Passengers due to travel to Italy or France for the Bank Holiday weekend could have their holiday plans turned upside down as airport strikes commence. Staff working for both Italian and French airlines have threatened a series of strikes over the next month, with employees of Alitalia and Air Italy striking from 12pm local time today.

Air traffic control and public servants are also expected to walk out during the strike.

At this moment in time passengers travelling to and from Italy have not been made aware of any flight cancellations but delays and disruption can be expected.

The French strikes are expected to take place from the 8th to the 10th May 2019 and come as part of a disagreement over plans to change public service working conditions. Similar to the strikes in Italy, passengers due to travel to and from France will not know if their flight is affected until the last minute.

In the event that flights are delayed or cancelled, passengers may be entitled to claim compensation from the airline. Generally speaking, compensation is not offered if the airline defines the reason for delays or cancellations as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ i.e. a strike that is not caused by the airline (airport staff, air traffic control, etc.). However, as airline staff are participating in the strike compensation should be available.

Under EU Regulations passengers that are delayed and were due to fly with an EU airline may be entitled to up to 600 Euros in compensation. Airlines also have a duty of care to passengers and should provide food and drink vouchers if the delay is over 2 hours or the flight is cancelled. If the delay or cancellation results in the passenger having to wait overnight than accommodation – and transport to and from the airport – must be provided.

Passengers should also check their travel insurance policy as most insurers will pay compensation for flight delays, providing the passenger has checked-in on time and the delay wasn’t announced beforehand. The amount of compensation available will differ between insurers but generally speaking, passengers can claim £10 for each 12-hour period they are delayed, up to a maximum of £150. However, there are some companies that will offer up to £50 for each 6-hour period of delay up to a maximum of £300, perhaps something to look out for next time you are buying a travel insurance policy.

Most travel insurers will also offer ‘Travel Abandonment’ cover. If the flight is delayed for more than 24-hours and passengers no longer wish to travel, they will be able to claim for cancellation of their holiday.