Can You Claim Compensation for Delayed Flights Due to Strike?

Strike action regularly causes disruption to flight schedules. Whether your flight has been cancelled due to strike or you are simply curious to learn more about your rights, here are the key things to keep in mind:

  • Replacement transport: the airline is obliged to arrange alternative transportation to your intended destination
  • Right to care: if you have a long wait at the airport, the airline must provide you with refreshments proportional to the waiting time as well as two free phone-calls/texts and, where applicable, overnight accommodation
  • Ticket refund: flight delayed 5 hours or more? You can cancel your flight and claim back the ticket price
  • Compensation: if the airline staff go on strike (as opposed – for example – to a national strike) passengers may be entitled to €250 – €600 per passenger
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When am I entitled to flight compensation due to strike?

  • Your flight does not fall within the official strike period
  • Your flight disruption occurred within the last 6 years
  • You checked in for your flight on time
  • Your flight departed from the EU with any airline or landed in the EU with an EU air carrier
  • You did not arrive at your final destination or you arrived with a delay of 3 or more hours

What do I need to do in the event of a strike?

  • Ask the airline to provide a written statement confirming the cause of the delay
  • Collect evidence: flight vouchers, replacement boarding cards, receipts, etc.
  • Request complimentary food and drinks at the airport
  • Use our free compensation calculator to find out if you are also eligible for compensation

What Are My Rights If My Flight Is Cancelled Due to Strike

Under the EU Regulation Nr. 261/2004, also known as the “Air Passengers’ Rights Regulation”, air passengers are entitled to between €250 to €600 compensation for flight cancellations, long delays or cases of denied boarding when the airline is at fault.

In 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that, in cases of strike, air passengers are entitled to flight delay compensation when an internal strike occurs within an airline (e.g. a pilot strike) and the airline could have taken measures to prevent the strike but failed to do so. Prior to this court decision, strikes were considered an “extraordinary circumstance” and airlines were not obliged to compensate air passengers.

With their cost-cutting policies, airlines are prone to triggering internal disputes. Many passengers whose flights have been cancelled as a result of striking airport staff are entitled to compensation. Despite the European Court of Justice’s court decision, airlines frequently attempt to reject these compensation claims by attributing the cause of the flight disruption to “extraordinary circumstances”.

Even when the airline is not directly responsible for the strike, air passengers may still be entitled to compensation. If your flight does not fall within the official strike dates but is rather cancelled due to the knock-on effect of the strike, you should check your entitlement to compensation. Even flights cancelled just one day before the official strike start date are usually claimable.

Strike cases where passengers are not entitled to compensation include national strikes and air traffic control strikes, i.e. strikes external to the airline, when the flight in question falls within the official dates of the strike.

How Much Compensation Can I Get for My Strike Case?

In cases of delay, cancellation or denied boarding caused by strike action, the EU Regulation Nr. 261/2004 states that each passenger is entitled to compensation as follows:

  • All short-haul flights – 1,500 km or less: 250 EUR 
  • Internal EU flights (medium and long-haul) – over 1,500 km: 400 EUR 
  • Non-internal EU flights (medium and long-haul) – between 1,500 – 3,500 km: 400 EUR 
  • Non-internal EU flights (long-haul) – over 3,500 km: 600 EUR

The amount of compensation that air passengers are entitled to is determined by the length of the flight.

Compensation for flight cancellation: You are entitled to

Short distance up to 1500 kmMedium distance up to 3500 kmLong distance from 3500 km
e.g. London – Edinburghe.g. London – Athense.g. London – Tokyo
250€400€600€

How Do I Get My Strike Compensation?

Airlines do not make it easy for passengers to get their compensation in the event of a strike, but we do. Flightright enforces your claim for you, even going to court on your behalf. We work on a “no win – no fee” basis so there is zero cost risk. Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Check Your Claim: Flightright uses flight databases, similar case constellations and legal expertise to determine whether or not you can claim compensation. Our compensation calculator provides a free estimation in just 2 minutes.
  2. Claim Compensation: As soon as you commission Flightright, we take over the correspondence with the airline. If the airline does not cooperate, we even represent you in court. We bear the full financial risk associated with legal action so you can sit back and relax. You will be kept up-to-date via email and via our online Flightright Portal.
  3. Receive Your Money: If we successfully enforce your claim, we will ask for your bank account details and transfer the strike compensation (minus our success fee + VAT) directly to your account.

Not sure you have a claim? Our specially developed compensation calculator analyses thousands of flight paths, weather data and other relevant information in order to determine whether or not you are eligible to claim strike compensation.

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When Am I Not Entitled to Compensation?

Air passengers are not entitled to compensation when there is nothing that the airline could have done to prevent the strike from occurring. Labour disputes which may affect aviation, for example air traffic control or national labour strikes, are not the fault of any particular airline and airlines are not, therefore, obliged to compensate air passengers in such cases.

Even when passengers are not entitled to compensation, the following paragraphs contain information on rights that passengers should nevertheless insist on.

Can I Look for the Replacement Flight Myself?

If your flight has been cancelled, the airline should inform you as soon as possible and find a suitable replacement flight. Since airlines have specific partnerships with other airlines, they will generally attempt to book you onto one of their partner airlines’ flights. If your flight is cancelled due to a strike, however, you can rebook yourself onto a flight with your original airline or even cancel your booking completely. The easiest and most convenient way to do this is online, via the airline’s booking page.

For cancelled domestic flights, you have the possibility of converting your flight ticket into a train ticket. This can be done free of charge at the airline’s ticket counter or even online via the airline’s booking page. But watch out! If you go ahead and buy a train ticket on your own initiative, it could be more expensive than your original flight and you could get landed with the difference. Make sure you keep hold of any receipts so that you can submit these to the airline later.

I Have a Long Wait at the Airport. What Are My Rights?

Should you be unlucky enough to get stuck waiting at the airport for an extended period of time, you must insist on your “right to care”. These rights vary in relation to the waiting period. Here is a concise overview:

  • Short-haul flights (up to 1,500 km): after 2 hours of waiting time you should receive free refreshments as well as 2 free phone calls, text messages, emails or faxes.
  • Medium-haul flights (1,500 to 3,500 km): after 3 hours of waiting time you should receive free refreshments as well as 2 free phone calls, text messages, emails or faxes.
  • Long haul flights (over 3,500 km): after 4 hours of waiting time you should receive free refreshments as well as 2 free phone calls, text messages, emails or faxes.

If your flight is cancelled due to strike and a replacement cannot be found until the following day, the EU Regulation Nr. 261/2004 also states that the airline must provide you with overnight accommodation as well as transportation to and from the airport.

When Am I Entitled to a Ticket Refund?

If your flight is cancelled, you should receive a replacement flight or your money back. If your flight is delayed by more than 5 hours, you can cancel the flight yourself and your ticket will be fully refunded. 

Don’t forget that ticket refunds and flight compensation are two separate things: enter your flight details into our free online claimcheck and find out if you are also eligible to receive flight compensation due to strike.

Checklist: When are you not entitled to compensation in case of strike?

  • If your flight did fall within the immediate strike period
  • You land at your destination less than 3 hours late
  • You did not check in on time
  • Your flight was operated more than 6 years ago
  • The flight took place outside the EU
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Has your flight been cancelled due to a strike?

If a flight is cancelled because the airline personnel is on strike, passengers are entitled to compensation. Flightright is committed to ensuring that you receive your money in such a case.

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