You want to go on vacation and the airline goes on strike? Damn annoying! What rights you have and what you can do now, you read in an overview.
How disappointing! You want to go on a vacation that you have been looking forward to for a long time – and then the airline, or its pilot or flight attendant, is on strike. Also stupid: You are stuck at the resort, because the plane remains on the ground. Strikes are an important right, but for us travelers, it feels like a moderate disaster. What has to be done now?
Airline strike: your rights in one sentence
If you do not leave because of a strike, the airline has to provide you with food , communication facilities , a replacement transport and – if necessary – also accommodation .
Airline strike: Your rights in detail
The airline is obliged in case of strike to offer a replacement transport to affected passengers. Passengers can rebook or cancel their flight free of charge to use another means of transport.
For shorter distances, it may be worthwhile to change to the train . Passengers should seek approval from the airline before purchasing the ticket to make sure it covers the costs. In any case, keep all supporting documents for later submission to the airline for reimbursement.
- At the airport
If your flight is canceled due to a strike, the airline has to take care of your well-being at the airport . The airline must provide food and drinks free of charge and give you the opportunity to make phone calls or send e-mails or faxes.
– For short-haul flights up to 1500 kilometers: from 2 hours waiting time
– For medium-haul flights up to 3000 kilometers: from 3 hours waiting time
– For long-haul flights from 3000 kilometers: from 4 hours waiting time
If you can not leave the same day, the airline must provide you with accommodation and arrange for transfer to the hotel.
If the airline does not provide these services (which unfortunately can happen), you must first bear the costs yourself. But then keep the evidence necessarily to bring you back the money later from the airline.
Am I entitled to compensation for all the trouble?
No, not really. However, this seems to be slowly changing: more and more often courts decide in favor of the passengers. Especially when a strike has been massively provoked by employers and accepted with approval.
What to do if I hear about the strike?
First contact the airline or the organizer where you have booked. Important: Despite the strike, be sure to be at the airport's original departure time, as it may happen that the airline offers a replacement flight at short notice - and you would otherwise miss it.
For reference: All rights have been defined in EU Regulation 261/2004 .