Flight strike? Your right for compensation | Flightright

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Flight cancelled or delayed due to strike? Know your rights

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Flight cancelled or delayed due to strike
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Flight cancelled or delayed due to strike?

Strikes are a common cause for flight disruption, whether this be the personnel of an airport or an airline. Unfortunately, as strikes are deemed by EU regulation to be beyond the airlines’ control, passengers are unable to make compensatory claims in these cases. Food and refreshments will be made available at the airport for affected passengers, and the airline is expected to organise alternative transportation as soon as they can.

Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

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Key Points about “Flight cancelled or delayed due to strike”

  • Passengers may be entitled to compensation during strikes.
  • Strikes must not be considered extraordinary circumstances.
  • The airline is responsible for providing assistance during delays.
  • Compensation is only applicable to qualifying flights.
  • The airline must inform passengers of their rights during strikes.
  • Passengers have up to 3 years to file for compensation.
  • The compensation amount varies based on distance and the extent of the delay.

You had a flight delay or a flight cancellation? Check your rights now and increase your chances of compensation

When am I entitled to compensation in the event of a strike?

  • Your flight does not fall within the immediate strike period
  • Your flight disruption was in the last 6 years
  • You checked in for your flight on time
  • Your flight took off from the EU or landed in the EU. In the latter case, the airline’s headquarters must be in the EU
  • You arrived at least 3 hours later at your final destination
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What do I need to do in the event of a strike?

  • Get the airline to provide the cause of the delay or cancellation in writing
  • Collect evidence: such as receipts, photos, tickets and vouchers
  • Request the complimentary food and drinks at the airport
  • Make use of our free compensation calculator and find out if you’re eligible to compensation straight away

Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

Is it possible to get compensation for flight disruption caused by strikes?

As established by EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers can receive between €250 and €600 in cases of flight delays, cancellations or overbookings. The exception to the rule are flight disruptions caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’. In this case airlines are under no obligation to pay out compensation to customers. Strikes, whether they be carried out by the airport staff or the airline staff, fall under this category and as such passengers should not expect to have a valid claim.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, under which the airline may be held liable for damages caused by cancellations or, delays or denied boardings. In order for the European Regulation to apply, the flight must have taken off from a European airport, or it must have been operated by a European airline and landed in the European Union. These conditions apply regardless of the ticket price, and also apply to those travelling on business or on package holidays. Your claims are valid up to 6 years retrospectively.

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Are you affected by the Lufthansa strike? You may be entitled to up to €600 in compensation. Find more about the Lufthansa strike here.

There are some exceptions worth considering:

If your flight does not fall within the immediate strike period, but is cancelled due to the impact of the strike, it is worth checking your entitlement to compensation. For example: if all flights are taking off and landing on schedule again after the strike, but you are denied boarding, then there is a good chance that the airline will have given your seat to a passenger who was directly affected by the strike. This means that the airline would be denying you the right to board against your will, which could entitle you to compensation.

Flight cancellations before the first official day of a strike do not exempt the airlines from their obligation to pay compensation. The European Court of Justice explained that this would deny air passengers any form of right protection if an airline could invoke incidents that it itself had the power to resolve. (ECJ, judgment of 4 October 2012).

If the airline states that the disruption is caused by an extraordinary circumstance, this does not automatically exempt the airline from paying compensation. According to the ECJ ruling of 11 June 2020 (Case C-74/19), airlines must prove that they took all possible measures to re-route affected passengers at the earliest opportunity. The airline must demonstrate that it was not possible to rebook individual passengers onto a faster connection. In doing so, airlines must prove that they examined the possibility of rebooking passengers not only onto their own flights but also the flights of other airlines. This includes both direct and indirect connections. If an alternative means of transportation, such as bus, train or taxi, could get a passenger to their destination faster, this must also be taken into account.

Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

How much compensation can be claimed?

How much compensation can be claimed for flights delayed by more than 3 hours, cancellations or denied boarding,? The European Regulation allocates different amounts of compensation depending on the distance of the flight:

  • If the flight distance is up to less than 1500km, the value of the compensation is €250 for a delayed, or cancelled flight or overbooked flight.
  • If the flight distance is between 1500 km and 3500 km, the value of the compensation is €400 for a delayed, or cancelled or overbooked flight.
  • If the flight distance is greater than 3500 km, the value of compensation is €600 for a flight delay or cancellation or an overbooked flight.

Compensation for flight cancellation: You are entitled to

Short distance up to 1500 kmMedium distance up to 3500 kmLong distance from 3500 km
e.g. London – Edinburghe.g. London – Athense.g. London – Tokyo

Do I need to turn up at the airport in spite of the strike?

Yes, it is important for you to check in on time – at least if the strike will only be lasting for a short period. The airline offers you an alternative flight at short notice. If you are faced with a longer waiting period, always remain at the gate. If the strike lasts several days, you can ask the airline in advance when your alternative flight will be taking off. In such cases, you obviously don’t need to turn up at the airport on time for the flight you had originally planned. Passengers on package tours should contact their tour operator to find out whether their flight will be cancelled or postponed because of the strike.

Can I take alternative transportation?

The airlines have an obligation to inform you as quickly as possible about your flight cancellation and find you an alternative transportation. The airlines often try to use their subsidiaries to cover flight cancellations by moving passengers to flights operated by these airlines.

If your flight is cancelled due to a strike, however, you can also contact your airline yourself to change your booking free of charge or, if you wish, you can cancel it completely.

Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

Taking a train or bus and rental car as an alternative

If it is a domestic flight that has been cancelled, it might be worthwhile taking a train or bus instead. You can arrange for your flight ticket to be changed by the airline to allow you to travel on a train or a bus. You can do this free of charge at the airline’s ticket counter or online via the airline’s booking page. If you go ahead and buy your own train or bus ticket, you should be careful. If the trip turns out to be more expensive than the flight you had originally planned, you might end up having to make up the difference. Make sure that you keep your flight ticket invoice. The safest thing to do is to get the airline to convert your flight ticket into a train ticket before you set off.

The question as to whether the airline will reimburse you for the cost of a rental car is a matter of negotiation. If the airline promises to do so, make sure that it confirms the promise in writing.


How can I claim my compensation?

Figuring out whether you qualify for compensation can be tricky at the best of times. This difficulty only increases in cases of strike action. Moreover, many airlines do not inform their customers about their rights for compensation under European Regulation on Air Passenger Rights.

Additionally they might ignore complaints, are difficult to reach or might even refuse to pay by referring to extraordinary circumstances. All this to discourage passengers who want to exert their rights.

With Flightright at your side, you significantly improve your chances of receiving compensation. With our knowledge and expertise we’ll be far better equipped to establish the validity of your claim, and a far likelier to retrieve a payout from the airline. Our claim check calculator is the first step towards attaining the compensation you’re owed. Enter your details below to find out how much compensation you can get.

Additional entitlement to food, refreshments and other benefits

If you are in the airport, and you’ve experienced a lengthy delay due to strike action, you’ll qualify for some additional services and amenities at the airport. Below is listed your entitlements based on the length of the delay and the distance of your flight:

  • Short flight distances (up to 1500km): departure delayed 2 hours or more – complimentary drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes
  • Medium flight distances (between 1500 and 3500km): departure delayed 3 hours or more – complimentary drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes
  • Long flight distances (More than 3500km): departure delayed over 4 hours or more – complimentary drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes

When strikes cause delays of over 5 hours

If the strike action at the airport brings delays of at least 5 hours, you are legally entitled to withdraw from your flight. In this event you would also be due a refund from the airline, on the provision that you haven’t taken any alternative transportation offered by them.

When strikes postpone your flight till the following day

If strike action leads to the postponement of your flight until the following day, the airline has an obligation to see that you are accommodated in a hotel for the night. The cost of the transport to and from the hotel and airport is also theirs to bear.

Checklist: When are you not entitled to compensation in case of strike?

  • If your flight did fall within the immediate strike period
  • You land at your destination less than 3 hours late
  • You did not check in on time
  • Your flight was operated more than 6 years ago
  • The flight took place outside the EU
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Recent flight delays

Are you currently affected by a flight delay or cancellation and you are not sure whether a strike is the real cause? Find your delayed or cancelled flight in our table and check whether you are entitled to compensation.


Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

If a flight is cancelled because the airline personnel is on strike, passengers are entitled to compensation. Flightright is committed to ensuring that you receive your money in such a case.

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