BA strike action - how to soften the blow

Caroline Cassidy

Talks between the cabin crew union Unite and British Airways bosses fell through and now the union plan to go ahead with their five days of strikes, which will start on Monday. But how can you prevent the strikes from affecting you?

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Firstly you should stay in touch with your tour operator or with British Airways as there is always the possibility that the strike may be called off. Check the airline's website for the most up-to-date information.

Think twice before rebooking your flights with another airline. Remember that an airline will not be obliged to refund your money if the strike is called off and they are able to operate services as planned.

The good news is that if a flight is cancelled due to strike action, airlines are required by EU regulations to offer you a refund or a reroute. And if you booked your flight as a package holiday, the tour operator will search for new flights. If they're unable to find any, the tour operator will have to refund the price package holiday.

If you're travelling at the time of the strikes and you find yourself stranded somewhere, the airline is obliged to put you up in a hotel and pay for your meals.

Make sure you contact your travel insurer to find out if you are covered for strike action. You won't be covered if you bought your insurance after the strikes were announced.

Generally passengers do have the right to claim compensation for cancelled flights, but unfortunately airlines have get-out clauses by saying that cancellations were due to extraordinary circumstances. And strikes happen to be one of those circumstances. Although, as this case has never been argued in court and you really wanted compensation, you could go to the small claims court.

Will you be affected by BA's strike action? Share your comments here.