The USO and Sitcpla unions, representing Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, have called six 24-hour strikes starting next week to try to pressure the company into negotiating a collective agreement over working conditions.
The strikes are due to take place in all ten Spanish airports from which the airline operates, on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June and 1 and 2 July. The FACUA-Consumidores en Acción consumers association is advising passengers whose flights are cancelled as a result of this action that they may be entitled to at least 250 euros in compensation as well as a refund of their fares and any expenses they may incur.
EU regulation 261/2004 stipulates that passengers will receive 250 euros in compensation for flights up to 1,500 kilometres in length; 400 euros for intra-EU flights between 1500 and 3,500 kilometres or 600 euros for the rest.
The consumers association also points out that the EU Court of Justice determined in 2018 that a strike by workers does not come within the category of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and Ryanair cannot therefore refuse to pay the compensation to passengers who are entitled to receive it.
There are some exceptions to this, as Facua points out. The airline will not have to pay the compensation if it informs passengers of the cancellation at least two weeks ahead of the departure date, or between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled departure time if it offers alternative arrangements which enable passengers to leave not more than two hours earlier than their expected flight and they arrive at the final destination less than four hours late.
Ryanair will also not have to pay if it advises passengers less than seven days before their departure date but offers them an alternative that means they can leave no more than one hour earlier than expected and arrive at their destination less than two hours late.
The company can reduce the compensation by 50% if it offers alternative transport which arrives within one, two, three or four hours of the original time, depending on the distance travelled.
In any case, FACUA says people whose flights are cancelled can always opt for a refund of their fare within seven days or alternative transport to their final destination. They can also claim for other expenses which have arisen due to their flight being cancelled.
If the cancellation is announced close to departure time, EU regulations oblige airlines to offer sufficient food and drink, hotel accommodation if necessary and transport to the hotel.