Monday 19 March 2018

British Airways staff to strike: What to do if your flight is affected

Travel tips & advice

A British Airways Airbus A320. Photo: Deposit
A British Airways Airbus A320. Photo: Deposit

Nick Trend

British Airways cabin crew will stage a 48-hour strike on January 10, threatening disruption to hundreds of flights.

A planned Christmas Day and Boxing Day walk-out was suspended on December 22 following lengthy talks, but a new pay offer from management has now been rejected by BA's 2,500 "mixed fleet" flight attendants.

The mixed fleet, paid less than regular staff, according to the Unite union, account for only 15 per cent of the airline's total cabin crew. While this should mitigate the impact of the strike, passengers may still face disruption.

Unite accused BA of attempting to "bully a workforce of young men and women who are trying to eke out a living on poverty pay."

It claims that average pay for mixed fleet staff is £16,000 a year; BA say they are all paid at least £21,000 after bonuses.

Am I entitled to a refund if my flight is cancelled?

Yes. European Union regulations require airlines to offer you either a full refund of the unused parts of your tickets, or to re-route you to your destination, as soon as possible. It may also allow you to rebook your flights for a later date at no extra cost.

Will I get compensation?

Airlines are not liable to pay the additional cash compensation set out by EU regulations because they are not directly responsible for the disruption.

What should I do if I am stranded abroad?

EU regulations make it clear that, when a flight with an EU airline or from an EU airport is cancelled, an airline is liable to pay for the cost of a hotel and subsistence for all those stranded as a result, until a replacement flight is provided.

Should your airline advise you to buy your own food and accommodation, keep all receipts, and keep such costs to a reasonable minimum, before making a claim when you get back to Britain.

What about package holidays?

Those passengers on package holidays who are stranded in a destination should be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is legally obliged to get them home. Customers will usually be allowed to stay in their original hotel, or will be moved to one of a similar standard on a half-board or all-inclusive basis. The exact situation will depend on the operator’s booking terms and conditions.

My flight is cancelled - can I cancel my accommodation?

If you have booked a hotel, a villa or other accommodation independently of your travel arrangements (i.e. not as part of a package holiday) your contract is directly with the hotel or villa and you are responsible for any cancellation.

If you can’t get there, you will have to do your best to persuade them to give you a refund or rebook for a later date – but they are not obliged to do this and you may lose money.

Am I covered by my travel insurance?

Your policy may pay out a small amount for very long delays (usually over 12 hours), but not usually enough to pay for more than a meal or two.

A few policies have cover for a “consequential loss”, such as a hotel booking made independently. You will need to check the terms and conditions which apply to your policy directly with your insurer.

Read more:

What happens if my flights are cancelled? Travel & Terrorism Q&A: What does my travel insurance cover?

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