Ryanair pilots are striking in five European countries, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights during the holiday season peak.
The 24-hour walk-out involves staff in Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The action is the largest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.
About 250 flights have been cancelled as a result. About 50,000 passengers have been told of the inconvenience, forcing passengers who planned on travelling on Friday to rebook or take different routes.
The Irish airline, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history. It said that the strikes were “regrettable and unjustified” and called for unions to come back to the negotiating table.
The carrier said, “Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of refunding or reroute options.”
Emily Dutton, one of an affected passengers, was due to fly to Gothenburg in Sweden for a wedding with her boyfriend Craig. But the “once in a lifetime experience” of being at her best friend Justine’s wedding seems impossible now, after Ryanair cancelled her flight with two days notice. She said, “My only options were to get a refund or to go down the route, which I have done, is to claim compensation.”