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Can you claim flight compensation due to flight strike?

Flight strikes are a common cause for flight disruption, whether this is due to the personnel of an airport or an airline. When the airline or airport employees go on strike, the airline or airport can no longer provide the necessary services. Passengers can claim flight compensation due to a flight strike in two particular cases – a standard airline crew strike and a wildcat strike. Since recently airline personnel strikes are not considered an extraordinary circumstance (ECJ, C-28/20 from 23.3.2021). Wildcat strikes are also not considered an extraordinary circumstance, as the employees of an airline call in sick and do not go to work. In this situation, the airline is obligated to pay the passengers compensation for the delayed and cancelled flights. The amount of the compensation depends on the flight distance and you might be entitled to either 250 €, 300 €, 400 € or 600 €. With a delay of over 5 hours, you can receive a ticket reimbursement if you no longer wish to take the flight. The airline must also provide you with additional services including free meals, refreshments and accommodation, depending on the length of your delay. If your flight was affected by flight strike or other circumstances, you can always check whether you are eligible for compensation. Simply enter your flight details at www.myflyright.com and we will do the work for you without any costs included.

What is a flight strike?

A flight strike could occur due to an air traffic controllers strike, airline or airport strike and could result in a flight delay or flight cancellation. An airline strike is an organized shutdown of operations by the airline employees or their unions. An airport strike is usually organized by the airport staff. Baggage handlers, security guards, firefighters at the airport and other ground staff are examples of the groups that can also strike, causing flights disruptions. The employees of an airline or the airport staff seize operations in order to protest about their current salary, work conditions and environment, health benefits or similar. The employees intend to achieve an increase in their salary or pension and better working conditions; and they refuse to work until the employer agrees to their terms and conditions. When an airline or airport goes on strike, it implies that there are not enough staff members to proceed with the delivery of their services. In other words, many flights need to be cancelled or delayed.

Your passenger rights in the event of flight strike

You can claim compensation:

Passengers can claim flight compensation in cases of planned airline personnel strikes and wildcat strikes, which are both not considered an extraordinary circumstance (ECJ, C-28/20 from 23.3.2021). As mentioned above, a wildcat strike refers to a situation where the airline personnel decide to go on strike and the employees suddenly call in sick, resulting in flight operations being impaired. This means that whenever the staff goes on a planned strike or a wildcat strike, the airline must pay compensation for their actions. The airline needs to provide the customers with compensation if the flight gets cancelled or delayed and it also needs to provide meals, refreshments, accommodation and transfer from and to the airport when the flight is delayed by at least 2 hours.

You cannot claim compensation:

According to the EU regulation, some types of strikes are beyond the airline’s control and are considered as an extraordinary circumstance. Airport and ground personnel strikes (baggage handlers, security guards, firefighters, etc.) are not considered as an eligible reason for a compensation claim. If a flight is delayed as a result of this, the airline is not held responsible. This means that passengers are not able to file claims for compensation when the flight was directly affected by these types of flight strike.

The airline is, however, obligated to provide additional services in case of flight delays. These services include free meals and refreshments, which you are entitled to when your flight is delayed by at least 2 hours. Passengers should also receive free overnight accommodation and a transfer to and from the airport. Even in the event of extraordinary circumstances, the airline is still required to provide these additional services to the passenger. The following overview shows the rights and services you are entitled to in case of a flight delay:

Flight cancelled by airline – compensation

In order to have an eligible claim for compensation in the case of strike, the reason for the delay or cancellation needs to be connected to a planned airline personnel strike or a wildcat strike as explained further up in the text. There are also certain requirements that your case needs to fulfil in order for you to file your claim for compensation. In order to benefit from the EU regulation, your flight should either take off from a country located in the European Union or land in a country from the EU if it is a European airline. Below you will find a table that summarizes which flight routes the EU Regulation applies to:

EU flight compensation – flight delay due to strike

As a passenger, you could be entitled to compensation if you arrive at least 3 hours later at your final destination. A claim for compensation can be taken into account, however, only when the flight reaches the destination with at least a 3-hour delay and the reason for the delay was a planned airline personnel strike or a wildcat strike. This also includes missing a connecting flight because your first flight was delayed and, as a result, the arrival at your destination is 3 hours later than scheduled – as long as both flights were purchased together. It is also very important that you check in on time if the strike will only be lasting for a short period, because the airline usually offers you an alternative flight at a short notice. If the strike will last several days, you can ask the airline in advance when your alternative flight will be taking off.

How much compensation in the event of flight strike?

When your flight is cancelled or arrives at the destination airport with a delay of more than 3 hours due to an airline personnel strike, you might be entitled to 250 €, 300 €, 400 € or 600 €, depending on the flight distance. With a delay of over 5 hours, you can receive a ticket reimbursement if you no longer wish to take the flight. The airline must provide you with additional services including free meals, refreshments and accommodation, depending on the length of your delay.

As long as the flight delay is not caused by extraordinary circumstances, passengers will be entitled to receive compensation from the airline. There are 4 compensation amounts in the event of a flight delay, depending on the distance of the flight, which are set out by the EU Passenger Rights Regulation EC No 261/2004. It is important to note that compensation is calculated based on the arrival time at the destination and not on the departure time of the flight. Here is an outline of the compensation in relation to distance and delay:

• 3 500 kilometers (outside the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of at least 4 hours - 600 €

• 3 500 kilometers (outside the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of between 3 and 4 hours - 300 €

• Between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometers (outside the EU) and over 1 500 kilometers (in the EU) if the flight is delayed at the final destination by at least 3 hours - 400 €

• Up to 1 500 kilometers (in the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of at least 3 hours - 250 €

    How to get compensation for cancelled flight due to strike?

    When your flight gets cancelled due to flight strike, it is important that the airline provides the cause of the cancellation in writing. This information can be useful to reinforce your claim for compensation. You should also collect any type of evidence such as boarding cards, receipts, pictures of the airport flight board, online tickets, vouchers, etc. Last but not least, you should use our free compensation calculator at www.myflyright.com and find out if you’re eligible to compensation. You simply need to enter your flight details and the reason for the delay or cancellation. We are happy to help you with your claim for compensation and/or ticket refund and there is no cost risk for you at any point.

    Airline cancellations due to strike

    When an airline’s crew goes on strike, it often results in heavy flight disruptions. This causes great inconveniences and confusion for air passengers. If you have experienced flight delays or flight cancellations due to airline strikes and were traveling to or from the EU, you may be entitled up to 600 € in airline strike compensation. Below you will find a list of the most recent airline strikes.

    Ryanair strike

    There were many Ryanair strikes in recent years – cabin crew strikes in Spain and Portugal, ten-day nationwide strikes and pilot strikes. The strikes resulted in hundreds of flight delays and flight cancellations.

    Lufthansa strike

    There were large Lufthansa cabin crew strikes in recent years, which grounded more than 1 500 flights. About 200 000 passengers faced travel disruptions.

    Alitalia strike

    In recent years there were numerous Alitalia strikes such as the Alitalia national strike, Alitalia and Air Italy personnel 24-hour strike and other staff strikes. The airline also participated in a nationwide aviation and airport workers strike in Italy.

    Air France strike

    There were many Air France strikes in recent years: Air France HOP pilots strike and Air France ground staff strikes. All of these events led to multiple flight delays and flight cancellations.

    Eurowings strike

    Eurowings usually takes part in a nationwide German cabin crew strike, which grounds hundreds of flights. The cancellations mostly affected flights within Germany from airports that include Cologne-Bonn, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.

    Airport strikes

    In the aviation industry, it is not only individual airline strikes that can affect travelers. Airport staff members, baggage handlers, security guards, firefighters and other members of the ground staff are additional examples of the employees that can strike and affect the flight schedule. Below you will find a list of the most recent airport strikes where the customers do not have an eligible claim for compensation.

    Barcelona airport strike

    Ground crew at Barcelona El Prat's airport often initiates strikes affecting check-in, boarding and baggage handling at the airport. The strikes also often affect the flights of Iberia Airlines, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum.

    Paris airport strike

    At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport there were multiple strikes recently: an air traffic controllers strike, national public sector strike, Air France staff strikes at all Paris airports, civil servant strikes and aviation sector strikes.

    London Heathrow strike

    London Heathrow Airport announced there are planned strike actions – baggage handlers strike, security guards strike and ground staff strike. However, these strikes were suspended in order to allow for further discussions between airport management and union officials.

    Frankfurt airport strike

    Hundreds of flights going in and out of Frankfurt Airport were cancelled recently due to flight strike. Airport security workers and ground staff demanded higher salaries and an equal pay between the Eastern and Western part of Germany.

    Latest travel news regarding flight strike

    Below you will find information on where to search for strikes on the days when you are travelling and advice for what you can do in such cases.

    Strike check

    When you travel, it is necessary to stay informed. It is therefore recommended to check the airline’s website or social media for any updates regarding upcoming strikes. If you would like to stay on the safe side, it is also advisable to check the airport’s page and social media channels as well, although airport strikes are not as common as airline strikes. Airlines and airports typically update their websites and social media accounts with the latest news regarding strikes, delays and cancellations. Good to know: If your flight was cancelled or delayed due to flight strike, you can check if you have an eligible claim for compensation based on the EU Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004. You can check your claim with us now!

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