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Airport Strike, Missed Connecting Flight?


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Airport strike? Can you get flight compensation?

You have missed a flight. It was because of an airport strike. Almost every summer, there are at least a few airline staff strikes in Europe. Ryanair and easyJet staff go on strikes regularly. Pilot strikes are less common, but still they happen. In what situations can you get compensation?

Flight delay? Cancellation? Denied boarding? File a claim online.

Terminal 4, Singapore Changi Airport
Terminal 4, Singapore Changi Airport

1. There Is an Airport Strike, Can You Get Compensation?

Airport strike lead to missed connecting flight?

It is frustrating. It can be tiring. But, the good thing is, that in many situations in Europe, that also means you may have a right to compensation from airline. As long as it’s an airline staff strike, not something the airline has no control over.

Is it’s airline’s fault? Could they have prevented this?

If yes – you may have a right to compensation.

Contact the airline or register compensation claim with a flight compensation agency. Yes, you must make a compensation claim, in order to get this money. Be prepared that airline may try very hard, to avoid paying you compensation.


File a Claim Online

When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.

1.1 Right to Care From Airline

Okay, you may get compensation later, but what happens now?

If these are connecting flights, not self-transfer flights, contact your airline, the one you booked your flights from. Sometimes there are connecting flights with different airlines, you must contact the one you made a booking from. They must give you a new flight and you may have a right to care from airline.

In this case, right to care means:

  • Free food and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time (at least a sandwich and a bottle of water or something similar);
  • Free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary (it can be an airport hotel or some other hotel; it’s up to airline to arrange this);
  • Free airport transfer to hotel and back;
  • Plus, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. So you can get in touch with your family, relatives, or to inform someone about this delay and resulting changes in your travel plans.

All of it is possible thanks to regulations 261/2004 / UK261.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport

2. What Situations Apply?

Here are situations when you can get compensation:

  • Your flight is delayed. Mostly delay should be at least 3 hours. It’s calculated at the moment doors of the airplane are opened, and passengers are free to leave an airplane.
  • Your flight is cancelled. It includes flight cancellations that have happened up to 14 days before the departure. In Europe this is considered a last-minute flight cancellation, and often you can get compensation.
  • You are denied boarding. Applies to situations when you are denied boarding due to overbooking. You can’t get compensation if, for example, you need a visa for connecting flight and you don’t have it. One example — you always need a visa or ESTA for a connecting flight in the USA.

Here’s how it applies to missed connections.

For example, you have landed in Amsterdam Schiphol airport. You have a connecting flight with KLM. And now, because of a KLM strike, your connecting flight is delayed. Or cancelled. Or you are denied boarding through no fault of your own. In all these situations you may be entitled to compensation.

3. Which Airlines are Covered?

This applies not only to European airlines.

EU/UK to EU/UKEU/UK to Other countriesOther countries to EU/UK
EU airlines+++
UK airlines+++
Other airlines++

In many situations you can get compensation also from non-European airlines. You can get compensation from Aeromexico, if your London – Mexico City flight is heavily delayed, or if your Qatar Airways flight from London to Bangkok, via Doha is cancelled less than 2 weeks before the departure.

  • If it’s a European airline, the rules apply to all flights departing or arriving in Europe. That, basically, means all flights operated by European airlines.
  • If it’s a non-European airline, the rules apply only to flights departing from Europe. But they don’t apply to other flights and other routes.

When in doubts, check flight with a flight compensation agency.

4. How Much Can You Claim?

The longer the flight, the more you can get.

Here’s how much you can claim:

  • 250 EUR – if the flight distance is less than 1500 km;
  • 400 EUR – if distance is between 1500 and 3500 km;
  • 600 EUR – if distance is more than 3500 km.

The best part is, that you don’t need travel insurance for this.

Indoor waterfall at Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport

5. Types of Airport Strikes

Technically there are several types of strikes.

What’s important in this case, when we are talking about air passenger rights and right to flight compensation, is to distinguish between two types only, airport strikes and airline staff strikes. Because it’s one of the ways it’s determined — whether you are or are not entitled to flight compensation from airline.


File a Claim Online

5.1 Airport Staff Strikes

There are a lot of people working in airports.

About most, we – travelers – don’t even know.

These people go on strikes too. But the difference is that they work for an airport or some other company. They don’t work with airlines — they aren’t employees of airlines. Accordingly, if an airport staff strike causes delays or cancellations, mostly you won’t be entitled to flight compensation.

Mostly you can’t get strike compensation.

5.2 Airline Staff Strikes

For example, SAS pilot strike is an airline staff strike.

It’s employees of SAS that went on a strike. Accordingly, mostly it will be considered fault of the airline. As the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled, it’s responsibility of an airline to look after its own staff.

So mostly this will be seen as something that they may have prevented but haven’t — accordingly they have to pay compensation.

Often you can get compensation from airline.

Have you ever missed flight due to airport strike? How was it? Did you get a new flight? Did airline pay compensation for missed connection?

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


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This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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