Hundreds of flights grounded as Ryanair faces largest strike in history
- Credit: Archant
Passengers flying to and from Stansted Airport has complained of ruined holiday plans as pilots across five countries strike over pay and working conditions.
Stansted is reportedly one of the worst UK airports affected as Ryanair faces the biggest strike in its 34-year history.
The airline said 396 flights have been cancelled as a result of staff striking in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Holland, forcing passengers who planned to travel today to rebook or take different routes.
Ryanair planes have a capacity of 189, meaning more than 74,000 passengers could be affected.
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One passenger at Stansted, Adam Tait, tweeted: “#stansted #ryanair will never fly into Stansted airport or use Ryanair ever again. Awful experience yet again making us wait over 2 hours for our luggage and telling us we are free to leave and come back tomorrow! No staff around at all to help and nearly resulted in a riot.”
Twitter user MarieIllinois wrote back: “Agree. My sister and daughters had her flight from Berlin to Stansted cancelled with less than 4 hours notice. Told she could not be offered a flight home for 2 days. Had to buy 3 BA tickets costing £1800 to get back home. We will never use Ryanair agsin”.
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Another Ryainair customer, Marie Finn, said passengers were still stuck in an aircraft three hours after it landed its flight from Ireland to Stansted.
She tweeted: “@Ryanair on flight FR108 from Shannon to London Stansted. Plane technically landed 2hrs 57mins late so no compensation for any customers. However we are still on the plane with doors locked 3hrs 19mins after we were due to land. This is an absolute joke.”
The Irish budget airline said the strikes were “regrettable and unjustified” and called for unions to come back to the negotiating table.
Despite the walkouts, 85% of its scheduled flights, more than 2,000, will operate as normal, Ryanair said.
The carrier said: “Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options.
“The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight.
“We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes.”
In June, Ryanair signed an agreement with the Unite union, giving hundreds of cabin crew employees full consultation rights and collective bargaining.
The airline said at the time that it was “a further sign of the progress Ryanair is making with trade unions since our December 2017 decision to recognise them”.
The Unite agreement came six months after the airline signed what was described as an “historic” recognition deal with the trade union representing pilots.
Under the agreement, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) was recognised as the sole trade union representing all of Ryanair’s 600 employed pilots based in the UK.