Employees at Heathrow Airport have threatened to strike for 23 days, starting from Good Friday (2 April) until April 25 over an ongoing dispute that the airport has “fired and rehired” 4,000 employees. The accusation has been denied by Heathrow.
There are 41 strikes planned in total, involving several different departments, including engineering, airside operations, landside operations, fire service, security, and central terminal operations. Each sector is thought to be taking seven days of strike each, with at least one department on strike every day over the period.
While Heathrow has said that it does not expect the strikes to cause significant disruption, as a result of the current travel ban, the airport has put contingency plans in place.
So, while it is not anticipated that the strikes at Heathrow will be ongoing after the international travel ban is lifted from 17 May, more of these types of industrial strikes may happen over the busy summer period.
Therefore, it is important to know that if your pre-booked flight is delayed or cancelled as a result of strike action, your airline is responsible for re-booking you on another flight or offering you an alternative in the first instance.
Some travel insurance policies will also cover you for strike action if you are not offered alternative transport within a 12-hour or 24-hour period. However, the exact time the flight has to be delayed before you can claim for compensation, or cancel your trip entirely, will vary from insurer to insurer. Not all travel insurance policies offer this cover, so it’s worth checking the cover you do have carefully. If your policy does include this cover it is typically found under the “trip disruption” section or “abandonment” section.
It’s always worth looking out for what cover is available in these types of circumstances as some policies may also cover additional expenses incurred during the wait for the new flight, such as food, refreshments, and even accommodation. And if you’re not sure whether your existing policy includes this cover, there’s no harm in reaching out to your provider to double-check.