Chaos struck over 100,000 travellers who planned to take RyanAir flights to Spain last week after the cabin crew went on a mass strike. The walkout led to the cancellations of several flights across the continent, forcing holidaymakers in the UK to reschedule their travel plans.
RyanAir cancelled around 600 flights across Europe, at a time when thousands of people from Britain planned to head outside the country for their summer holidays. Passengers travelling on the affected days had to face mass disruption after cabin crew in Belgium, Spain, and Portugal decided to stage a walkout.
The budget carrier also revealed that 300 of its daily flights were cancelled as a result of the strike. Around 2400 daily flights are operated by RyanAir.
The crew’s decision to go on strike is said to have been related to a dispute over salaries. The crew is believed to have demanded a raise in order to meet the increasing living expenses. However, RyanAir responded by calling the strike “unnecessary.”
Kenny Jacobs, the Chief Marketing Officer for RyanAir, sent out a statement apologizing for the disruption and the inconvenience caused to flyers. He added that the carrier had tried its best to prevent the event.
Jacobs also mentioned that the cabin crew employed by RyanAir earned up to €40,000 ever year with 14 paid leaves every month, which is one of the highest in the industry, followed by sick pay, uniform allowances, and sales commissions.
Citing these benefits, the CMO called the strike “unjustified” and pointless. He referred to the whole event as an attempt that only ended up ruining people’s holiday plans and benefiting competing airlines.
The statement also mentioned that the affected passengers had been reached via text and email. It is believed that the carrier added extra Customer Service Staff to help the customers with re-accommodations over the following week.
Any RyanAir travelling to Portugal, Belgium, or Spain on the days of the strike, who did not receive the email/SMS, were asked to assume that their flight was on schedule. These particular passengers were told to check-in to their departure airport.
The strikes came at a horrible time for British holidaymakers as this is already one of the busiest periods for flying.
The number of strikes is actually expected to grow, with more cabin crew joining in across the continent. In fact, the current strike by RyanAir staff follows the recent pilot strike in Ireland.
The pilots demanded changes in the transference arrangements between North African and European bases, promotion criteria, holiday arrangements, and matters related to tenure. This was the third such strike in the country.
The pilot strike itself followed the strike organized by 60,000 groundworkers in Spain. The workers belonged to multiple airlines and unions, which means that everything from stocking to baggage checks was disrupted.
It is believed that 50,000 of RyanAir’s customers were affected by this strike as well. However, those affected were reportedly compensated and re-accommodated.