Ryanair must also provide passengers with a full refund for their cancelled flights or book them on the next available flight free of charge said Simon Calder, a travel expert.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast he said: “Any passenger should have been given at least 48 hours notice. They have been told you can switch to another Ryanair flight or get a full refund.
“Crucially though under European air passenger rights they’re also allowed, if Ryanair doesn’t have a seat available, and flights are very full at the moment, to be rebooked on another airline service at the cost of Ryanair. Anecdotally it is not as easy as it might sound though.”
“Of course, if you’re stuck in Germany or Sweden or somewhere like that and you can’t get back the airline has to pay for you accommodation and your meals until they can fly you back home.”
If you’re stuck and you can’t get back the airline has to pay for you accommodation and your meals until they can fly you back home
Responding to the comments Mr Calder made on the BBC today, Ryanair told Express.co.uk: “In the case of a cancelled flight, if the customer requests a full refund, then no further compensation is due.
“If a customer wants to be re-routed, the following options, including with alternative airlines, apply and are in full accordance with the CAA and EU261 legislation.”
The Ryanair spokesperson continued: “We will first try to accommodate you on the next available Ryanair flight on the same route. If this option is not available on the same day or next day then then we will try to accommodate you on the next available Ryanair flight from or to a suitable alternative airport within the same country.
“If this isn’t available on the same or next day then we will accommodate you to your end destination on airlines with whom we have a reciprocal agreement. Our partner airlines include EasyJet, Jet2, Vueling, CityJet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings airlines.
“If this option is not available on the same or the next day then we will accommodate you on any comparable transport alternative to your end destination – for example on a train, bus, airline, car hire.
Simon Calder says that Ryanair must book you onto an alternative flight if yours is cancelled
“If you are required to exercise this option, you may be advised to rebook flights yourself and submit the receipts to us for reimbursement. Passengers must contact us prior to arranging alternative transport.”
Under EU law passengers whose Ryanair flights are cancelled by strikes to claim compensation of €250 (for journeys of up to 1,500km) or €400 (for longer journeys) the UK Civil Aviation Authority has said.
However, Ryanair has said that passengers will not be able to claim compensation for their cancelled flights as the strikes amount to “extraordinary circumstances” – in such incidences, airlines do not have to pay out according EU legislation.
The 24-hour walkout by pilot staff is taking place in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.
The airline described the industrial action as “regrettable and unjustified”, and called on the unions to come back to the negotiating table before calling any further “unnecessary” strikes.
Ryanair commented on the cancellations, saying: “Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options.
“The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight. We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes.”
The airline noted that despite the cancellations, 85 percent of its scheduled flights will not be affected and will operate as normal.”
Around 400 flights have nevertheless been cancelled, affecting around 50,000 passengers.
Affected travellers have been forced to find alternative routes to their destinations or rebook on different flights. A Dutch court on Thursday rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block the industrial action.