What to do if there is an airline strike
Have you been left stranded at an airport or stuck in a foreign country due to a strike? Is strike action going to impact your holiday before it’s even started? Don’t worry we have pulled together everything you need to know to help get your holiday back on track or claim that compensation you deserve.
Who is entitled to compensation and assistance for delayed or cancelled flights?
The Regulation EU 261/ 2004 provides compensation* and assistance for passengers if their flight: • Departs from an EU airport • Arrives at an EU airport from outside the EU but with an EU carrier • Is cancelled or arrives at least 3 hours late or more
Can I get a full refund if my flight is cancelled?
Under the same EU regulation, you are entitled to one of the following: • A full refund of the cost of the ticket within seven days* • A substitute flight to your destination from a nearby airport with the airline covering any additional travel costs • A replacement flight on a later date outside of the duration of the strike; this is usually limited to a 12-month period
What am I entitled to if my flight is severely delayed?
• In the event of long delays (two hours or more, depending on the distance of the flight), you qualify for free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls and e-mails. • If the time of departure is delayed until the next day, you must be allocated hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation must be covered by the airline. • If your delay is five hours or longer, you have the right to; a full refund of the ticket within 7 days, when relevant a return flight to the first point of departure.
If your airline does not offer you this assistance, then keep your spending low and hold on to your receipts. You can then claim reimbursement from the airline when you return home.
Can I claim compensation if I am affected by a strike?
This is a grey area as the only circumstances in which the airline is not legally obliged to provide compensation is if the flight was cancelled or delayed due to reasons beyond the airline’s control, such as a volcanic eruption, a strike or extreme weather. There is much debate around which issues are the fault of the airline and which aren’t. Depending on who is striking you may be able to claim up to £530 in compensation from your airline.
What steps do I take to claim compensation?
1) Raise a complaint with the airline: The claiming procedures for airlines may differ from emails to online forms, so check what method your airline requires before you submit your claim. If you are having difficulty filing the claim, then there are plenty of companies such as AirHelp that can file the claim on your behalf. Alternatively, websites such as moneysavingexpert offer free templates on their site to help you with your claim. 2) Use an adjudicator or regulator to take the claim further: If your claim has been rejected or put on hold by your airline don’t worry you can take it further through a regulator or an adjudicator that many airlines are now registered with. 3) Take the claim to court: If the airline still reject your claim or you are unhappy with the outcome of your claim then you can take them to court. Claims may be refused by the court if they date back more than 6 years in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (five years in Scotland) so be sure to keep this in mind.
Will my travel insurance cover any additional costs?
If your claim is rejected by the airline, you may be able to claim compensation from your insurer if the strike is not the airline’s fault. Check the terms and conditions of your policy to see what situations it will cover. You may also receive payment to cover hotel costs or alternative transport you require; the airlines should provide this by law, however, as previously stated.
Check out the FCO's Travel Aware site for guidance on finding the best travel insurance cover for your trip.
*fees may apply