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Ryanair strike hits 55,000 customers across Europe (cnbc.com)
48 points by craigferg501 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments

It's depressing that someone can write 650 words about an strike and its effects and fail to describe the actual grievances of the employees striking.

I agree with your sentiment but I think we should cut CNBC some slack here since the demands were only vaguely communicated by the syndicate ("improved wages and fairer working"), most likely because the negotiation is still ongoing.

What they could have mentioned is that the pilots strongly back the the strike with 96% of them voting for it.

One could look in to the circumstances that led the workers to feel the need to strike.

That would require proper journalism though.

IIRC one of the biggest complaints was that their workers in other countries still have to work under Irish labor laws which includes less holidays and PTO than they would deserve under laws of countries they actually live in.

You beat me to it.

Well, they at least note that the pilots want to be paid when they're on standby, which is not an unreasonable demand.

What is the norm in the industry? Is it different in Europe and the US? And between pilots and flight attendants? I hear in the US flight attendants are only paid when they're in the air (edit: or when the door is closed? or something along these lines), which seems unreasonable on its own, but given that it's the norm in the industry it would also seem extreme to go on a strike for that.

> ... but given that it's the norm in the industry it would also seem extreme to go on a strike for that.

I'm not sure I understand this sentence - changing the norms of industries is what mass strikes are good for. Strikes are most effective when bad practices are so widespread that job market itself can't fix them anymore.

I've had neighbors who are pilots (and 1 was a backup pilot who was always on call when someone couldn't show up).

They've explained that your hours count ONLY when the plane has closed the door and backed away from the gate. Then you are officially being paid for your time.

This explains the horror stories of "stuck on the runway". It's usually issues with weather/equipment/airport, etc. and it's not in the crew's best interest to just stay at the gate until the issue is resolved. If you're at the gate, the crew is not being paid.

I don't work in the industry, so I can't say for certain, but I at least know that SAS flight attendants in Norway get an on-call rate for being on standby. I'd be rather surprised if pilots didn't get the same.

I believe Ryanair technically employees people out of countries with very low wages and worker protection laws (Ireland, for example), which allows them to skirt some laws that would otherwise apply to them.

Agree. Now I have to do research to see who is being unreasonable. The employees or the employer. Be much easier if the article gave a summary of the issues.

There are a few things mentioned in [0] and [1], unfortunately in german:

- The contracts are based on Irish law and contain rules that violate German employment laws.

- They have to pay for water on the flight, in addition to lots of other things (e.g. health checks, mandatory simulator hours). These costs can sometimes be deducted, but they argue the airline should pay for it in the first place.

- When they are sick, they have to come to the office/airport and state their symptoms in writing.

- Lots of Pilots are hired as contractors, not as full time employees. That would also violate German employment laws.

[0] https://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2018-07/streik-flugbegleiter-...

[1] https://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2018-01/pilotenstreik-ryanair...

I think the issues are a bit different in the various countries, but I think the main issue is that Ryanair is barely becoming aware that its employees can make their own collective demands, it seems that after signing deals with the unions they haven't actually listened to the unions in the most basic sense.

For 19 days after the first strike one day by Irish pilots Ryanair management agreed to a mere two hours of meetings, and has since stated it plans to re-base a 100 pilots out of Poland: essentially threatening employees that they would have to change country to keep their jobs.

As for actual demands, I've found mentioned that Irish pilots aren't happy about the rules for how they are rebased, apparently the process isn't very transparent for the employees.

I would be surprised if Ryanair could keep going. Anecdotally, I know a number of people that will never use them again - either because they themselves have had problems or they know people that have. There's some real animosity growing towards them.

All things being equal, people would usually pick the cheapest flight. But Ryanair are now making it abundantly clear that their flights are not equal to others. When you pick a flight you need confidence that your flight will take off, and that you can get home. It amazes me that Ryanair are willing to lose people's confidence like this, it will take a long time to get it back, if at all.

But they are overall still the cheapest(for europe). And I had only pleasant experience so far. (I can ignore advertisement very good) Can book easily(even with PayPal), I know their procedures, ... so they did build up some trust for me (and others). Thats why I book usually with them. The strike is a new situation, but I also have no scheduled flights, so I see how it goes. But I also never flew EasyJet, so it is possible that I might switch once ... and then stay with them.

> so they did build up some trust for me (and others)

let's not pretend they don't try to rip customers off with hidden or gotcha fees, because they do. Their whole business model is based on bait+switch. You said they did "build trust" but at the same time you are saying " I know their procedures", of course, because if you are not careful you'll pay some bullshit fees. It's just one of the worst plane company in western Europe.

And they are not that cheap since their planes often only land not in main airports but ones in the middle of nowhere so you often have to add the cost of transport to your actual destination which is often not that cheap.

I've never encountered the "hidden or gotcha fees" with Ryanair, but perhaps that's just luck of the draw? I've never opted for car hire, travel insurance etc with them - just the flight and maybe a bag. Never been surprised by any charges. Anecdotes, obviously, are not data.

The airport thing might be changing a little bit - they've got no choice with Dublin in Ireland, and they're now operating out of Frankfurt Am Main (as well as or instead of Frankfurt Hahn). Frankfurt AM absolutely isn't middle of nowhere.

They're also one of two options if you want to get to Leeds Bradford airport from Ireland; the other being Aer Lingus Regional, which costs more and has worse baggage allowances, and uses turboprop planes which are noisier. I can tune out the Ryanair "lottery" tickets (which are more a scam than a lottery I think) easily enough.

Oh yeah, one other thing - Ryanair will give you approval to carry a CPAP for a year at a time, in addition to regular hand luggage. Painless process via a CS agent online. Aer Lingus? Every flight requires an email to SpecialAssistance who might deign to get back to you within a week.

>>> just the flight and maybe a bag.

You don't need to pay for the bag. The bag is included in the ticket. However, they write the opposite on the ticket and they push very hard to get you to pay an extra charge for the bag.

€30 for printing boarding pass is a rip off (and more than a flight)

Paid cabin luggage, non reclining seats, fucking lottery ticket sales... it’s silly. Yet I still do somewhat like em.

Can just download the ticket on your phone or print it. You save time anyways not having to check in. It's just the idiot tax for people for not reading.

Free check in of extra luggage at the gate. If you end up paying for the "luxury" of in-cabin, then your flight becomes the same price if you flew with some other airline that offers cabin luggage.

For short flights you don't need reclining seats. I don't like reclining seats anyway because you are stealing space from the person behind (and also getting stolen from the person in front).

Wear headphones or sleep to ignore ads.

Can't expect half as cheap flights without something to cover for it.

Point of check in is to check in when you can’t or won’t want to check in online for tons of reasons. For people who use it first time - it’s absolute rip off as no other airline charges you that much(apart of Wizz and EasyJet). I really think EU should regulate the shit out of this.

No recline is horrible especially when you are taller. I can’t sit normally, even when I get front or emergency seats.

> Their whole business model is based on bait+switch

That's the business model of most of EU's cheap air companies. E.g. EasyJet "allows" you one piece of luggage on board, but unless you're EasyJet Plus (i.e. pay extra), good luck actually taking it with you on board with any sort of predictability or regularity.

> That's the business model of most of EU's cheap air companies. E.g. EasyJet "allows" you one piece of luggage on board, but unless you're EasyJet Plus (i.e. pay extra), good luck actually taking it with you on board with any sort of predictability or regularity.

And Ryan Air takes it to a whole new level. At least easy jet planes don't feel like they are going to break in the middle of the flight.

EasyJet tells you that you can bring one bag, hence why EasyJet is better.

RyanAir doesn't say that you can bring a bag, they actually write the opposite on the ticket, even if you can bring a bag for free.

If you read the little text in the conditions, it doesn't say that you can bring a bag either, instead it adds further confusion to push you to pay an extra bag charge. IMO, the level of deception involved is abusive to the point where it could be brought to the EU court and justify a fine.

"And Ryan Air takes it to a whole new level. At least easy jet planes don't feel like they are going to break in the middle of the flight."

That would be my main issue. I don't mind little space and other inconviniences that much ... but I do not accept a higher risk for flying budget. I assumed, that RyanAir budget everything they can, but not savety. And as far as I can tell, the maintaineance etc. looked professional.

Budget airlines fly with a fleet of modern airplanes, maybe even more modern than larger airlines. Is there any evidence of increased risk of safety?

Well, I guess with knowing their procedures, I also meant, that I know the points, where they try to rip me off. But since I know, and also exactly where I will land and start, it works for me very cheap.

it saddens me a lot to see this race to lower prices, it made me realize that older companies weren't not that expensive; most of the cost is the cost of providing regular options-included (comfort, food, toilets, magazines etc) flights.

uber feels like this partially, it's often juvenile hubris seducing markets and then dropping down when reality kicks in.

quite a loss

If their whole business model is built around breaking EU labour laws and underpaying staff then good riddance.

This is like the premise for almost every massive corporation. At some point and time they bend and twisted the laws far enough, but not too far to get shut down to gain a competitive advantage. Banks are the best example -- always a game of cat and mouse with regulators. Every corporation tries to figure out how to pay the least amount of taxes possible, and pay their workers the least amount possible to get the job done.

There is a lot of squeezing that can be done without getting into illegal territory. That would be for the regulator to decide and force them to pay the arrears, if any.

That touches the only thing that America has and that Europe really lacks: class action lawsuit. I suppose it's good when all employees of a company can go together against the company.

Have their business is in picking the customer's picket on the way from booking to landing, with myriad trick fees.

Well yeah, they have competition from EasyJet and some others. EasyJet is like Ryanair but not crap. Planes look nicer inside, baggage fees feel less like a ripoff, and they don't try to sell you lottery tickets(!!) on every flight.

Added to this you don't have to pay to get your tickets in seats next to each other. Ryan Air clealy makes an active effort so your seats are far away from each other. I was on a flight where my partner was next to an empty seat (one among many) but for some reason I was placed on the other side of the plane. Oh, and they make sure to mention you can't move seats before taking off. Don't listen to that dross

A couple of days ago, EasyJet cancelled a flight from Spain to France at last minute, told the passengers there would be another flight available... 7 (seven) days later, did not offer or propose to cover the expense of the stay (supposing anyone would even agree to such a proposition) and did not offer or propose to cover the expense of other means of transportation.

(Link in French : https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/occitanie/haute-garo... )

> EasyJet is like Ryanair but not crap

Exactly - I've only been on two Ryanair flights and they were dreadful. It's like they were going out of their way to make it feel shit.

Not saying you’re wrong, but as a counterpoint: I’ve been on many many EasyJet flights, and I think about ten or so Ryanair flights.

I’ve actually never had a problem with Ryanair at all – you don’t get as nice a service as easyJet, but fares usually are considerably lower. Essentially you get what you pay for – if you want rock bottom priced air-fares, you have to expect poorer service.

(Admittedly, I’ve not got caught up in any of the recent problems)

Exactly, what can you expect when in many cases, the flight costs less than the ride to the airport.

I've worked for a company where the CEO's previous gig was introducing Ryanair in my country.

This man was exceptionally talented in cost-cutting, and raked in many awards for "company of the year" etc. because of this.

I had flown Ryanair for the first time only after I left that company and I could recognise his, um, touch in the way everything was organised.

I agree that EasyJet is overall better. However, they're very strict with the hand luggage rules and they have the possibility of overbooking.

They've got to the point where everyone loves to hate them, but not enough to stop using them.

If I compare with the bus I take to the airport: RYR have a higher chance of showing up on time. A higher chance of a functional toilet, and I'm guaranteed a seat.

The bus is give-or-take 30 minutes, frequently stuck in rush hour traffic, and booking a seat doesn't guarantee I'll get on the bus, it just guarantees I'll have priority over anyone at the same busstop who didn't book.

The kicker? My last three flights (each) cost me less than that bus.

This is RYR in a nutshell. They'll lower their price if you'll lower your expectations. And in doing so, they've essentially brought air travel to the working class. Comparing them to a 'real' airline is like asking why hostels still exist when proper hotels offer a much better experience.

A lot of people say they don't like Ryanair, but a lot of those people will use it again when the price is less than a quarter of that of other airlines.

It's actually a really interesting piece of psychology. Ryanair's service is so much worse in so many ways that I'm sure it's not better value for money. But even if you have to wake up at 4am to make it to an airport in the middle of nowhere to take a Ryanair flight to an airport 50 miles away from where you are actually going, it's still really tempting to pick the cheapest flight.

You need to be extremely lucky to be in a position where you can just "not use" a carrier - for myself and a lot of people I know Ryanair is the only available connection between places where we need to be. It's not a even a matter of paying more - there simply isn't a connection available otherwise.

The 4 planes I took with Ryanair this summer were all late. The last one had air conditioning broken, we were roasting like chickens for almost 2 hours, from after we boarded the plane to before we could depart.

I've been telling my girlfriend to never buy Ryanair again for as long as she bought Ryanair. There aren't really alternatives in the nearby airports or on the right day/time, so there's that.

I guess they can keep doing whatever they want as long as there is no competition.

Point being, there is little competition between airlines. There is also no reason for ryanair to be this cheap, they should be able to raise price without issues.

> The last one had air conditioning broken

Wow. I'm surprised that a plane that has any part of the ventilation system broken is even allowed to take off!

The ventilation started once we were in flight. It's not clear to me if it needs the plane to move, or if it was fixed during the 2 hours we were stuck on the ground.

By the way, the flight itself is less than 2 hours. The wait in the plane, grounded, was more than the flight time.

> The ventilation started once we were in flight

I think how the A/C on an airliner is driven depends the location. There are the engines while in flight, the APU (Auxillary Power Unit, a small jet engine that starts the main engines, tops the batteries, and other tasks) while idling on the ground, off the batteries, or off a service cart on the ground. Running the engines burns fuel, the APU burns fuel, and having the service cart incurs ground fees. So it's likely that RyanAir didn't want to spend to keep the A/C going.

>>> So it's likely that RyanAir didn't want to spend to keep the A/C going.

No, it's not that they are cheap. The pilot warned on the speakers that the air conditioning has broken down.

I recall when we boarded, the plane was much warmer than any plane I've ever been. I don't think it could get that warm in the time it take to disembark and reembark, so it probably broke during the last trip.

I think the Air conditioning is powered by the APU (gas turbine in the tail of the aircraft) on the ground or Fixed Electric Ground Power. Inoperative APU is not safety critical so airlines are allowed to fly with this defect. I'm guessing you weren't connected to ground power because Ryanair save money by only buying the absolute minimal services from the Airport; the FEGP is usually part of the air bridge structure in modern terminals but Ryanair flights seem to mostly board up stairs even when an air bridge is available.

Ryanair seems to be skirting a very very thin line by steamrolling over labor disputes in the EU. I'd be very curious to know just who in that company is persuading executive leadership that these disputes don't represent an existential threat to the company and what their rationale is. Because is is the sort of thing that will bring the regulatory hammer down on them if they're not careful, and they don't seem to be being very careful.

Or worse, if anyone up there even cares to save the business. It could well be in the final stages of executive loot and plunder and we're just looking at the final stages where nobody even bothers to pretend they're interested in saving the business.

The CEO of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, is vehemently opposed to unions and workers rights. I imagine this is as much a personal vendetta for him as it is an exercise to maintain low costs which of course is Ryanair's whole business model.

If they have to increase their spending on workers as a result of this action, it is more likely to be an existential threat to the company rather than any regulatory or customer reaction.

He's only opposed to unions and worker rights because they would affect the profits of his company, and by extension, how much money he makes personally. If Ryanair's business model is only sustainable by exploiting workers, then it is good that the company collapses because it's nothing more than a hack to transfer wealth from the workers and passengers to the CEO and shareholders.

Funny how these people only scream about redistribution when it's from the rich to the poor, and not the other way around.

If net income is only around $1B, as another poster stated, then regulatory action can easily put them in the red, forcing an investor reckoning. The business can accommodate a shift in economics. It may not be able to survive a severe enough fine.

Selling return tickets for £20 surely put pressures on their wages.

Yet their net income is over a billion dollars. Surely some spending can be allowed

30 years ago the only choices to fly Dublin to London were BA and Aer Lingus. Both charged identical fares and the cheapest fare was £150, ie well over £400 today. That rip-off was ended by Ryanair.

I'm not crazy about them but i like having them around.

I have always picked Ryan air when I was in Europe as it was cheap despite being not available in many airports. The experience was not the nicest but to fly for 1 or 2 hours it seemed more than enough with just a single carry on. Hope the airline stays afloat and honors the labor laws while providing cheap air travel.

In fact, Ryanair flies to more airports in Europe than any other airline in the world[1], but skips some of the busiest ones because of their higher fees. It is rivaled by Easyjet in Western Europe, by Wizzair in Eastern Europe, and by Norwegian in Northern Europe. Most European low-cost fliers quickly learn the new tricks of each airline and couldn't care less about the customer service, as long as they can get them from A to B for the lowest price in the shortest possible time.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines_with_more_tha...

My flight just got cancelled by Wizzair due to "weather problems" officially but I hear lot of rumors that something is brewing over there too.

This is the first time I experience a cancelled flight. It is absolutely disastrous. I could not make it to my holiday since they provided 0 communication and the next flight was in 5 days...

This will surely affect there bottom line. Right now I'm considering buying a car and driving 20 hours when I want to get home instead of taking a plane.

I’ve had flights cancelled in the EU before (Alitalia, Air France) and the rights for passengers are pretty clear and consumer friendly. See: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-right...

Wizzair is my primary means of getting around for my job. If they do have issues I hope they get resolved quickly.

I don't mind the trains but they are usually a lot slower and more expensive.

Make sure you claim the full compensation due.

People failing to claim compensation makes issues like this cheaper for airlines, and therefore more frequent.

PBS did a piece, Frontline IIRC, about regional airlines and airlines like Ryan were discussed.

They essentially underpay employees by A LOT compared with the major airlines. It's how they keep their prices low. Pay little, charge for everything, but discount the price of the regular ticket by a lot.

And WHY would you take that job? Because it gets your foot into the door in the industry.

As a pilot, for you to become a captain (and earn more money), you have to complete certain thousands of hours of flight. And so you want to do that as quickly as possible. Regional airlines are a much easier to be hired into and you can get your routes on a very regular basis to make up all of your hours. Then, when you've completed your hours, you then apply to work for a larger airline with better pay and benefits.

But if the Ryanair employees are on strike who will try to sell me lottery tickets three times during my 2 hour flight?

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