Aer Lingus industrial action: What is happening and what are my rights?

As Aer Lingus pilots announce an indefinite work to rule what does it mean for your holiday?
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

12.01 19 Jun 2024

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Aer Lingus industrial action:...

Aer Lingus industrial action: What is happening and what are my rights?

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

12.01 19 Jun 2024

Share this article

As Aer Lingus pilots announce an indefinite work-to-rule starting next week, people all over Ireland are facing possible holiday disruption.

While the action will not cause the same level of chaos as an indefinite strike, Aer Lingus has warned that passengers still face ‘significant disruption’.

So what exactly does it all mean – and what can passengers do if their holiday plans are thrown into disarray?


Work to rule

The work-to-rule action will see pilots refusing to work overtime or any other out-of-hours duties.

They will only work published rosters and will not accept any changes to published rosters.

They will also stop logging into the Aer Lingus portal and answering calls outside of work hours.

What will the impact be?

The impact on flight schedules remains unclear; however, Aer Lingus has warned that a “significant level of disruption is inevitable".

Aer Lingus does have the option of bringing in crews from other airlines to fly key routes if necessary.

The airline is owned by IAG which also owns British Airways and Iberia, meaning the company could bring in crews from those airlines.

The pilots union IALPA (Irish Airline Pilots' Association) has warned, meanwhile, that it is not ruling out an escalation of its industrial action if its demands are not met.

When does it start?

The work to rule begins at 12.01am on Wednesday 26th June.

The pilots have given Aer Lingus the minimum seven days’ notice rather than the 15 days the airline had requested.

Crucially, airlines must pay compensation to passengers if they cancel their flights 14 days or less before scheduled departure.

What if my flight is cancelled?

Aer Lingus has clear obligations to passengers when flights are cancelled due to industrial action.

EU Regulation 261 requires airlines to offer passengers a refund, rerouting on the next available flight or a later flight of their choosing.

If your flight home is cancelled, the airline has the same obligation; however, it must also take care of you while you are stranded.

That means you are legally entitled to meals and refreshments while waiting for your new flight.

If necessary, the airline is also required to cover the cost of hotel accommodation and transport between the hotel and the airport.

Reasonable arrangements

If the airline does not provide you with the care and assistance required under the EU regulations, you will have to make your own ‘reasonable' arrangements and then claim the money back from the airline at a later date.

It is essential to keep receipts of all transactions as they will be needed to make your claim when you return home.


You may also be entitled to compensation as the industrial action is not considered to be outside the airline’s control under EU law.

The potential compensation payable is:

  • Short-haul flight - €250
  • Medium-haul flight - €400
  • Long-haul flight - €600

Passengers are not entitled to compensation if the airline gives them at least two weeks’ notice that their flight has been cancelled.


Airlines are not required to cover the cost of lost hotel accommodation or other aspects of your holiday; however, your travel insurance may do so.

Contact your insurer to find out if you are covered.

It is highly unlikely that travel insurance purchased after the industrial action was announced will include cover.

You can find out more about your rights as an air passenger on the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) website.

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