- Regulator says strike by BA cabin crew may not count as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’
- Martin Lewis says: “If you are caught up in this, put in a compensation claim and see where it goes”
Passengers who have flights delayed or cancelled during a two-week strike by British Airways cabin crew in July may be able to claim up to £530 compensation, the UK’s biggest consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal.
The strike by BA cabin crew who are members of the Unite union is part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions, and is set to run from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July.
The aviation regulator has said it is unlikely a planned strike by the airline's own staff would be deemed as an 'extraordinary circumstance' - which means that passengers whose flights are disrupted COULD be eligible to claim under EU flight delay law (1).
A CAA spokesperson told MoneySavingExpert.com: "If airline staff strike, and due notice has been given enabling the airline to make alternative arrangements, it is unlikely this strike would constitute an extraordinary circumstance. Conversely, wild cat strikes, where no notice is given, would be more likely to fall under the definition of an extraordinary circumstance."
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis said: "There seems to be a never-ending debate about what is an airline's fault and what isn't.
"Usually it's accepted that industrial action isn't an airline's fault. But that's generally when it's other staff such as air traffic control - the situation is more complicated when it's the airline's own staff. Arguably if they have had a long time and due notice of the strike, then why should it be seen as an extraordinary circumstance? The airline should be able to put plans in place to prevent detriment to customers.
"If your flight is cancelled, regardless of whether it's the airline's fault or not, you are entitled to a choice of a full refund or alternative flight. But if it is defined as the airline's fault you would be due compensation for ensuing delays as well.
"The problem here is the only people who can actually decide if it is the airline's fault or not are the courts. Yet if you are caught up in this and the strike causes substantial problems, you should certainly put in an EU 261/2004 compensation claim and see where it goes."
Notes to editors
(1) Under EU regulation 261/2004, if your flight was delayed by more than three hours or cancelled, and it was the airline's fault, you can often claim between £110 and £530 in compensation. To qualify, your flight must have left an EU airport, or arrived at an EU airport on an EU airline. For more on this and reclaim amounts, visit the MSE flight delay compensation guide.
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About Martin Lewis: Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is the journalist and consumer campaigner who created MoneySavingExpert.com and is now the site’s Executive Chair. Martin also founded and chairs the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity.
He’s the UK’s most-googled man, Citizens Advice’s Consumer Champion of the Year, and has spearheaded major financial justice campaigns including bank charges reclaiming (over seven million template letters downloaded), PPI reclaiming (over six million) and a successful large-scale campaign to get financial education in schools. He has his own prime-time ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, as well as a range of other regular media slots. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014.
About MoneySavingExpert.com: MoneySavingExpert.com is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site Alexa.com, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 12 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month. In September 2012, it joined the MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC.