Ongoing labor actions continue to wreak havoc in major European transit hubs and may upset travelers’ plans this summer.
Tens of thousands of flights and trains have been delayed or canceled in recent months as workers in European cities walked out over pay and working conditions disputes. France and Britain have been particularly hard hit, with prolonged strikes during peak holiday periods.
Partly due to labor actions, flight cancellations in Europe increased 65 percent in March compared to the previous month, and are expected to rise further as demand increases in the summer season, according to Cirium, an aviation analysis firm.
For travelers in the process of booking their summer trips, travel experts advise checking whether flight and hotel reservations coincide with planned work actions. London’s Heathrow Airport, where security staff members have been on strike for several days each month, maintains an up-to-date calendar of planned outages. In Britain, the national rail service has released forecast train strike dates through June.
In France, unions have been organizing regular protests across the country against a bill introduced by President Emmanuel Macron to raise the country’s retirement age by two years. Violent clashes have broken out between protesters and police, leading to the closure of some tourist attractions. Air traffic controllers and workers from SNCF, the country’s national rail operator, they have been withdrawn several times this year, and the action is expected to continue in the coming months as lawmakers discuss the pension bill.
In Italy, baggage handlers, pilots, and flight attendants have been on strike regularly over pay; A national strike is scheduled for June 4 that will affect buses, trams and metro lines. Train strikes across Germany have also caused widespread disruption.
The US Department of State encourages travelers to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive notices about labor actions and other events in international destinations.
Although the days of the planned strikes are known in advance, travel agents advise their clients to budget a few extra days in their itineraries in case they are affected by disruptions. Travelers should also familiarize themselves with their rights before embarking on their travels. Under European Union rules, travelers flying to, from or within the block are eligible for a refund or a replacement flight if their flight is canceled or delayed by more than three hours. Travelers delayed overnight may also be entitled to reimbursement for personal expenses such as food and lodging.
If a cancellation is reported less than 14 days before the scheduled departure date, passengers are entitled to compensation of up to $660. The same rules apply to travelers to Great Britain.
“If your flight is disrupted due to an airline strike, airlines may owe you compensation ranging from $250 to $600 to make up for the inconvenience,” said Tomasz Pawliszyn, chief executive of AirHelp, a flight claims management firm. based in Berlin.
The rules apply only when the workers taking measurements are employees of an airline, including pilots, cabin crew, airline engineers, or others who work directly for the airline. Strikes by other airport personnel, including air traffic control and security, are considered outside the control of the airline.