The summer season is when many families, couples and solo travelers look forward to their well-deserved vacation. A moment of rest, relaxation and a break from the daily grind. It is therefore even more frustrating when this is disrupted by unforeseen factors such as strikes. The recent strike by Belgian Ryanair pilots, which led to the cancellation of 120 flights at Charleroi airport, has sparked outrage and despair among many travellers.
Not only were hundreds of passengers directly affected by the cancellations, but the announcement of a new strike in the middle of the busy summer season has only fueled uncertainty and frustration. What is meant to be a time of relaxation turns into a nightmare for many of being stranded in airports, looking for alternative transportation options and unforeseen extra costs.
The core of the problem, of course, lies with the dissatisfaction of the pilots and the lack of respect shown by Ryanair, according to union CNE. Although it is understandable that the pilots fight for their rights and working conditions, the impact on the holidaymaker is often underestimated.
Ryanair's response, as quoted in De Standaard, makes it seem as if the company is distancing itself from the issue. By saying that the pilots are free to strike, a passive attitude is adopted and the airline seems to shirk its responsibility to find a solution.
Where is the midfield? Is there no room for a constructive dialogue between the management and its staff? Why must thousands of travelers suffer from an internal conflict? It seems that both parties – the airline and the union – forget that the traveler is the real customer. They are paying for a service that is not currently being provided.
While the pilots and the airline work out their differences, the vacationer is left out in the cold. They deserve better than this. They deserve respect, information and above all the service they paid for. It is time for both parties to take their responsibility and work towards a solution where the traveler is not used as a plaything in a larger game of power and discontent.