Strike at the airport. Canceled flight – now what? The expert explains

  • Despite rampant inflation in the countries of the Old Continent, Europeans are eager to go on holiday this season. Many decide to travel abroad and base their trip on a plane flight
  • Many travel insurance policies exclude payment of insurance in the event of cancellation or flight delays due to strikes
  • Airlines offer a voucher up to 120% as compensation. ticket value to be used for onward flights. This situation makes it impossible to make further claims, which can be very unprofitable for many customers
  • More important information can be found on the Onet homepage

The Polish representation of U18 athletes at the European Championships spent the night at Warsaw airport just before the trip. Bad weather conditions were the main reason for the flight delay for the athletes to reach Tel Aviv. However, the situation was also affected by the poor state of the aviation industry – mainly due to overload.

There has been no shortage of similar situations across Europe lately, including heavily delayed or canceled flights. As reported by, it was canceled in a quarter (April-June) in fact, twice as many flights on the old continent as in the US, and only in June there were almost 7,900 flights from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The expert explains what is going on in the industry and what disappointed passengers can do in such a situation.

“Why isn’t this plane taking off – what’s going on?”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for carriers. At least 30 airlines closed their operations in 2020 alone. Everyone else cut jobs or introduced pay cuts due to the easing of air traffic. Many of the laid-off workers have found employment elsewhere or retrained, which is now taking its toll – not just on airlines or airport authorities – but especially on passengers.

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More or less since May of this year, air traffic has increased significantly. This is the result of the start of the holiday season, which especially tourists all over Europe look forward to. This is the first holiday period in two years in which restrictions related to the pandemic have been significantly lifted. So it’s no surprise that we travel so busy, says Marcin Maciejewski, president of DalayFix, a Polish law firm that specializes in airline compensation for delayed or canceled flights.

– Unfortunately, travelers can experience major problems at airports across Europe. This is the aftermath of the reduction in airport and ground handling activities during the pandemic. Many carriers failed to fill staff shortages or restore regular wages, sparking a wave of strikes. Our information also shows that one of the Hungarian airlines has been recruiting for many months, while no candidate has appeared in the last two recruitments. This situation causes paralysis of air traffic. At the moment there are also problems caused by weather conditions, for example in Luton, where the runway has melted from the heat, he adds.

Strikes at European airports

Until recently, Poles were concerned with reports of protests from Polish air traffic controllers. The situation was difficult as they called for pay increases and, among other things, the reinstatement of appropriate security procedures, which were relaxed during the pandemic due to limited air traffic. Poland was threatened with a complete stop of land traffic, but the situation was brought under control.

However, there were numerous protests and strikes among the airlines, including: Ryanair, Wizz Air or easyJet. The daily Bild also reported that Lufthansa planned to cancel 2,200 flights in July and August. In July alone, German airlines removed 900 domestic and intracontinental flights from Frankfurt and Munich. In addition, the CEO of these airlines announced that: this situation will most likely persist until the end of 2022. The cancellation of some connections is intended to reduce the “bottleneck” and standardize flight schedules.

– Passengers face significant difficulties due to numerous flight cancellations, often long delays or very lengthy checks, resulting from significant staff shortages and airport congestion. Such challenges not only face smaller, but also larger airports, e.g. Schiphol in Amsterdam, Heathrow in London or Charles de Gaulle in Paris. Danes, Spaniards, Portuguese, Belgians, Italians, Swedes and Norwegians also have problems with traffic flow – summarizes Marcin Maciejewski, DelayFix.

Travelers left in the ice?

The solution that Poles eagerly opted for when traveling during the pandemic was travel insurance in the event of trip cancellation. Mondial Assistance summarized 2021 and reported a record turnover of this type of policy – about 75 thousand sold. contracts for the protection of approximately 225 thousand tourists. So, estimating that 2022 will bring even more interest in such insurance, especially because, as indicated in the Accor Northern Europe report, this year as much as 53 percent. Poles want to travel more than before the pandemic.

– What is worth highlighting, insurance on discharge from the trip is a great solution in a situation where a tourist gets sick at the last minute or some other unpredictable event occurs that prevents the trip. However, after analyzing the dozens of travel insurance offers available in the multi agency, I can say that: most insurers exclude strikes by airport or airline personnel in the terms and conditions of such insurance, which means that any claims for a canceled flight can only be recovered from the carrier. I would recommend that you check if there is such a provision in our policy, if we are planning a trip in the near future – explains Izabela Szymańska, CUK Ubezpieczenia expert.

– If our insurance does not cover situations where a flight is postponed or canceled due to a strike by airport or airline personnel, then we must always request payment of the value of tickets purchased. In addition, if you have a flight cancellation we have not been informed 14 days before departure, we can also claim compensation for damage suffered – adds the chairman of DelayFix.

Chance of compensation for canceled flight

The scale of the difficulties across Europe is so great that carriers can no longer calm the situation. In official announcements they warn passengers about the inconveniences, inform them about the payment of the value of tickets in the form of vouchers and they call on, among other things, o limit yourself to only carrying hand luggage, due to the increased risk of missing out of suitcases.

As the expert emphasizes – airlines are pushing hard to accept compensation for the canceled flight in the form of a voucher equivalent to 120 percent. ticket value – to be used for subsequent flights. This situation leads to the waiver of further claims by the customer against the carrier. From the perspective of the injured party, this is often an unprofitable situation, which is why the expert proposes not to accept this form of compensation.

– Such advice and actions are not enough. Our experience shows that for many victims timely vouchers are not an adequate form of compensation for costs incurred.because due to their obligations they cannot find time for the next vacation in the near future, so the vouchers are lost. Often, travel also involves additional – travel-related costs – incl. hotel for animals, which is not included in such a voucher. In addition, often Passengers do not know that they can request cashback and possible compensation. In such situations, I would recommend taking the support of attorneys who specialize in pursuing such claims – summarizes Marcin Maciejewski, president of DelayFix.

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