With the on-going threat of strike action, whether it be an airline strike, baggage handlers striking, or air traffic control strikes, it’s a good idea to understand exactly how travel insurance works, so in the unfortunate event that industrial action disrupts your holiday plans, you know exactly how you stand and what to do!
Cover limits and terms relating to strike action will vary from insurer to insurer but one thing’s for certain, unless you book your holiday and purchase cover before the strike dates are announced, you will find that insurers will not cover for circumstances that arise as a result, such as flight delays. So it makes sense to buy your travel insurance sooner rather than later, as you never quite know when a strike may happen!
Providing you have checked in for your flight and that your travel insurance policy includes cover for travel delay, you can look to claim for compensation once your flight has been delayed for a certain number of hours – normally 12, but this can vary. A typical fixed payout will be £20 for the first full 12 hours delayed and then £10 for each 12-hour period up to a total limit of £100 amount. The benefit limit can vary and the compensation amount will depend on the level of cover you have purchased, so do check your policy wording. Travel delay benefit will apply to both outbound and return journeys from/ to the UK.
If you incur a long flight delay due to strike action you may want to abandon the trip altogether. Usually, 12 - 24 hours is required before you can abandon your trip and claim for unused travel costs. It’s unlikely you will be able to claim for both delay and cancellation, so it’s worth checking your policy’s terms early to see how you stand before making any decisions. It’s also common policy to have checked in for your flight in order to prove your intent to travel, and you must get a letter from your airline carrier to confirm the reason for abandonment if you wish to submit a claim.
When an airline is forced to cancel a flight, it’s their duty to offer you a full refund or an alternative flight, and for this reason you will not be entitled to claim for cancellation against your travel insurance policy. However, you should be able to claim for other losses such as missed hotel stays and car hire reservations, but again, this will depend on the level of cover you have in place.
For further information regarding your rights under EU Law, please see this article ‘How to claim flight delay or cancellation compensation’