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Archive for March, 2010

British Airways face seven days of strikes

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As expected, the union representing British Airways cabin crew has declared its members will go on strike for three days from 20 March and for four days from 27 March. Although confirming, it would not strike over Easter, the union has warned there could be further action after 14 April if a resolution had not been agreed. The union will also ballot its members on a new offer from BA but said it could not recommend it.

The airline has already made extensive contingency plans in case of strike action and has announced it would do everything it could to operate as many flights as possible during any disruption. It has already trained 1,000 staff to work as cabin crew to cover for any striking workers. It is also looking to charter aircraft which come with their own crew in order to operate as many flights as possible. British Airways are advising that London City Airport would not be affected, while 70% of flights from Gatwick, including all long-haul flights, should be operational. At BA’s most important hub, Heathrow, the airline should be able to offer some long and short-haul services.

The big question is, are you entitled to a refund if BA cancels your flight? The short answer is Yes, as EU regulations require that the airline offers you either a full refund of the unused parts of your tickets (to be paid within seven days) or the earliest available flight, or flights, to your final destination. If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund. If you are stranded abroad or at an airport in the UK as a result of the cancellation, then BA is liable to pay for meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time and overnight hotel accommodation and transfers as necessary.

And what about about travel insurance? Travellers are strongly urged to check that their travel insurance policies provide adequate cover for missed departure, travel delay and abandonment. Under the delay section of a policy, most insurers will give some benefit for periods of delay faced at the airport. Do check your individual travel insurance documents as some of the cheaper basic policies do exclude this protection. Also look out for holiday abandonment which, after a set period of delay at your departure airport, offers you the option of not continuing your trip and being reimbursed for your costs up to a specified limit.

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