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Airline Strikes - Some Guidance

Airline Strikes and Cancellations

There are proposed strikes by some British Airways cabin crew. This will undoubtedly affect schedules and may mean your flight is cancelled. Here are some suggestions for what to do (and this applies to any airline and any situation where flights are cancelled or re-arranged)

Most airlines (including BA) do have real time information for you about your flight, this may be via an App but more often than not, via mobile messaging. It is vital, therefore, that you make sure that you have given the airline and/ or your travel agent a mobile number that a) works and b) that you have with you. You would be surprised how many people give mobile numbers that belong to PA's, Secretaries, Assistants are old numbers that people "used to have" ... the mobile number the airline or your agents needs, is one which you have with you. Make sure this is the case.

Before you leave home, always check the relevant airline's website. Specifically, the departures section. Your agent should receive information (with British Airways, the system works very well) through their GDS (Global Distribution System) on what is called a "Queue". Try not to telephone the airline. Any airline working through a strike has a lot to do and most if not all, do make sure their website is fully up to date.

NEVER assume. If your flight is not shown as cancelled, go to the airport, on time as you would normally. If you don't, thinking "it will be cancelled" then you will be treated as a "No-Show" and so, basically, lose everything. If a flight is cancelled, then the airline website will show what action you should take with regard to re-booking or refunding your ticket.

If you have a refundable or a ticket you can change, do give serious consideration in any event, to making a change and going at a less stressful time. Many airlines will offer a "waiver" during these sorts of periods. That means that even if you have a non-refundable ticket or one that does not offer free changes (or indeed, any changes) you can change your departure date or if that does not work, claim a refund. Note that if changes are allowed you can (usually) only change the date to the destination that you originally booked and within a specific time frame. Doing this will not only help the airline but will also do a lot for your own sanity. The relevant information would be shown on the airline website - or see your travel agent.

If your flight is shown as cancelled, but you do need to fly then you need to attend at the airport at the allotted time for check in. That said *only* do this (attend at the airport) if your flight is cancelled at very short notice, say, three or four hours before departure. You cannot just turn up at any time that suits you. Present yourself to a member of that airline's staff and ask for guidance. If notification that your flight is cancelled before, or well before departure, then you will need to re-book or ask for a refund, via the airline website or, of course, your travel agent.

Please, remain calm at the airport. There will be a lot of people milling around, there will be a lot of people getting very hot under the collar and generally bad-tempered. Though understandable, it does not help. British Airways (along with any airline that is suffering disruption for any reason) do not take disruption of their flight schedules lightly and will be making every effort to re-accommodate people as best they can. It will take time and you will have to wait your turn, so deal with it. Take a good book and a thermos and some biscuits. A nice cup of tea and a biscuit at this sort of a time, works wonders.

A note about Travel Agents. Important, this. IF you are *at* the airport and are to be re-accommodated on another flight, then this MUST be done by the airline concerned. Very often, when an airline knows that there will be disruption, they block off all seats on relevant subsequent flights. This means that the airline is then able to re-accommodate those passengers whom they have at the airport. The part, then, about "remaining calm and waiting your turn" is most relevant at this time. That the airline fixes your reservation is especially VITAL when your journey involves a connection at an en route airport, for only the airline can make the required connections further on down the line. This is not because, as your agent, we do not wish to do it; it is to maintain the "integrity" of your ticket. You will just have to trust me on this one.

Your are entitled to compensation, certainly if EU airlines are involved. This does vary depending on how much notice you were given of the cancellation. The best guide I know (and it works, because I have used this myself) is on moneysavingexpert The guide will tell you what to do and has sample letters for you to use. The guide and letters are free, very easy to understand and simple to use.

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