How the Ryanair and EasyJet strikes could affect your next holiday

It’s been a miserable summer for airline passengers. Strikes by several airlines have led to numerous delays and cancellations, while some carriers unceremoniously canceled dozens of flights, unable to cope with surging passenger demand. A cap on flight departures at Heathrow and Gatwick has compounded the problem.

For the remainder of the summer holidays, the strike in Spain (the UK’s favorite destination) is expected to cause the biggest headache. Spain’s Ryanair cabin crew union is on strike four days a week until January, while easyJet pilots in the country are on strike for nine days this month. Meanwhile, Portuguese baggage handlers plan to strike over the bank holiday weekend.

Below we reveal all the details you need to know about the strikes and we also go over the airport’s flight caps which could also impact your holiday in the months to come.

When do Ryanair Spain strikes take place?

The strike is to take place Monday through Thursday each week until January 7. Among the workers’ demands are higher wages and more public holidays.

Will my Ryanair flight to Spain be cancelled?

Although the action appears to be dramatic, the relatively limited impact of the Ryanair strikes in Spain in July suggests there will not be a catastrophic number of cancellations. While other European destinations have been hit hard by recent walkouts, Spanish law requires airlines and staff to maintain minimum service.

Still, the USO union, which is behind the strikes, said the July walkouts caused 310 cancellations and 3,455 delays at Spanish airports. Barcelona were the most affected, followed by Madrid and Malaga.

For its part, Ryanair played down the potential impact of the ongoing strike. In a statement, the low-cost airline said: “Ryanair has recently reached an agreement with Spain’s main union CCOO on wages, rosters and allowances for its Spanish cabin crew.

“Recent USO/SITCPLA strikes were poorly supported with minimal effect. Ryanair has operated over 45,000 flights to/from Spain in the last three months, with less than one per cent affected by crew and Ryanair expects minimal (if any) disruption this winter .

If your flight is canceled due to strikes, it is important to know your rights. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said a strike by airline staff is its responsibility and could mean a right to a refund, or at least an option to rebook. Read our guide on how to claim compensation for a delayed or canceled flight, here.

When do EasyJet strikes take place?

EasyJet pilots based in Spain plan to strike for nine days in August over a dispute over working conditions. The walkouts are scheduled for August 27-29 and are expected to impact EasyJet bases in Malaga, Palma and Barcelona. As with the Ryanair strikes, travelers’ hope is that Spanish law will limit the impact of the action.

Are there any other airport strikes planned this summer?

Airport workers in Portugal are threatening to walk out over the bank holiday weekend (August 26-28), with Lisbon, Faro and Porto set to be affected, as well as Funchal in Madeira. The action involves baggage handlers who complain, among other things, of a “climate of psychological terror”.

In encouraging news for passengers, another Portuguese airport strike, scheduled for August 21-22, has been called off.

Which airports have flight caps this summer?

It’s not just the strike that could have an impact on your August holidays. A number of airports have imposed limits on daily flight levels as they continue to struggle to cope with summer passenger numbers.

Gatwick Airport capped the number of flight departures at 850 in August, with Easyjet the airline most affected. As this action was ordered weeks ago, it is hoped that most of the resulting flight cancellations have already been announced.

At Heathrow, the number of departing passengers has been reduced to 100,000 (from 104,000 previously). The move prompted a backlash from airlines, including Emirates, but Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the cap would remain in place until at least mid-September.

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