Ryanair strikes: What you should do if your holiday is threatened

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Ryanair passengers could face travel disruption from tomorrow because of a number of planned strikes affecting flights across Europe.

Ryanair has launched a court bid to try and halt the proposed strikes set to take place from August 22-23 and September 2-4.

But meanwhile, the company travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk is issuing information about what to do if your holiday is affected.

Spokeswoman Fiona Macrae said: “Ryanair is currently insisting the strike must not be carried out and has not offered pre-emptive refunds. Under the European air regulations Ryanair must find you another flight and the next possible time, however for the moment keep your ears open for updates from Ryanair.”

She said if flights are delayed by five hours or more, passengers can ask for the reimbursement of the full ticket price - provided they do this within seven days - regardless of the flight distance.

She said if people were travelling to a non-EU country “the airline must refund your ticket or try to provide an alternative flight, it does not have to provide refreshments but in this instance travel insurance would step in.”

She said that if Ryanair cancels a flight, it had to offer a choice of either a refund or alternative flight. “They will also have to pay some compensation,” she said.

She said the first thing passengers should do is contact Ryanair “who have promised to refund passengers. However under European Legislation there is also a ‘re-route’ option which means that if your original airline cannot get you to your destination on your booked date, or the day after then you can demand to be booked with a rival airline (subject to seat availability) – your original airline is legally responsible for booking replacement flights and should bear the cost accordingly.

“If the airline advises you to make your own arrangements then provided you can prove that you have taken the only available alternative, you should be able to reclaim the costs from the original airline.”

She said if you have incurred additional costs due to the flight cancellation, travel insurance policies did not cover the cost of a replacement flight.

Similarly, any additional costs to enable you to continue your holiday would not be covered.

She added: “Generally, if there is a strike which results in the cancellation of flights then the airline will offer alternative flights or a refund.

“There are some travel insurance policies that offer cancellation cover for ‘any cause beyond your control’, though this cover isn’t standard across all travel insurance policies. If you have this clause in your policy you may be able to cancel your holiday and claim back any pre-paid expenses, such as excursions, car hire costs or accommodation fees that you cannot get back from anywhere else.

“However, if you buy a policy after a strike has been announced then you may not be covered as it is a ‘known event’.”