By Katrina Hier
Low-cost airline Ryanair will be cancelling 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks because of “messing up” pilot holidays.
“We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that,” said Kenny Jacobs, Marketing Officer of Ryanair. As of October 19, Ryanair finally published a list of cancellations through October 28 after facing pressure from customers to do so. The detailed list is available on the Ryanair website here: https://www.ryanair.com/ie/en/useful-info/help-centre/travel-updates/flight-cancellations . The cancellations are due to many Ryanair staff booking vacations towards the end of the year. The airline is currently changing its holiday year from April through March to January through December; this change meant staff needed to be given their annual leave in September and October. In addition, not enough pilots were available on standby during this busy season. Ryanair is even attempting to buy back vacation leave from pilots to avoid any more cancellations.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary of Ryanair has said that most people whose flights were cancelled will be transferred to another flight that same day or on the following day. An estimated 400,000 travelers, whose flights will be delayed or cancelled, will receive an email notification, according to marketing officer Kenny Jacobs. Airports with the most cancellations include the following: Rome, Barcelona, Milan, Brussels, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, and London Stansted.
Michael O’Leary, and the official Ryanair website itself, emphasizes that only 2% of travelers will be affected by the alterations. However, one should hope that they do not find themselves in a situation such as Gary Cummings; Cummings had hoped to take a weekend trip to Bratislava from Leeds but his outgoing flight had been cancelled. The alternative Ryanair gave was a flight there on Monday – the day Cummings was due to return to Leeds. Though only 2% of passengers are directly affected, the other 98% are left “in limbo,” as said by Cummings.
According to O’Leary, after November 1st, once the lighter winter schedule begins, there will no longer be a need for any cancellations. Ryanair will comply with all EU regulations regarding passenger rights, but refuses to pay for any flights with rival companies. However, only cancelled flights within the next two weeks will be compensated for by Ryanair, because airlines have the right to cancel a flight with 14 days’ notice and then are required to offer a full refund; compensation (if your flight was cancelled within the 14 day period) entails either a full refund or a seat on the “next available flights”. Past the 14 day mark, compensation is straightforward: the airline does not have to offer you a full refund, but rather a choice between an alternative
flight or a refund based on the proximity of the time of the alternative flight versus the original.
Essentially, it is better to be notified within 13 days of the flight than 15.