to achieve meaningful, long term resolution.

What You Can Do

From a passengers standpoint, dealing with looming strikes is a delicate dance. Ryanair won’t likely let you off the hook for any tickets until they’re absolutely sure that a strike is unavoidable. If you have travel with Ryanair around these dates, even potentially in other cities, your flights could be affected as the airline shuffles resources to protect their most profitable (or full) flights. If your flight is cancelled due to strike, recent EU legislation enforces your right to compensation, despite what the airline *may* say. It’s absolutely worth calling in the day/days before your trip to look into proactively changing flights or moving to something that will go ahead. Make sure you understand all of your rights under EC261, if your flights are impacted, including being booked onto alternative airlines. Knowledge is power in these situations.

Ryanair’s Unique Position

We love Β£5 tickets as much as the next person, but the airline is now in an extremely unique position, after it was forced to cancel thousands of flights in the last year due to pilot shortages and other labor grievances. The airline trades on the notion of effective, no frills flights, which are commendably reliable. They’re Europe’s largest airline and perhaps surprisingly to many, offer one of the best on time records. If these strike issues linger, and important dates, meetings, holidays are missed, travelers may no longer feel the savings are worth the inherent risk of booking an airline plagued with cancellations. This one will be very interesting to follow.

Will Ryanair avoid these potential strikes?