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UK flights cancelled by Italian air traffic control strike

UK air passengers are facing major disruption due to a strike by Italian air traffic controllers, with scores of flights cancelled.

Ryanair and Easyjet planes will be grounded by the strike. Credit: PA

The four-hour stoppage tomorrow has led to Ryanair axing 96 flights to and from Italy, including four return services involving flights to and from the UK.

EasyJet has had to cancel up to 60 flights and other UK carriers are also likely to be affected by the action, which lasts from 11.30am to 3.30pm UK time.

The Ryanair cancellations include Manchester-Bologna, Stansted-Ancona, Stansted-Trieste and Liverpool-Pisa.

Ryanair warned that further delays and cancellations are likely and advised passengers to check the status of their flight.

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Ryanair to launch 'business class' flights

No-frills airline Ryanair is to introduce a ,business class'. Credit: PA

It may be famous for its "no-frills" approach, but low-cost Irish airline Ryanair is set to launch business class flights.

While the 69.99 euro (£56) Business Plus package does not provide roomier seating, it does offer more discerning fliers a range of benefits, including:

  • Flexibility on ticket changes
  • 20kg (44lbs) of checked-in bag allowance
  • Fast-track airport security at selected airports
  • Priority boarding and 'premium' seats

Fliers must select Business Plus services during the booking process or face additional charges for any services added after payment has been made.

Ryanair boss backs Scottish independence 'if taxes cut'

The head of airline Ryanair has supported plans for reduced Air Passenger Duty, a currency union and Scotland's continued membership of the European Union.

Michael O'Leary's comments come after Standard Life announced it had drawn up contingency plans around Scottish independence.

Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Mr O' Leary said: "There's no doubt that most airlines would support the position of the Scottish Government in relation to the abolition of the [air passenger duty], which does untold damage to Scottish tourism."

Mr O’Leary also said Scotland should retain the use of the pound and that Scotland would keep our membership of the European Union.

How to check if your flight is affected by the strikes

Passengers planning on flying to Europe in the next two days are likely to encounter delays and disruption to European flights as Air Traffic Control staff are planning to strike in Italy and Portugal.

Airlines are advising customers, particularly those on short-haul flights, to check their websites for the status of their flights, see below for details on where to check the status of your flight.

easyjet will advise all affected passengers on flights into and out of Lisbon and on flights to and from Milan Malpensa via email. Customers can also check their flights on the airline's Flight Tracker page.

British Airways have also re-timed a number of flights to avoid the strike period and have made some cancellations. The airline advised passengers to check its website for up-to-date information concerning flights departing in the next two days.

Ryanair has a list of cancelled flights on their website and has predicted significant delays and further cancellations on Wednesday 29 January. Customers can also check the website for information on how to apply for a refund and how to rebook your cancelled flight.

Ryanair announces move to fully allocated seating

Low-cost airline Ryanair has announced it will move to fully allocated seating on all flights from February 2014.

Fully allocated seating will begin in February 2014. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Passengers who do not pay €5 (£4.23) to select their seats will be allocated them during the 24 hours prior to departure.

The airline said the move was in response to feedback from customers who complained about rushing to the airport in a bid to get the best seats.

Ryanair also warned that its profits are likely to fall for the first time in five years.

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Ryanair charged fire victims' father to change flight

Ryanair has apologised to Dr Muhammad Taufiq al-Sattar, whose wife and three children were killed in a Leicester house fire, after he was charged €188 (£158) to change his booking on the morning of the fire.

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary said a letter has been sent sympathising with Dr Taufiq al-Sattar and addressing the airline's handling of the booking change.

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary said the airline has apologised to Dr Muhammad Taufiq al-Sattar. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

"I think you have to make exceptions in cases like that and we made an exception last night when we became aware of it," Mr O'Leary said. "We want to respond sensitively to these cases."

The budget airline boss said the Dr Taufiq al-Sattar has been refunded the extra charge.

Ryanair to increase baggage charges for summer

Ryanair intends to increase baggage charges until no-one takes its flights with luggage that needs to go in the hold, the airline's boss said today.

Michael O'Leary added it was likely that "at some point" airlines would start charging even for hand luggage.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Credit: Press Association

Speaking at a news conference in London, Mr O'Leary said that Ryanair had increased its charge for hold luggage by €20 (about £17.50) for the summer period.

Asked what was the logic behind charging people more for the summer period, he replied: "That's when they are likely to bring more bags."

Mr O'Leary went on: "We will keep increasing charges until we get rid of (hold) bags."

He said Ryanair had reduced the number of its passengers who checked in hold baggage from 80 percent to 19 percent and that this was saving the airline "a fortune in money".

Ryanair to cut flights from Stansted Airport by 9%

Low-cost airline Ryanair has said it will cut its flights from Stansted Airport by 9% over the next year.

Ryanair had planned to increase the number of flights to and from the Essex airport by 5% from April, but will now cut 170 flights across 43 routes a week because of increased fees at Stansted.

Ryanair has said that up to to 1,000 jobs could be lost at Stansted Airport. Credit: Press Association

The announcement came after Stansted was sold by Ferrovial/BAA to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5 billion.

Ryanair blamed its decision on a 6% increase in charges at the airport, which it says should be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said:

"It's bad enough that Ferrovial/BAA has doubled prices over the past six years and presided over record traffic falls at Stansted, but it appears that the CAA now rewards this commercial failure by allowing Ferrovial/BAA to again raise fees in 2013 to compensate for its traffic declines in 2012."

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