Secretary of State De Bleeker calls on consumers to claim compensation from Ryanair

State secretary for Consumer Protection Eva De Bleeker calls on travellers who bought an airline ticket with Ryanair, but are affected by the strike this weekend, to claim compensation. These consumers are entitled to an alternative flight or a refund and compensation of 250 to 600 euro, the Open VLD politician claims. People who have bought a package holiday will be helped in another way.

Due to the strike of the Ryanair pilots, about 70 flights from and to Brussels Airport and Charleroi Airport were cancelled this weekend. More than 12,000 passengers are affected by the action. These people have certain rights as consumers. Whoever bought a ticket with Ryanair is entitled to an alternative flight or a refund in case of cancellation. In addition, passengers also have the right to compensation. This compensation amounts to 250, 400 or 600 euro, depending on the distance.

No extraordinary circumstances

In principle, airlines can invoke force majeure to refuse compensation. But in this case that should not happen, according to De Bleeker. She refers to a judgment of the Court of Justice that states that strikes by its own staff due to working conditions are not extraordinary circumstances. In other words: it is part of the normal operations of an airline. ​

"It is crucial that consumers claim the compensation", De Bleeker says. In the future, claiming that compensation must also become easier. "The information and complaint handling by the government is still too fragmented at the moment. In the unique consumer counter that I am building, we will bring all this together", she says.

For travellers who have booked a package holiday, the arrangement is different. Those who have booked a package holiday whereby a flight is cancelled must contact the organiser of the package holiday. In most cases, this is the travel agent. The travel agent will then offer an equivalent alternative or an alternative with a corresponding price reduction.

In principle, people can also cancel their trip free of charge and ask for a full refund if the proposed changes have a significant impact on the booked package holiday.

"So you don't have to worry about the cost of, for example, your hotel. All aspects of your package holiday are included in the solution worked out for you by the tour operator".

The reasons for this weekend’s strike are the same as those that led to the ones carried out in late June. The pilots feel “despised” and want a salary upgrade after agreeing to give up 20% of their wages during the health crisis linked to the coronavirus.

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Belgian pilots strike: Ryanair flights canceled
Low-cost airline Ryanair began cancelling some of its flights on Thursday, a few days before a strike by the company’s Belgian pilots, scheduled for this weekend.



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