BUDGET airline Ryanair has cancelled 190 flights scheduled for Friday because of strikes by cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

The flights represent 8% of the 2,400 originally scheduled.

The airline said all affected customers have received emails or text messages informing them of the cancellation.

About 30,000 customers are likely to be affected out of 450,000 set to travel.

READ MORE: Young man arrested after missing flight and chasing plane ‘pleading for pilot to stop’

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs apologised to customers affected by strikes, “which we have done our utmost to avoid,” he said.

But how can consumers seek compensation if the strikes threaten to ruin their holiday? Fiona Macrae, from the consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk, gives Evening Times readers the information they need to know about strikes and what to do if their holiday hangs in the balance:

What is Ryanair doing?

Ryanair has been contacting passengers to advise of the cancellation of flights. It has also contacted some passengers asking them to consider booking onto alternative flights in case of disruption to their service.

What happens if Ryanair cancels my flight?

Airlines have to offer a choice of either a full refund of the ticket and compensation or arrange an alternative flight.

Is Ryanair offering compensation?

It has been reported that Ryanair won’t be offering compensation for the strikes. However, under EU law, passengers are entitled to compensation if they are given less than two weeks’ notice regarding cancellations.

What should I do if my flight is cancelled?

The first thing you should do is contact Ryanair. However, under European legislation, there is also a ‘re-route’ option which means that, if your original airline cannot get you to your destination on your booked date, or the day after, then you can demand to be booked with a rival airline (subject to seat availability).

Your original airline is legally responsible for booking replacement flights and should bear the cost accordingly. If the airline advises you to make your own arrangements then, provided you can prove that you have taken the only available alternative, you should be able to reclaim the costs from the original airline.

What can I do if I have incurred additional costs due to the flight cancellation?

Unfortunately, travel insurance policies do not cover the cost of a replacement flight - you should therefore make use of the ‘re-route’ option mentioned above.

Similarly, any additional costs to enable you to continue your holiday would not be covered, for example, if you had pre-paid your airport parking but now have to travel from a different airport, or if your flight arrangements mean that you now have to stay in a hotel overnight before catching your new flight.

But will my travel insurer pay up?

Generally, if there is a strike which results in the cancellation of flights, then the airline will offer alternative flights or a refund.

There are a few travel insurance policies that offer cancellation cover for ‘any reason you could not have been expected to foresee or avoid’.

If you have this cover, you may be able to cancel your holiday and claim back any pre-paid expenses, such as excursions, car hire costs or accommodation fees that you cannot get back from anywhere else. However, if you buy a policy after a strike has been announced then you may not be covered as it is a ‘known event’.