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British Airways cancels flights ahead of next strike – your rights

British Airways has begun cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of the next strike by its pilots on Friday 27 September – here's what you need to know.

Update 18 Sept: BALPA, the BA pilots' union, has cancelled the planned 27 September strike. A BA spokesperson said: "We have just received this news. We are considering the implications and we will give updates in due course."

Tens of thousands of passengers are expected to be affected by the disruption, which follows a two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday, when 1,700 flights due to carry 195,000 passengers were cancelled. The dispute over pay involves members of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA).

The airline began contacting passengers who were due to fly on Friday 27 September yesterday afternoon, 15 days ahead of the strike. Under EU law, passengers are only entitled to compensation if they receive less than 14 days' notice of a cancellation.

When British Airways sent emails earlier this month notifying passengers about this week's strikes, some were mistakenly told their flights had been cancelled. So if you do receive notification that your flight on Friday 27 September has been cancelled, it's worth double-checking this is actually the case – we've asked British Airways how you can best do this and will update this story when we hear back.

See our Flight Delays guide for full information.

If my flight's delayed or cancelled, what am I entitled to?

Under EU flight delay law EU261, you have rights if your flight is cancelled or delayed. For these rules to apply, the flight must have left from an EU airport, or you must have arrived at an EU airport on an EU airline.

  • If your flight is cancelled, you're entitled to a refund or alternative flight (possibly on another airline), no matter when the cancellation takes place.

    A key point to remember is if you end up opting for a flight on an alternative airline, remember to get British Airways to book this. If you book it yourself, you may have trouble reclaiming the money.

    If your flight is cancelled with less than 14 days' notice, you may also be entitled to compensation of up to £540/person depending on the timing of the alternative flight you're offered. For full details, see Flight Cancellations.

  • If your flight is delayed by more than three hours you could also be entitled to compensation, as typically a strike by an airline's pilots is not considered an extraordinary circumstance. How much you'd be owed depends on how long a delay is. For full details, see our Flight Delays guide.

    You may also be entitled to care and assistance if you're stuck at the airport.

If my holiday is disrupted, will my travel insurer cover me?

If your flight is cancelled you'll be refunded, but if you've booked extra holiday elements – such as hotels or car hire – that you wouldn't be able to use because of the flight cancellation, these won't be refunded by the airline.

Whether these costs – often known as 'consequential losses' – are covered by your travel insurance depends on what policy you have, so check the wording of your documents.

If your policy does cover consequential loss, then the Association of British Insurers has said previously that if you booked when the intention to strike was known but the precise dates of any industrial action were not, the policy is likely to cover you. However, if you booked your holiday or took out the insurance after the date of the strike was confirmed, you're unlikely to be covered.

You may also be able to claim back consequential losses via Section 75 credit card protection, which makes the credit card provider jointly liable if the flight cost more than £100.

What does British Airways say?

A BA spokesperson said: "We have put forward new ideas through ACAS this week and have called on BALPA to meet us face-to-face as soon as possible to return to negotiations.

"However, we need to give our customers certainty, so we have contacted all those affected by the union's strike on 27 September."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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