Does Travel Insurance Cover Strikes

Airline strikes and airport worker strikes are causing travel chaos in Europe this summer.

Passengers might struggle to claim refunds for replacement flights, accommodations, and meals due to cancellations and delays.

Airlines are usually responsible for completing your journey as planned.

If a strike cancels your flight, the airline should put you on the next available service.

Does travel insurance cover strikes
Does travel insurance cover strikes: Photo (Forbes)

If no same-day flight is available, UK regulations let you book with another carrier and claim its cost from your original airline.

To cover all strike scenarios, travelers could consider insurance that safeguards against strikes by airport or airline staff.

One in four policies lacks this coverage, per consumer advocate Which?, which found significant differences in coverage among insurance providers.

What were the findings of the research?

Just six in 10 (120) of 199 policies Which? looked at offered cover if travellers have to cancel a trip due to strikes. Four in 10 policies (78) did not provide cover for cancellation due to strikes, while for one policy it was an optional extra.

When and where are strikes taking place?

EasyJet and British Airways, among other airlines, are canceling numerous flights this summer, unrelated to strikes by airport or airline employees.

In June, easyJet scrapped 738 flights from UK airports, while British Airways canceled 419. A temporary relaxation of slot scheduling rules led British Airways to reduce summer services before a deadline requiring revised schedules submission to the Government.

Further summer disruptions are anticipated due to planned strikes affecting Ryanair, easyJet, and British Airways. Ryanair Spanish staff will strike on various dates in July at 10 Spanish airports.

EasyJet staff in Spain will also strike, with actions planned for July. Strikes at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, Malaga, and Palma de Mallorca are expected.

British Airways Heathrow check-in staff considered striking but discussions with the Unite union regarding pay might prevent industrial action.

Will I be offered a replacement flight if a strike disrupts my holiday?

Your airline has a duty to get you to your destination in almost every circumstance. If it is possible to get you to your destination on the same day as your original flight, then your airline must help you complete your journey on that day.

It might offer you a flight on an alternative day which you can choose to take if you wish, but you can also insist on flying that same day. This might require you to book a flight with another airline for which you can then claim back costs from your original airline.

What if my flight is part of a package break?

The airline must arrange alternative travel to your destination. Your package holiday provider should also help and find replacement flights if necessary.

In some cases, like with Tui holidays departing from Manchester Airport in May, the entire holiday might be canceled.

Legal entitlement to a refund applies to canceled package holidays.

I want to take out insurance that will cover disruption due to strikes – what should I look out for?

Note that getting insurance after a foreseeable strike announcement may not provide coverage.

When seeking coverage for specific situations like strikes, carefully review policy terms.

Check if travel disruption insurance covers flights, holidays, and other booked services like car rentals.

Coverage varies for planned, official, or last-minute strikes.

Flight canceled with over 14 days’ notice gets a refund; less than 14 days, the airline arranges an alternative flight and compensation.

Additional expenses aren’t airline’s responsibility; consider a policy covering such costs.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers said:

“Travel insurance mainly covers emergency medical expenses abroad, which can be substantial.

Verify if your travel insurance includes travel disruption coverage for situations like strikes, airport closures, not covered by other safeguards.

Initially, seek refunds from airlines, accommodations, or tour operators; credit card bookings might be refundable too.

If uncertain, consult your travel insurer for coverage details.”

What is the best way to book my holiday?

Booking your flights or package break with a credit card adds an extra layer of protection.

Your credit card provider is legally required to reimburse customers for any purchase over £100 if services provided are not as advertised and if they company responsible refuses to refund you.

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