Airline strike? You have rights!

Airline strikes that aim to improve working conditions or raise salaries for airline staff are extremely common these days. Strikes like these have an impact on travellers, companies and the airlines themselves. What you may not know is that, as a traveller, you have rights too!

Strikes everywhere

There has been wave after wave of strikes among air traffic controllers, ground staff and pilots. This has resulted in delayed or cancelled flights and stranded passengers. Airlines also experience the consequences of these strikes. Not only do they delay flights, they also damage their reputation and can lead to serious financial implications. Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac claims his company should have made 300 million euros in 2014. Instead, the strikes and other issues resulted in a loss of 228 million euros.

Travellers' rights

Companies and corporate travellers also experience problems as a result of airline strikes. Due to delays, travellers are late for meetings or miss them entirely. This has negative consequences for employers in terms of money and efficiency. What are your rights during a strike? Most people think they are not entitled to financial compensation. After all, a strike constitutes 'force majeure' or exceptional circumstances, which does not entitle you to compensation.

However, most strikes are announced in advance. When an airline is aware of a delay in advance, they cannot claim force majeure, which means you are entitled to compensation. The form this compensation takes can vary per airline.

Note: You are not entitled to compensation when air traffic controller strike. Force majeure does apply in this case, as they are not employed by the airline.

In the event of a strike, your travel management company will be there to advise you. They will try to limit the consequences of the delay and recommend a suitable solution. They can also assist you in obtaining compensation.

Marjet Derix
Marjet Derix
Conversation Manager
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