Posted on 25th March 2016 at 1:43pm
Air Traffic Control Strike – Know Your Rights!
Thousands of people have been affected by the French Air Traffic control strike, but not many people know what rights they have regarding compensation and paying for hotel bills while waiting for a flight home.
It does not help that airport staff in countries like Spain are not sure what your rights are, with many giving out wrong and incorrect information.
So, we decided to provide you with details of your rights if your flight has been cancelled as a result of the French air traffic control strike.
The following advice is for people who have been stranded abroad and waiting to get back home.
Can I receive a refund if my airline cancels my flight due to the French Air Traffic Control Strike?
Yes. When a flight has been cancelled under European Union regulations, the airline has to offer you a refund. However, the airline can also offer you another flight or set of flights to get you home. These flights will be the first available flights they can offer you.
It is advisable to take the second option and allow the airline to arrange another flight to get you home. When an air traffic control strike happens, flights will start to go up in price, which means you will be paying a lot more for your new flight. If you are in a rush to get home, then this could be an option for you, but please note, a flight home will be much more expensive.
Some airlines from Alicante were offering to take stranded passengers back to the UK by avoiding France and their airspace, but some of those flights were charged at over £3,000.
The sensible option would be to work with your airline and find a suitable flight home. This could be either a direct flight home or it could be a connecting flight, depending on how quick you would like to get home. In Spain, an option available was to send people to Dublin and then the next day to arrange a new flight to a local airport around the UK.
Will The Airline Pay Me Compensation For Being Delayed?
When an air traffic control strike happens, it’s not the fault of the airline. Therefore, under EU regulations, the airline is not required to pay out any compensation for loss of wages or distress for being delayed.
Will an airline pay for my hotel bills until the next available flight is available?
Under EU regulations, an airline is required to pay for the cost of a hotel until a replacement flight is available. It is important to keep all receipts related to any expenses that you have incurred. Some airlines will also pay for any food that was bought within reason and transport costs to and from the airport to the hotel.
What will happen if I have booked a package holiday?
If you have booked a package holiday with travel companies such as Thomson and Thomas Cook, the rep at the hotel will keep all guests informed of what is happening.
The holiday company will arrange for you to stay at the hotel or another similar hotel until a new flight is available to take you home.
Will I be covered by my travel insurance?
Most travel insurance companies will not provide cover for being stranded abroad due to an air traffic control strike. Please check your policy for details.
In recent years, airlines have become much better at dealing with air traffic control strikes and getting passengers home as soon as possible.
Once you arrive home, it is important to make a claim straight away and keep photocopies of all receipts and letters sent to the airline.
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