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Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?


It seems that no month goes by without news of another strike among cabin crew, ground crew or air traffic control affecting flights across Europe. This week it’s the turn of the pilots. Last week Air France announced a plan to move much of its operations in Europe to its cheaper subsidiary, Transavia, in order to save $1.3 billion. The news has sent the Air France pilots out, out, out on a week-long strike until the 22nd of September.


Some of the flights that currently operate out of France will now operate out of foreign countries. The pilots – and unions – are claiming that the airline is moving jobs outside of France in order to save money on labour costs and take advantage of cheaper taxes elsewhere.

It’s the same old story then: airline cuts costs to compete with the low-cost operators, upsets crew, leads to strike action.

It is expected that only around 40% of Air France Flights will depart today (Monday) with fewer as the week goes on.

But where does it leave us? What about the people who want to go places?

Where you stand with strikes, delays and cancelled flights.

Air France have urged passengers who are booked on flights between the 15th and 22nd of September to change or delay their travel plans. They say that customers can "delay their trip, change their ticket free of charge or claim a refund".

Easyjet has offered extra seats to stranded Air France passengers, which is something of a PR coup, but DON’T FORGET that 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. But that’s something you will have to discuss with the airline.

Can you claim compensation from the airline?

Unfortunately not. It’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 pilots, passengers are not entitled to any money.

Are you entitled to anything at all?

If you are delayed then your welfare is the responsibility of your airline until they have got you to your destination. You may not be able to claim compensation for your delay but you should be entitled to food and refreshments, or vouchers towards them, as well as accommodation if necessary.

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.

How will your World First travel insurance protect you?

Here at World First we believe in giving our passengers a fair deal. So, if you are delayed for 12 hours or more on your outbound journey, we will pay compensation in line with the benefits of your policy. That depends on which policy type you took out - and please don’t forget that you can only claim this if you are at the airport or have written confirmation of the delay from your airline or booking agents.

If you wish to cancel your trip after a delay of 24 hours, you can claim abandonment and will be compensated for all travel and accommodation costs that are irrecoverable, provided your trip is of more than 2 days duration and you cannot recover your costs from any other provider or agency.

If you are delayed by the strike and you are due to come home, you can claim the travel delay benefit for the first 12 hours and each subsequent 12 hours.

Change of plan? We'll change your cover too.

If you change your travel plans as a result of the delays, and move your flights to a different period, then give us a call if you have already bought single trip travel insurance and we will happily transfer the insurance too. If you have an annual policy then there is no need to get in touch as these cover multiple trips in the year (up to 31 or 62 days at a time depending on the policy purchased).

Need to talk to us?

If you have any questions about the strikes, your travel insurance and delayed departures, get in touch with us. We’ll do our best to give you all the help you need.

Call 0845 90 80 161 or email


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