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Air passenger rights in the event of a strike

Air passengers affected by a strike are in general not entitled to compensation. But in accordance with the EU Regulation, they are entitled to food and refreshments as well as alternative transport as soon as possible.

empty airport because of a strike

Is my flight affected by the strike?

To find out, all you need to do is consult your airline’s website. Many large airlines provide their passengers with very detailed information on all flight cancellations connected with the strike on their websites. The website will also provide you with helpful hotline numbers and information on how to change or cancel your booking. In order to make sure you have evidence later on, the best thing to do is to print out the data on your cancelled flight that is shown on the Internet. Passengers booked on package holidays should contact their tour operator directly to find out whether their flight will be cancelled or postponed due to the strike.

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

  • Your flight does not fall within the immediate strike period
  • Your flight was operated no more than 6 years ago
  • You checked in for your flight on time
  • Your flight took off within the EU or landed in the EU. In the latter case, the airline must be headquartered in the EU

What do I need to do?

  • Enter your flight information into our compensation calculator to find out right away whether you are entitled to compensation
  • As air passenger rights experts, we will get you the compensation you deserve. We have already won €150 million for our customers to date.

How do I find an alternative flight?

The airlines are obliged to inform you about a flight cancellation as soon as possible and find you an acceptable alternative flight.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 cancel it completely.You can do this online, for example via the airline’s booking page.

Taking the bus or the train instead of flying

If it is a domestic flight that has been cancelled, it might be worthwhile taking a train or bus instead.Simply arrange for your flight ticket to be changed to a train or bus ticket.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 cough up the difference. Make sure that you keep your flight ticket invoice. To be on the safe side, get the airline to convert your flight ticket into a train ticket before you set off.

Can I book a rental car?

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

train ticket or car rental as an alternative means of transportation in case of a cancelled flight

Is compensation paid for strikes?

According to the Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC no. 261/2004), which applies across Europe, passengers are entitled to compensation of up to €600 if flights are cancelled, overbooked or heavily delayed. However this does not apply to "extraordinary circumstances" such as a strike. Airlines are generally under no obligation to pay compensation for strikes. The airlines are under no obligation to pay compensation for strikes, whether the strikers were airport ground staff, or airline staff.

Compensation is paid in the following exceptional cases

If your flight does not fall within the immediate strike period but is cancelled due to the impact of the strike, you should check your entitlement to compensation.An 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, case ref.:C-22/11).

How do I get my money?

It is often difficult to find out whether you are entitled to compensation if your flight is cancelled or delayed due to a strike. At Flightright, we can use our experience and the data available to us, which is based on a large number of flight databases, to accurately assess whether you are entitled to compensation for your cancelled or delayed flight. Make the most of our expertise.

Why do I need Flightright?

Many airlines dispute your right to compensation. They tend to make obscure declarations that deliberately use legal terminology and that are virtually impossible for normal passengers to refute or disprove. Or sometimes, they simply ignore passengers’ emails and telephone calls completely. After all, they think the passengers will give up at some point...

Flightright fights for your rights. We know the excuses that the airlines use and we know how to respond to them. We have been the EU market leader for air passenger rights since 2010 and use our knowledge, legal expertise and perseverance to get air travellers what they are entitled to.

Food and refreshments in case of a strike at the airport

You are also entitled to food and refreshments

If your flight is delayed due to the strike and you are stuck at the airport, you are entitled to food and refreshments in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004:

Flight status Flight distance What you are entitled to
For waiting times of 2 hours or more Flights of up to 1500 km Free drinks, meals and two telephone calls, e-mails or fax messages
For waiting times of 3 hours or more Flights 1500 - 3500 km Free drinks, meals and two telephone calls, e-mails or fax messages
For waiting times of 4 hours or more Flights of 3500 km or more Free drinks, meals and two telephone calls, e-mails or fax messages
For waiting times of 5 hours or more All flights You can withdraw from the contract of carriage and have the airline refund you for the price of your flight.
Flight delayed until the next day All flights Overnight accommodation in a hotel, including transfers

Do I need to turn up at the airport on time 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. If the airline offers you an alternative flight on short notice and you miss it, then you lose your entitlement to compensation. 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.

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