Employee strikes, whether with airline or airport staff, are one of the main reasons why flights are cancelled or delayed. It doesn’t matter why the strike is taking place – whether a single airline pilot is standing up against the airline or the entire staff is dissatisfied, in all cases passengers are not entitled to compensation under Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004.
Regulation in the case of Strike
While many passengers may consider it unfair, there are reasons as to why flight cancellations or delays are not entitled to compensation in the case of a strike. As with many technical problems and weather-related incidents, an employee strike is considered to be an exceptional circumstance under Article 5, paragraph 3 of EU Regulation. This means that the problem arose due to circumstance outside of the airline’s control, even if all due care had been exercised.
Compensation when the airline is not at fault
Even though passengers are not entitled to compensation, the airline is still obligated to provide basic benefits and services to those who have been inconvenienced by the delay or cancellation. Depending on the length of the delay, these benefits include:
- Free phone calls or other means of communication
- Hotel accommodation, including transportation
In addition, passengers should be offered the choice between:
- Refund of the ticket price within seven days
- Return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity
- Alternative transportation, under comparable conditions at the earliest opportunity
- Alternative transportation, under comparable conditions, at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, if available.
It is also stated within the EU Regulation that the airline is responsible for transporting passengers to the originally planned airport (whether by taxi, train, car rental or plane). This only applies in the event that the replacement transportation lands at another airport within the same city.