Expat flight plans wrecked by Ryanair pilots dispute

Published:  30 Sep at 9 AM
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Tagged: USA, Euro, Travel Abroad
The continuing dispute between Ryanair and its pilots is resulting in chaos for expats’ flight plans within Europe.

Expatriates needing to travel within Europe over the coming weeks are desperately searching for alternatives as Ryanair’s dispute with its pilots drags on. Literally thousands of flights have been cancelled by the airline, which has been accused of and admits its failing to manage pilots’ holiday leave. Even more cancellations are expected as pilots realise they hold all the cards and are now are now demanding new, improved contracts.

The casualties of the row aren’t just Brits attempting to get to their holiday destinations as many thousands of regular expat business travellers are caught up in the mess. Earlier in the week, controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary admitted the company had bungled badly but confirmed pilots had been offered a bonus worth £10,600 in exchange for 2,500 extra days’ work. The pilots, it seems, were not impressed, coming back with a rejection and a demand for new contracts.

In an attempt to avert the growing crisis, 150 extra pilots have been taken on during the past fortnight, with the cost to date of the debacle estimated at £22 million and still growing. Company plans to reclaim one week of pilots’ annual four-week leave are being considered as a way to cool the situation and prevent even more disruption to the lives of paying passengers. Pilots due for the full holiday over the next several months are being told they can only take three weeks but can take another week next January.

As many as 315,000 travellers have been told of changes to their flights by email, with refunds or alternative flights offered. Around half the number have rebooked with Ryanair through an expanded customer service team, many of whom have been taken on to help deal with the crisis. The airline is asking its customers to bear with long waits on chat lines and call centres, and grovelling apologies are the order of the day.

Related Tags: Ryanair, cancelled flights, pilot dispute, regular expat business travellers, holidaymakers, 150 extra pilots, growing crisis, Michael O’Leary, customer service, new contracts,

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