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Was Your Flight Delayed or Cancelled Because of Industrial Action?

Home > Flight delayed or cancelled industrial action

Regardless of whether you are flying to a holiday destination or visiting to see your grandparents, experiencing a delay or even a cancellation of a flight can put you out of a lot of money and time. It is for this reason that the EU Regulation 261 was put into place. Officially titled “The Denied Boarding Regulation” this regulation protects passengers and ensures fair claim and compensation for those experiencing delays of two hours or more, or unexpected cancellations.

That is, of course, only when the cancellations or delays are within the airline’s ability. Extraordinary circumstances are excluded from Regulation 261.

Examples of Extraordinary Circumstances

Regulation 261 covers situations where an airline is at fault for the delays or cancellations. Examples of extraordinary circumstances are:

  1. Political Instability in the destination country or within the departure country.
  2. Severe weather conditions causing flight delay.
  3. Security risks either at the airport, on the plane, or at the destination.
  4. Strikes that affect the airport.
  5. Unexpected mechanical failures.

In order for an airline to claim extraordinary circumstance they must prove that they had no hand in the cause. Unexpected mechanical failures are a big example of this. Many delays due to a fault or mechanical error will not apply under EC261/2004, as it is up to the airline to perform regular maintenance on their aircraft carriers. Delays are due to manufacturer’s recalling parts, however, are included in extraordinary circumstances.

Other examples of when extraordinary circumstance claims will not affect your compensation claim is if, for example, your flight was delayed or cancelled due to severe weather but no other airline remained grounded. It is the airline’s hope that you do not look into their statements of extraordinary circumstance further, and therefore do not place a compensation claim with them.

Flight Delays or Cancellations Due to Industrial Action

When it comes to industrial action or strikes, however, the situation will depend on which employees are striking. In many cases strikes are rarely considered to apply under extraordinary circumstances. Employees will have likely informed the airline of their plans in advance, meaning it was the airlines responsibility to handle the grievances before it affected passengers.

Where strikes to fall under extraordinary circumstance is when staff from other organisations strike. As these employees would not have been hired nor managed by the airline itself compensation claims cannot be made to your airline. Examples of extraordinary circumstance strikes include:

  • Airport Staff
  • Baggage Handlers
  • Air Traffic Control

If the strike was held by employees of the airline, however, you have the right to compensation.

Who Can Claim for Compensation?

Not every flight is eligible for compensation however, and knowing whether your situation applies to the rules set out in Regulation 261 can help you choose your next course of action regardless of the reason why it was delayed.

You can claim compensation through Regulation 261 if you:

  • Fly between two EU countries on any airline.
  • Fly from an EU country to a non-EU country from any airline.
  • Fly to an EU country from a non-EU country from an EU airline.

You cannot claim compensation, however, if either of these two situations apply:

  • You are flying to the EU from a non-EU country on a non-EU airline.
  • You have already received compensation under another country’s or airline’s compensation regulations.

What Kind of Compensation Will You Receive?

If your flight has been delayed due to industrial action, particularly if that industrial action was in part due to the staff hired by the airline, not the airport, you are due compensation. You can and should receive this compensation even before you leave.

The type of compensation you can receive will depend on your situation. If you are still at the airport and your flight has been delayed by two hours or more you can receive:

  1. A voucher for free meals or refreshments to help ease the waiting time.
  2. Hostel accommodation in the case that your flight is delayed until tomorrow or for however long is necessary.
  3. Free transport to and from your given accommodation.
  4. Free communication in the form of telephone calls, fax messages, or email (limit of two per person). Though you likely won’t need this, as many airlines offer free WiFi to passengers regardless.

What are the Different Qualifying Delay Times?

Qualifying delay time refers to the amount of time that must pass before you can claim compensation. The amount of time will differ depending on what kind of flight you are taking and how long that flight is. You will first need to exceed the number of hours before you can receive even the previously mentioned list of compensations.

The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the amount of time you are delayed and the length of your flight:

  1. Travellers on flights that travel less than 1500km can receive €250 in compensation
  2. Travellers on flights that travel between 1500km and 3500km can receive €400 in compensation
  3. Travellers on flights going between two EU member states where the distance is greater than 3500km (in the case of travelling to islands owned by member states) where the delay is three hours or more can receive €400.
  4. Travellers on international flights where the distance is over 3500km and have experienced a delay between three to four hours can receive compensation of €300.
  5. Travellers on international flights where the distance is more than four hours can receive compensation of €600.

Prices are fixed in euros, meaning that as the pounds’ value fluctuates this will affect the numerical amount of the compensation you can receive. Value-wise, however, the compensation is fixed.

Compensation is fixed by EU law, though there are other ways that you can be compensated for your troubles. As previously stated, airlines can offer you accommodation, food vouches, and can even refund your ticket. Accepting another compensation offer may invalidate your compensation claim through EU law and as such all of your options should be considered before you accept any offer.

If Your Flight Has Been Delayed Due to Industrial Action

Strikes greatly affect the airline’s reputation, and no strike occurs without previous communication from the airline’s employees. As such, you should be notified of how a strike will affect your flight in advance.

In most cases, strikes may not affect passengers at all. Airlines do their best to keep disruptions to a minimum, but that does not mean that there is not the risk of your flight being delayed or even cancelled. That being said, airlines do prioritise international flights over domestic or European ones, due to the extended length of the flight and the increased cost.

Will the Airline Notify Me?

If a strike will affect your air travel then the airline will notify you through the contact details you provided when purchasing your ticket. Airlines must be able to prove that they did all that they could to notify you of the strike and your options. If you have submitted your information incorrectly then there is nothing that they can do to notify you.

In this case it is up to you to check the airline’s website and even call ahead to check on the status of your flight. If you know that a strike is occurring and you haven’t heard anything calling in advance to double-check is always a smart move.

Re-Fund Options

Refunds are different than compensation claims. If your flight was cancelled due to a strike you are entitled to:

  1. A full refund that will be paid back to you within 7 days of claiming it.
  2. An alternative flight to your destination from either the original airport or a different one, where the airline will pay for your extra travel costs.
  3. An alternative flight on another date once the strike ends. This can mean a few days later or any time within a 12-month period.

You cannot rebook or get refunded until the strike dates are published.

What if Your Flight is Part of a Package Deal?

If your flight is part of a packaged deal you don’t have to worry about getting stranded. It is up to the tour operator or the company who issued the deal to arrange for alternative flights or a full refund. You will need to contact them immediately to find out their plans to ensure your holiday is going on as scheduled.

If The Cancellation Occurs Within Fourteen Days of Your Departure

If your flight is cancelled within fourteen days of your scheduled departure date you may also be entitled to compensation. This is on top of being refunded your flight cost or being rerouted through either another airline or fly out on another date.

The only time this does not apply is if:

  1. The airline notifies you of the cancellation fifteen or more days before departure.
  2. If you are notified between seven to fourteen days before your departure but a rescheduled flight or plan is already in place to ensure you arrive at your destination within four hours of your originally scheduled landing.
  3. Your original flight has been cancelled but a new flight has been organised so that you arrive within two hours of your originally scheduled landing.

�?�This means that if your flight is cancelled and this cancellation affects your original arrival time, you can also claim compensation. The compensation amounts are fixed and are as follows:

  • For short-haul flights travelling less than 1500km: €250
  • For medium-haul flights travelling from one EU country to another: €400
  • For long-haul flights travelling more than 3500km: €600

How Re-Routing Options Affect Your Compensation

You can still claim compensation if you are re-routed for the same day. Compensation rates, however, will be reduced if the airline makes does re-route you. This reduction amounts to half of what is typically paid out and only applies if the new arrival time for your re-routed flight lands:

  1. Within 2 hours of your original arrival time for short haul flights (less than 1500km)
  2. Within 3 hours of your arrival time for medium haul flights (between 1500km and 3500km)
  3. Within 4 hours of your f arrival time for long-haul flights (over 3500km).

When To Re-Schedule a Flight On Your Own

If you reschedule a flight or buy another ticket in response to alleged strike action you could end up paying for the cost of two tickets. This will happen if your original flight goes on as scheduled, and as such it is always better to wait before definitive action is being taken by the union of your airline.

You can only receive compensation when the airline has interrupted your intended travels. As such purchasing a ticket in expectation of a strike when that strike does not affect your journey invalidates your rights to compensation.

The only time you should reschedule a flight or even cancel it due to potential strike action is when you have a refundable ticket or a flexible ticket option. At which point rescheduling your flight in advance can help give you peace of mind earlier rather than deal with the stress of being re-routed or even stranded.

What is Important to Know For Your Travel Insurance

In many cases travel insurance acts as a last assurance that you will be compensated for delayed or cancelled flights. This insurance can help you cover for any extra costs you might incur, or money wasted - such as a hotel night at your destination you don’t get to use.

�?�What is important to note when it comes to strike action, however, that you must have purchased your travel insurance before:

  • Strike dates were announced
  • Strike action was first publicly threatened.
  • Plans for the strike were confirmed (and publicly announced)

Claiming Compensation in Light of Brexit

The UK will adhere to EU law until March 2019, at which time new regulations will be put into place. Until then it is wise to file for any compensation claim relating to cases from the last six years to ensure you gain the compensation you are owed.

Getting Help With Compensation

Claiming compensation and knowing what you are entitled to is a long process. That is why claiming compensation using Fair Plane. Get in touch and use our easy form to find out what you are owed today. All you need is your flight number, the date of your flight, booking reference, and any details of the connecting flights that were affected. We will take care of everything else for you, and through out No Win No Fee program you won’t have to pay us anything unless we get you the compensation that you are owed.

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