Frustration after Ryanair cancels around 250 flights amid strikes

Frustration after Ryanair cancels around 250 flights amid strikes

Frustrated passengers were grounded today after striking staff forced Ryanair to cancel around 250 flights, potentially affecting tens of thousands of customers across Europe.

A dispute over pay and conditions between the budget airline and staff in six European countries will see them walk out for 24 hours.

Ryanair had cancelled 150 flights due to an “unnecessary” strike in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy.

On Thursday the airline said pilots in Germany would also be going on strike, with up to 100 flights shelved as a result.

Danielle Breckenridge was hoping to be able to make it to her father’s wedding in eastern Europe with her baby daughter.

The 29-year-old from England said she first learned their flight from Luton had been cancelled at 4.50am – 10 minutes before she was due to leave.

The wedding party of 17 had been due to fly to Lithuania on Friday morning for the wedding across the border in Poland the following day.

She and five others have now been booked on to a flight to Warsaw from Stansted, but there was no guarantee that the remaining guests, including the ring bearer, would be able to travel in time.

imagine missing your dad’s wedding because someone told you 10 minutes before you were supposed to leave to get your transfer that it’s not happening

The bridesmaid said: “The only thing I can say is imagine missing your dad’s wedding because someone told you 10 minutes before you were supposed to leave to get your transfer that it’s not happening.

“There are no words to describe that.”

Ms Breckenridge said the six replacement flights had been booked as a result of her father speaking to Ryanair’s chief executive.

She added: “We’ve been trying to do this ourselves, trying to think how to get there ourselves.

“No representative (from Ryanair) has helped as at all.”

Other people due to fly on Friday expressed their frustration on Twitter.

One user claimed to have been left on the runway with “no explanation or apology”, while another called the company’s response “absolutely disgraceful”.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said strikes by pilots were necessary to keep air fares down (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said strikes by pilots were necessary to keep air fares down (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ryanair’s chief operations officer, Peter Bellew, said the action was “deeply regrettable”.

“It is deeply disappointing that some of our customers and our people in Germany tomorrow will have their flights disrupted by an unnecessary strike called at short notice,” he said.

The strikes are the latest in a series of walkouts by staff at Europe’s largest low-cost airline.

On September 12, dozens of flights were cancelled in Germany after pilots and flight attendants refused to work for 24 hours.

In August, several days of strikes involving staff in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands saw hundreds of flights cancelled.

Earlier this month, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said strikes by pilots were necessary to keep air fares down.

He insisted that industrial disputes with the airline’s staff have caused “minimal disruption” as he pledged not to “roll over”.

- Press Association

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