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Archive for May, 2010

BA strike set to go ahead after Appeal Court backs Unite trade union

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

British Airways passengers face 15 days of chaos after the Appeal Court upheld the Unite’s right to hold a cabin crew strike. It overturned a ruling by the High Court on Monday which had granted the airline an injunction blocking a wave of back-to-back strikes. This decision has paved the way for the first of three five-day stoppages to take place at Heathrow next Monday, unless BA and Unite reach an agreement. Even though BA says its contingency plans will enable it to carry more than 70 per cent of its passengers, the strikes will still hit families planning half-term holidays and potentially football fans making their way to South Africa for the start of the World Cup.

Unite had originally planned to hold four five-day strikes until June 9 but has ruled out the first tranche of that stoppage, which had been scheduled to run from May 18 to May 22. The remaining walkouts are planned for May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9. The last strike is set to end days before the start of the World Cup in South Africa. BA have stated that they will run a full programme at Gatwick and London City. At Heathrow, they will operate more than 60 per cent of our long haul operation and more than 50 per cent of short haul.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Five day strikes for British Airways

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

British Airways cabin crew are to stage a series of five-day strikes in their bitter row over jobs, pay and conditions, threatening travel chaos in the run-up to the summer holidays. What does this mean to you?

Which flights are likely to be affected?

Cabin crew have announced that they plan to walk out on May 18-22, May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9 (all dates are inclusive) which will cover the Spring Bank Holiday and school half-term holidays. The number of flights which have to be cancelled will depend on how the strike is organised and how many cabin crew take part. Previous experience suggests that British Airways will try to operate as many long-haul flights as possible and sacrifice shorter flights, which tend to be more frequent and easier to merge.

Can I cancel my flight before they do?

You could, but unless it is a flexible, or refundable ticket, then you will lose your money.

Am I entitled to a refund if BA cancels my flight?

Yes. 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 soonest available flight, or flights, to your final destination. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.

What are the other options?

BA has not announced what it will do yet, but it is likely that passengers on cancelled flights will, instead of accepting a refund, be able to rebook for a later date. It is also possible that BA will arrange for flights on other airlines.

What if I am stranded abroad, or at an airport in the UK as a result of the cancellation?

BA is liable to pay for: meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time; two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes; overnight hotel accommodation and transfers as necessary.

I have booked a package holiday and my flight has been cancelled, what do I do?

Speak to your tour operator. It is responsible to trying to make alternative arrangements, or cancelling, refunding or rebooking your holiday.
I have booked other arrangements, such as accommodation or car hire or hotels, and I now won’t be able to use them.

Can I claim compensation for this?

BA isn’t responsible for this sort of “consequential loss”. If the car hire company or the hotel won’t refund your deposit, and you can’t find another way of travelling to your destination, you will lose out, unless you can claim through your travel insurance.

What about travel insurance?

This is complicated and, as always with insurance, depends on the individual circumstances and the policy you have bought. Generally, you can claim abandonment of your holiday and the consequential loss, if you can prove that you have been delayed by 12 hours or more. But your insurer will need a letter from the airline confirming that the cancellation involves such a delay, and it is likely only to consider cancellations which have been made at short notice. And obviously, it will only apply if you bought the insurance (and the travel arrangements) before you knew about the strikes.

Am I entitled to compensation as well as a refund if my flight is cancelled?

EU regulations suggest that you should be entitled to compensation if you flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure (or delayed). However, according to the Air Transport Users Council (AUC), a provision in the regulation which excludes “strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier” has been used by airlines to avoid paying compensation. It is untested in law, but your chances look slim.

Where can I get more help and advice?

For full details of your air travel rights, and its telephone advice line, see the AUC website (www.auc.org.uk).

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.