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Ryanair pilot strike grounds nearly 400 flights, stranding vacationers across Europe

Ryanair pilot strike grounds nearly 400 flights, stranding vacationers across Europe
[Photo: courtesy of Ryanair]

Ryanair has found a new way to muck up your vacation plans. Pilots at the the notoriously no-frills airline have gone on strike, grounding nearly 400 flights–one in six–and stranding would-be vacationers across Europe.

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The strike comes as the pilots lobby for higher wages, which Ryanair does not want to pay because it could require the airline to raise fares in the highly competitive European market. Plus, according to CNN, Ryanair thinks it pays pilots plenty, and even posted pay slips on its website to prove its generous wages.

The pilots, however, disagree (and perhaps didn’t look too kindly to having their pay stubs posted online). Ryanair pilots in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands kicked off a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions, leaving 396 flights canceled at the height of vacation season and resulting in possibly more than 74,000 passengers scrambling for new flights.

Per The Guardian, Ryanair said that more than 340 (14%) of its flights were delayed on Wednesday due to staff shortages in France, Spain, Greece, the U.K., and Austria.

The strikes are just the latest sign of strife between Ryanair and the trade unions, which the company just officially recognized in December–despite Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary saying previously that he would “rather cut off his hands than agree to union recognition.” However, the airline hasn’t responded to the workers’ concerns, which has led to strikes rolling across Europe, including cabin crews’ and pilots’ strikes over the past few weeks.

Ryanair is trying to find a silver lining in the situation, telling The Guardian: “More than 2,000 Ryanair flights (85% of our schedule) will operate as normal today, carrying almost 400,000 customers across Europe.” The rest of the customers will spend their vacation time waiting on hold with the airline.

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