What To Do During Ryanair Strikes

Why Ryanair Strikes Are Happening and What You Should Do

Is there ever a newsweek without a headline saying “Ryanair strike, X number of flights have been delayed”? Industrial action seems to be just part of their employee structure. Why does this keep happening?


Why are Ryanair employees striking?

Ryanair has a tumultuous relationship with unions to say the least. Michael O’Leary, CEO, infamously said that he’d rather cut off his own hands than recognise unions. In December 2017, he came to a deal with them to say he’ll recognise the pilots’ union in the UK, Bulpa, which represents 600 of Ryanair’s employees. This meant that they could negotiate pay, hours and other important factors on behalf of the pilots, and there were recognition proposals sent out to other European bases.

So why was 2018 filled with strike action?

Despite the acceptance of the unions for pilots and crew, pay and conditions are still points of serious contention between employee and employer. For instance, the September 2018 strikes took place because employees from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium were hired under Irish labour laws rather than those of their own country.

Working conditions have also come under fire as in July 2018, Irish cabin crew protested about having to pay for their own uniforms, unpredictable work hours and unattainable sales targets, amongst other issues. The main complaint was that they wanted “a fair living wage that reflects the work they do”, which seems to be a running theme across many of the year’s strikes. Ryanair, of course, have fought back, saying that they are paid well, receive allowances and get a 3-day weekend for every five days they work. Yet there must be a reason that their staff strike more than any other airline, although it’s unlikely we’ll ever know.


How do Ryanair’s strikes affect me?

If the last twelve months are anything to go by, then the way that Ryanair deals with strike action is somewhat dismissive.

First, they will announce that the strikes are “unnecessary” and that everything will continue as usual. Then, they’ll say they’ve texted passengers whose flights have been cancelled, whilst also reporting how many flights took off that day. People will complain on social media, the news will cover it for a day or two and then it will fizzle out, regardless of whether they come to a solution or not.

They don’t give customers refunds or money back for flights delayed by strikes as their policy refers to it as an ‘extenuating circumstance’ exempt from payouts. This is also means that if you have a hotel room, car hire or any other travel plans which are impacted by the delays, they won’t offer you any compensation.

Ryanair’s name might get dragged through the mud but it will always sell tickets and it will continue to make more money than any other European budget airline. Ultimately, you are worse off.

In April, Portuguese crews went on strike for three days, affecting 20+ flights.

In July, Irish, Spanish, Belgian and Italian crews went on strike, causing over 600 flights to be cancelled.

In August, Irish, German, Swedish, Belgian and Dutch crews went on strike, grounding nearly 400 flights.

In September, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Belgian crews went on strike, resulting in 250 flights being cancelled.

In 2018, over 150,000 passengers were left stranded in airports, not knowing if their flight was going to take or if they’d get home. Customers get caught up in the middle of disputes which should take place in meeting rooms, not on the runway.


What to do if there’s a Ryanair strike

When you book a flight with Ryanair, keep an eye on the news in case there is an upcoming strike. Often, these things are only announced closer to the date when it becomes more newsworthy.

If a strike is going to take place when your flight is supposed to be, then you might be concerned about turning up at the airport and waiting in long queues only to be turned away. You can either:

Abandon your Ryanair flight and sell your onward travel plans online to make sure that all of your money is not lost. This could be your hotel room, train tickets, festival tickets or cruise booking which you spent the majority of your holiday costs on. 80% of travel plans are transferable so you can easily sell them to someone else who is looking for good deals on last-minute travel.


Find a second-hand ticket last minute on TransferTravel.com with a different airline or on a day when there are no strikes. You can still keep your original holiday plans whilst also paying less for a last minute flight than you would through a travel agent or website. This is because many of the sellers on our site list flights they booked months in advance but can no longer use at a discount on the early bird price.

Either way, you don’t find yourself stuck at the airport with a hotel room or train ticket going to waste as you wait for Ryanair’s strikes to be resolved.


How do I sell my travel plans if there’s an airline strike?

Even if you can’t use your reservations, someone else can. As soon as you find out about strike action, decide whether or not you want to sell them so there is plenty of time to list and transfer your booking. You can’t sell hotel rooms on TransferTravel.com less than 72 hours before check-in due to the transfer time frame so don’t wait until you’re at the airport to decide.

Before you list in the travel marketplace, confirm with your accommodation provider that you can change the name on your reservation and find out if there is a fee to do so. This is very important as if you can’t do this, you can’t transfer the documents to someone else.

The selling process is easy and only takes four steps to complete:

  1. Create an account with TransferTravel.com. This is free to do and you can use your Google, Facebook or Twitter accounts if you wish, or just an email address and password.

  2. Create a listing. Make sure to fill in all the important details about your booking such as dates, location and any extras which might be included, such as meals or access to VIP areas. You will also need your original booking confirmation before it can be posted in the marketplace.

  3. When someone wants to buy your travel plans, you will be put in touch with them through our secure messenger so you can exchange the details needed to make a name change.

  4. Make the change and upload the documents within 72 hours so the buyer can download and use them. We hold onto their money to make sure both sides of the transfer are genuine, ensuring that the seller gets their money and the buyer gets the tickets they paid for. We do take a 15% admin fee but this is only once the whole transfer process is complete.


More Ryanair articles:



  • Ryanair
  • Ryanair cancelled flights
Posted 1 January 2019

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