Heathrow strike 2019: Which flights are cancelled and are passengers eligible for compensation?
5 August 2019, 17:12 | Updated: 5 August 2019, 17:16
Here's how the Heathrow airport strike may affect your holiday plans this summer.
Those going away on holiday in the next few weeks could face travel chaos if Heathrow Airport strikes go ahead.
A walk out was planned by workers on Monday (August 5) in a row over pay, but it was called off yesterday as talks continue.
Another 24-hour strike was scheduled to take place in Britain's busiest airport on Tuesday (August 6), but has since been cancelled.
So, how will your holiday be affected and are you entitled to compensation?
What flights are cancelled?
An estimated 2,500 Heathrow Airport workers had planned to strike, but the industrial action scheduled for August 5 was called off by the union.
In a statement, Unite said a planned strike on Tuesday August 6 was still going ahead if talks failed to prevent it.
Heathrow had initially cancelled 177 flights when the two-day action was announced, but many were reinstated.
Air Canada announced it will be operating its full flight schedule from Heathrow airport on Monday as did British Airways, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways.
Virgin Atlantic has not cancelled any of its flights, but will continue with its plans to move from Heathrow to Gatwick.
The following changes were initially made to Tuesday’s schedule, but will now NOT be going ahead, Heathrow stated:
9am Virgin Atlantic to New York (diverted to Gatwick)
1:30pm Virgin Atlantic to New York (diverted to Gatwick)
2:05pm British Airways to Doha (cancelled)
4:05pm Virgin Atlantic to New York (diverted to Gatwick)
8:10pm Virgin Atlantic to Boston (diverted to Gatwick)
6:25am Virgin Atlantic from New York (diverted to Gatwick)
7:20am Virgin Atlantic from New York (diverted to Gatwick)
10:05am Virgin Atlantic from New York (diverted to Gatwick)
1:15pm British Airways from Doha (cancelled)
7:50pm Virgin Atlantic from Boston (diverted to Gatwick)
Passengers have been warned to check their flights before they set off, and pay extra attention to rules regarding carry-on luggage today.
Heathrow have also advised passengers allow time for longer queues at check-in and security desks.
What are the strikes about?
The action was originally called over dispute regarding pay, with airline, airport and air traffic control staff all involved in the walkout.
“There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport,” said Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King.
Responding to the decision to call off strike action on Monday, a spokesman for Heathrow said: “We will continue talks with Unite tomorrow and we remain hopeful that we can find a resolution and stop this disruptive and unnecessary strike action.
“We regret that passengers have been inconvenienced by this and urge them to contact their airline for up to date information on the status of their service
“While the vast majority of flights will be unaffected, some airlines are making arrangements to operate flights from other UK airports, others will be delaying flights and unfortunately a number will be cancelled."
Are passengers entitled to compensation?
In most cases, airlines are not liable when flights are impacted by industrial action taken by airport staff as it is classed by the Civil Aviation Authority, as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.
This means that the airline does not have to pay its passengers compensation for any delays or cancellations that occur on the day of the strike.
You may be able to get a refund, compensation or a flight reschedule depending on how the airport is affected.
However, if your flight has been cancelled because airline staff are striking, the CAA say this would be considered within the airline's control, and therefore you have a legal right to the following:
- A full refund, and this includes flights in the same journey that might be from a different airline
- Or, a replacement flight to get to your destination
- Or, if you are part way through your journey and don't want a replacement flight, a flight back to the airport you originally departed from
If you are delayed more than two hours, you are also legally entitled to compensation.