Fear of summer holiday chaos at European airports

Every third flight in Europe is at risk of being affected by a strike announced by European air traffic controllers. This not only increases the risk of luggage being delayed, damaged or lost, but also the possibility of flight delays and cancellations.

Following a breakdown in negotiations over staffing, duty schedules and pay, Eurocontrol , the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, have warned that strikes may occur across Europe in the busiest air travel period during summer.

Already strikes have been announced among air traffic controllers in France and among Ryanair pilots in Belgium.

The consequences of the many strikes in Europe are already showing. So far this year, there has been a 25 percent increase in delayed baggage, and a nearly 45 percent increase in travel delays.

Travel insurance does not cover delays and cancellations due to strikes.

This means that flight and also hotel stays, which cannot be used as a result of the strike, are not covered by the insurance.

However, as a passenger, you always have the right to be transported to your final destination as quickly as possible and at no cost.

The airline must arrange new tickets for you, when there are discrepancies. If they don’t, you can book new tickets yourself, which the airline can subsequently cover.

Your rights – compensation, refund, rebooking or a new flight

If there is a risk that your flight will be cancelled, you should not cancel it yourself, as you will then lose your claim to compensation.

We recommend that you wait until your flight is cancelled. Then you retain your rights.

Strikes among the airport staffs, e.g. among air traffic controllers, is a third party strike, and therefore considered an extraordinary circumstance . Unfortunately, a third party strike does not entitle you to compensation.

According to the European Court of Justice passengers are only entitled to compensation for flight delays and cancellations caused by strikes among the airline’s own employees. This means that the airline is obliged to pay compensation to the passengers, assuming the strike is among the airline’s own flight staff.

The amount you can claim in compensation depends on the total distance of your flight and the length of the delay at your destination – not on departure.

If a delay causes you to miss another flight, the airline is obliged to compensate with new tickets, so that you get to your destination as soon as possible.

In the peak summer season it can be a challenge to find an available seat for the most popular summer destinations, which can result in some waiting time.

In that case, you are entitled to food and drink, while you wait, as well as hotel and airport transportation, if you have to wait overnight.

If your flight is delayed for more than five hours or canceled as a result of the strike, you have the following options:

  • Refund
  • Rebooking with another airline as soon as possible
  • A new flight, i.e. rebooking to another date

If you still want to fly, you can request a ticket for another flight as soon as possible or at a later date.

The flight ticket must be of the same quality as your original flight ticket – if you fly in business class, you are entitled to a ticket of the same standard.

If, on the other hand, you choose to get your money back for the flight, you should receive the money within seven working days.

Be aware that a strike can quickly be called off. If you have not been notified that your flight has been cancelled, you must arrive at the airport as normal.

If the trip was purchased with a credit card, the card company can also be contacted and help you further in the process.

Does travel insurance cover?

If your flight or another means of transportation, e.g. train, is delayed by 1.5 hours or more, extra costs for accommodation and transport, among other things, are covered.

Some travel insurances also cover car rental in the event of delays that prevent you from picking up the car at the agreed time.

The same applies to hotel stays in the event of delays resulting in you arriving at your destination at least eight hours later than planned.

If the luggage is delayed or does not arrive due to staff shortages or other reasons, the travel insurance covers the purchase or rental of necessary clothing and equipment.

Search the airline’s arrival service and ask for a Property Irregularity Report (PIR-rapport). A PIR-rapport is your documentation that your luggage has been lost. Note your PIR reference number as it will show the status of your request and the actions taken by the airline.

The maximum compensation amount in event of delayed, damaged or lost luggage is 1.300 euro per person – regardless of private travel insurance. Remember that purchases must be documented, so keep all receipts.

Read more about EC Regulation 261/2004 in this article.

Asta has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 467 €

Cecilie has flown with EasyJet and has received: 388 €

Bent has flown with KLM and has received: 623 €

Tommy has flown with EasyJet and has received: 623 €

Thea has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Ida has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Lars has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Leif has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 1.246 €

Henrik has flown with Ryanair and has received: 958 €

Jákup has flown with British Airways and has received: 388 €

Jan has flown with Scandinavian Airlines System and has received: 623 €

Eva has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 582 €

Anna Sofie has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 194 €

Maja has flown with KLM and has received: 623 €

Linda has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 623 €