Ryanair strike update: What dates are pilots striking in September 2019? What can you do if your flight is affected?

Tahar Rajab, Georgia Chambers, Tom Herbert
Ryanair pilots are striking in a dispute over pay: Getty

Ryanair pilots are to stage a 48-hour walkout from today as they strike over pay and working conditions.

UK-based pilots belonging to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) will stage industrial action from September 18-19, with the move followed by several individual 24-hour walkouts towards the end of the month.

The latest round of strike action comes after walkouts on September 3 and 4 caused little disruption to passengers after Ryanair managed to operate a full flight schedule.

Ryanair has called this round of strikes "pointless" after previous industrial action in August and earlier this month did not lead to any flight cancellations.

While the airline said it expects all of its flights will operate on Wednesday and Thursday, the walkouts towards the end of the month coincide with industrial action planned by the firm's Spanish staff.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Ryanair strikes happening this September.

Why are Ryanair pilots striking?

Ryanair pilots are planning to stage a 48-hour walkout on 3 September. (Getty)

Balpa said the strike is down to a row over pay and working conditions. Union members are calling for the same kind of agreements that exist in other airlines on pensions, maternity benefits, loss of licence insurance, allowances and pay.

“While the action has considerably disrupted Ryanair, forcing them to engage in contractors and bring in foreign crews to run its operation, it has had limited impact on the public’s travel plans,” said Balpa’s general secretary Brian Strutton.

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"Ryanair should stop dragging its feet and get back to the negotiating table.”

The airline then hit back at the union, saying that most of its pilots had flown during the last rounds of industrial action in August and early September.

“These latest Balpa strikes are pointless given that during five days of Balpa strikes [on] 22, 23 August and 2, 3, 4 September all Ryanair flights to and from UK airports operated as scheduled – with zero cancellations – thanks to the efforts of over 95% of our UK pilots who flew as rostered and did not support these failed Balpa strikes.

“We again call on Balpa to return to talks s these failed strikes have not achieved anything.”

A statement on the company's website read: "Ryanair expects all its flights to/from UK airports on Weds 18th & Thurs 19th to operate as scheduled thanks to the efforts of over 95% of our UK pilots who have confirmed that they will work their rosters, and will not support these failed BALPA strikes. On behalf of our customers and their families we wish to sincerely thank all our UK pilots who do not support these BALPA strikes.

We have repeatedly invited BALPA to return to negotiations with Ryanair, and to call off these unsupported and failed pilot strikes, but BALPA have yet to offer any reason for their continuing refusal to take up these invitations."

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When are the strikes planned?

Pilots will walk out from 18-19 September for 48 hours.

More strike action is planned on 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 September.

Which flights will be affected?

It’s not yet clear which flights will be affected, but judging from the fallout over previous strikes, any travel disruption passengers may face is likely to be minimal.

The airline said recently that it did not expect any strike-related disruptions during the day.

If there are any changes to your flight, Ryanair should inform you over text or email.

Am I entitled to compensation for cancelled flights?

You may be able to claim back costs caused as a result of a delayed or cancelled flight – for example, accommodation costs or food and drink while waiting at an airport.

However, unlike delays for other reasons, airlines are not obligated to offer compensation following industrial action because strikes are usually considered to be ‘extraordinary circumstances.’

Following strike action last year, Ryanair were ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority to pay compensation of €250 to €400 per passenger, so if the strikes go ahead, it’s possible that travellers affected could be entitled to a similar figure.

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