The recent strike of Spainâ€™s air traffic controllers has left around 20,000 Brits stranded. Airport terminals across Spain are swollen with disgruntled travellers as the after effects of the weekend walkout continue to cause havoc for passengers attempting to get into and out of Spain. But what are your rights when airport staff go walkabout? Can you claim compensation? Does your travel insurance protect you?
Letâ€™s get to the bottom of it.
Can you claim compensation from the airline?
Unfortunately not. Itâ€™s important to remember that if an airline has no control over an event that causes delay, they will not pay compensation to passengers. So in the case of industrial action from air traffic control staff, passengers are not entitled to any money.
Can you still get to your destination?
In the event of cancelled flights, your airline still has to get you to your destination. Your tickets are a contract and the airline has to uphold their end of the bargain. That means that as soon as the strike is over, airlines will begin to process delayed passengers by booking them onto the first available flights. Unfortunately, that could mean lengthy delays for some passengers as they wait for seats to become available.
Alternative transport may also be used in the case of extreme delays. During the disruption in Spain, the British Transport Secretary Philip Hammond requested that provisions be made for British passengers to travel home by road if the strikes went into a third day.
What else are you entitled to?
During a delay your welfare is the responsibility of your airline until they have got you to your destination. So while you cannot claim compensation if you are delayed because of a strike, there are other things you are entitled to. For instance, your airline is legally obliged to provide you with food and refreshments, or vouchers towards them, as well as accommodation if necessary.
You can find out more about your rights in extraordinary circumstances on the Air Transport Users Council website.
What can you expect from your travel insurance?
Most travel insurance companies will offer some sort of protection against staff strikes and industrial disputes. But every policy is different. Itâ€™s always worth checking with your insurer and going through the small print in your policy.
What can you expect from World First?
At World First we believe in giving our customers a fairer deal. If on your outbound journey you are delayed for 12 hours or more, we will pay compensation in line with the benefits of your policy. If after a delay of 24 hours you wish to cancel your trip, you can claim abandonment and will be compensated for all travel and accommodation costs that are irrecoverable.
If you are delayed on the return trip, you can claim the travel delay benefit for the first 12 hours and each subsequent 12 hours.
Find out more about our travel insurance quotes.
If you have any questions regarding your travel insurance, get in touch with us and weâ€™ll do our best to give you all the help you need. Call 0845 90 80 161 or email email@example.com.