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What To Do When There Is An Airport Strike?

Airports strikes are part of the extraordinary circumstances that waive the airline's responsibility when it comes to paying compensation for a delayed or canceled flight.

But you shouldn't give up on eveything: the EU Regulation 261/2004 planned for ways that will help passengers get a flight refund and more, in the event of a strike at the airport.

There are even some cases where you may be entitled to compensation. Time to learn more about your rights for the airport strike!

Call the Airline or Travel Provider

First thing you should do is get a hold of your airline or travel provider. You need to know if your flight is going to be affected by the strike. Just take a look at the airline's website - if you can't find the information, call them.

If your flight is indeed disrupted because of the strike, you might need to be rerouted. The sooner you do it - the sooner you’ll be on a flight. You clearly aren’t the only one in this situation and seats are limited, so you better hurry: first arrived, first served! If you have booked a package including accommodation, contact your travel provider to find out your options.

Print out the website page showing that your flight was delayed or canceled, or take some note if you're finding out while on the phone with the airline. It will be useful when you ask for a refund.

Find an Alternative Flight or Get a Refund

According to EU 261, airlines should get you to your final destination as soon as possible. There are obliged to provide a new flight themselves and contact you as soon as they know about the flight disruption.

However, you might want to be proactive and ask for a new flight yourself. Depending on the airline's policy, you may also be able to change or rebook your flight to a later date without any additional cost.

If they can't find another flight for you and the delay is over 5 hours, they have to give you a full refund if you want to give up on your journey.

Can you Get a Compensation for an Airport Strike?

No, according to the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, airport strikes are part of the extraordinary circumstances under which airlines are not liable to pay compensation, along with bad weather and security threats.

However, if your flight doesn't fall within the immediate strike period but is still disrupted, due to a knock-on effect, then you may be entitled to a compensation. The reason is that extraordinary circumstances may be invoked only as regards a flight affected directly by such conditions and not for other flights affected in turn by a knock-on effect.

For instance, if your flight is canceled before the official starting day of the strike, you are entitled to compensation. Also, when flights depart on time after a strike but you are being denied boarding, you're likely to get compensated: the airline probably gave your seat to a passenger affected by the strike. You'd be involuntarily bumped off the plane, making you eligible for a compensation.

The Regulation is susceptible to interpretation and there hasn't been a binding ruling that would allow passengers to get a compensation when there is a strike at the airport. Submit your claim with ClaimCompass and our experts will let you know if you can get money out of your disrupted flight.

You Have Booked Travel Insurance

If you have booked travel insurance, you may want to verify with your provider if you’re covered in case of a strike. If you haven’t, then check with your credit card - major travel credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance yet few passengers end up using it simply because they aren’t aware of it.

What Else Can You Get When There Is An Airport Strike?

A refund and/or a compensation are not the only benefits you can get when your flight gets disrupted because of a strike.

The airline is obligated to provide you free meals, drinks and access to communications when:

  • Your flight is up to 1500km and it is delayed by 2 hours or more
  • Your flight is between 1500 and 3500km and it is delayed by 3 hours or more
  • Your flight is 3500km or more and it is delayed by 4 hours or more

In addition to this, they have to pay for a hotel room and a means of transportation to there and come back to the airport, when your flight is delayed to the next day.

Final Words on Airport Strikes

There isn't much you can do in this circumstances, but to make the most of the situation, remain polite and calm when addressing the airline staff. You are way more likely to get what you want this way rather than by yelling at them, especially if you're a frequent flier.

And don't forget to subscribe to the ClaimCompass newsletter: in addition to travel tips that you won't find on the blog, you'll get a free checklist to know if you're entitled to compensation from your airline!

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Thomas Busson

Thomas Busson

Thomas is a Passenger Rights and Flight Compensation expert. Frequent traveller, he loves sharing tips and news to help people make the most of travel.

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What To Do When There Is An Airport Strike?
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