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Strikes and stoppages mean one thing – Travel delays ahead

A threatened BA pilots strike is still on the cards for this Easter with 86% of the carrier’s pilots voting in favour for some form of industrial action.  One can only hope that common sense will prevail but it is now a regular feature in our every day lives that staff with a grievance will target the busy holiday periods to put pressure on their employers.  And it is not just the airlines who are at risk.  Airports authorities are also vulnerable to strikes and stoppages.  Whether this industrial action is justified or not, it will be the traveller who suffers and long queues at check-in desks are now becoming the norm and not the exception.  Add to that other occurrences, such as the recent computer failure in the baggage handling system at Heathrow Terminal 4, the attempted terrorist attack at Glasgow airport in 2007 and the heightened security alert at Heathrow in the summer of 2006, it is now common place for our travel plans to be disrupted by events outside our control.

Whilst we cannot totally avoid being affected, apart from electing never to travel of course, we can limit the financial loss by taking out adequate travel insurance which will provide financial cover and compensation if caught up in airport holiday chaos.  To start with, all travel insurance policies should have a travel delay section, generally to pay a fixed amount for each 6, 12 or 24 hours delay experienced.  This is what is termed as a benefit so does not require receipts to claim but you will need a note from the carrier or airport to confirm the number of hours delayed.  Secondly, most travel insurance policies will have a section for Abandonment.  This is just another term for cancellation which permits the traveller, once they have experienced the required number of hours travel delay, to cancel their flight and holiday in its entirety and claim back the costs.  Whether you choose this option will depend on many factors, such as the length of your trip away, how long the delay will be and personal preference but it is a very valuable addition to have in any travel insurance policy.  One word of warning, all travel insurance policies will have a clause that excludes any claim from being paid if the strike had been known about before the flight and holiday had been booked so it always prudent to check before you go firm on any travel plans.

With travel insurance now very competitively priced, particularly when purchased over the internet, who can really afford to travel without any cover at all?  It is probably a risk not worth taking when faced by the threat of yet another year of strikes, stoppages and delays.

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