Airline passengers are facing the prospect of flight disruption to and from airports in Ireland, the UK and Spain in the coming weeks as pilots and cabin crew with Ryanair, and potentially British Airways pilots, plan work stoppages over various grievances they have with their employers.
Some directly employed Ryanair pilots in Ireland, who are members of IALPA - a branch of the Fórsa trade union - last week backed industrial action in a dispute over pay, working conditions and related issues.
When will the strikes be held?
Irish and British-based Ryanair pilots, who are members of IALPA and BALPA respectively, have voted to hold two days of strike action on 22 and 23 August.
Ryanair is currently attempting to get a court injunction preventing the strike by IALPA pilots from going ahead.
The BALPA pilots voted for an additional three days of action in September.
Do we know what flights are affected?
Not yet. Not all Ryanair pilots are members of IALPA or BALPA so the airline will try to minimise the effects of the strike by drafting in replacement pilots.
In the event of strikes going ahead, it's highly likely that some flights will be cancelled, and passengers who have booked flights should check with the airline. Ryanair typically gives passengers two or three days' notice if their flight is cancelled.
What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?
Under EU regulation (EC) No 261/2004, if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to either a full refund of the cost of the airline ticket within seven days, a return flight to the first point of departure or a substitute flight to your destination from a nearby airport with the airline covering any additional travel costs.
Are food and accommodation costs included as part of the compensation?
If the delay is longer than two hours duration, depending on the distance of the flight, the airline must cover the costs of meals and refreshments plus two free phone calls and e-mails.
If the flight is delayed until the next day, you are entitled to accommodation and transport to the place of accommodation. If the delay is five hours or longer, you are entitled to a full refund of the price of the ticket within a week or a return flight to the original departure point.
What if I don't get what I believe I was entitled to?
You should make your own arrangements - maintaining costs 'within reason' - and keep all of your receipts.
Upon your return, send copies of your receipts to the airline and include booking reference numbers, the names of all passengers and the flight details of cancelled and replacement flights.
If you're not satisfied with the response from the airline, you can escalate the complaint by contacting the National Enforcement Body, which, for Irish passengers, is the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
Am I entitled to compensation from the airline for inconvenience, above the allowable expenses?
Airlines are bound to pay EU compensation of between €250 and €600 if they cancel your flight without 14 days' notice, unless it is owing to "extraordinary circumstances." The airlines will likely claim that a strike is beyond its control. In reality, you will end up going to court to try to get your compensation entitlement.
Will travel insurance cover the cost of flights cancelled because of a strike?
Check the terms and conditions of your travel policy.
It's highly unlikely to be covered as most policies will have a clause specifically excluding strike action as a reason for payment.
However, it may cover the cost of certain items if you're left out of pocket as a result of the action, so it's always a good idea to keep your receipts.
And don't be tempted to take out a policy now in case you're impacted as the insurance company will not pay out if the policy has been purchased after strike action has been announced.