Airlines Strike: All You Need to Know

Airlines Strike: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or an occasional jet-setter, it can be incredibly disruptive when an airline strike suddenly affects your plans. It’s a problem that’s been affecting air travel more and more recently, and it pays to understand the key facts.

So if you’re wondering just how bad things could get, here’s a quick primer on airline strikes what causes them, how long they often last, and what kind of changes you can expect to see in your travels. You’ll also learn some tips for minimizing the disruption to your plans if an airline strike does occur. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Reasons Why Strikes Occur

An airline strike is a labor dispute between an airline company and its employees. It can happen as a result of disagreements between the two parties over a number of issues, such as pay, working conditions, and job security. Strikes often occur when management and unions representing workers cannot reach a compromise or when negotiations break down completely.

The length of an airline strike depends on how serious the disagreement is and how long it takes to reach an agreement that both sides can agree on. The longest airline strikes in history have lasted for months with some even lasting for more than a year! But don’t worry; with management and union representatives usually coming to the negotiating table with open minds, most strikes today are resolved within a few days or weeks.

How Airline Strikes Are Planned

An airline strike is a planned outage of service by a labor union or group of workers employed by an airline company. Strikes are used as a form of protest against their employers and a way of bargaining for better wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions. This can mean many different things, like higher pay, more vacation time, better job safety standards, etc.

Strikes are usually planned out in advance so that an employer has time to prepare for the disruption in service. Typically, strikes involve the workers’ union informing the company at least two weeks before the planned start date of the strike. The company will then contact airport authorities and other departments to make sure that alternate transportation arrangements can be made for customers affected by the strike.

The length of a strike depends on how long it takes both parties to come to an agreement about issues outlined in the labor contract. This can take days, weeks or even months depending on the circumstances. In general, however, it is best to anticipate being inconvenienced during your travels when a labor union goes on strike.

Impact of Airline Strikes on Passengers

When an airline strike occurs, the impact on passengers can be significant. Depending on the length of the strike, flights may be delayed or canceled, baggage may be delayed or lost, and flight attendants and ground crews may be reduced. It’s important to know that if there’s a strike, your experience may not be as smooth and comfortable as it normally would be when traveling by air.

Affected travelers

If a pilots’ union is striking, then flights will automatically be delayed or canceled until a resolution is reached. This means that travelers who were hoping to fly during the holidays or for business purposes may have to completely change their plans. Additionally, if one airline goes on strike, other carriers that use the same facilities may also experience some delays and cancelations.

Cancelation & Refunds

It’s important to remember that when your flight is canceled due to an airline strike, you are eligible for a full refund or a replacement ticket at no extra cost. Some companies may even offer compensation for delays caused by airline strikes. So it’s worth checking with the company to see what options you have in these cases.

The bottom line is that an airline strike can cause major disruption for travelers, but if you know what to expect and prepare accordingly such as looking into refunds and other potential options from impacted airlines you should still be able to enjoy your travels even if an airline strike occurs along the way!

What to Do When You’re Affected by a Strike

You’ve heard about the airline strike, and you’re worried about what it means for your planned trip. If your flight has been canceled or delayed due to an airline strike, there are a few things you can do to minimize the disruption and get back on track as soon as possible.

Check your rebooking options

Most airlines offer free rebooking due to strikes, so contact the airline directly to check if they are making any special arrangements for customers affected by the strike. The airline may also be able to advise you on alternate routes to get you to your destination. Make sure to have your booking reference number handy when speaking with them.

Get a refund

If you’re unable to make an alternative travel plan, check if you’re eligible for a refund from the airline. Some airlines might even offer compensation for the inconvenience caused by the delay or canceled flights. To request a refund, follow their procedures and provide details like name of passenger and ticket details.

Use insurance or credit card protection

If you’ve purchased travel insurance before take-off, it will often cover delays or cancelations caused by strikes as long as it’s considered an “unforeseen event.” You may also be able to claim back costs if your ticket was purchased using a credit card with trip delay insurance included in its benefits package. Check with both your insurer and card provider for details on their policies and see what kind of reimbursement they can offer you.

Length of an Airline Strike

When it comes to how long an airline strike will last, it depends. Generally, they tend to be shorter than other labor disputes, often lasting only a day or two. Of course, there have been exceptions there was a strike in Denmark that lasted over three months!
The length of an airline strike will also depend on how much power the unions have and their willingness to negotiate. Unions can go on strike for a few days, weeks or even months depending on the strength of their demands and the position of the airlines they are bargaining with. Typically though, once both sides sit down at the negotiating table a deal is usually reached within a few days or weeks.

Here are a few things that could influence how long an airline strike lasts:

  • Size of the Union: The larger and more organized a union is, the longer their strike may last as they are better able to apply pressure on their employers.
  • Duration of Negotiations: If there’s little progress in negotiations between management and labor, the duration of the strike will likely increase as union members remain off-the-job for longer periods time.
  • Amount of Support: A higher amount support from passengers and other unions can help bolster an airline strike’s duration if management is still not willing to make concessions in labor negotiations.
  • Involvement of Government: When government agencies get involved in labor disputes by either arbitrating negotiations or passing legislation that affects labor agreements, these matters tend be resolved faster than if left solely to management and labor representatives.

How Long-Term Impacts Are Minimized

What you might not know is that airline strikes don’t always have to last for a long time. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that there are ways of minimizing the long-term impacts of strikes and getting things back to normal more quickly.


The union and airline company management can often come together and negotiate in order to find a resolution quickly. While this isn’t always successful, it’s worth trying in order to keep the strike from going on too long.


Besides negotiation, mediation is another option available to both sides of a strike. Here, an independent third-party mediator helps bridge the gap between union workers and management in order to find a solution that everybody can agree on.

Strike Settlement Funds

Finally, some airlines have set up strike settlement funds which provide money for employees affected by a strike. These funds help cover lost wages and other expenses as people wait for their jobs to become available again.

By utilizing these options or combining them airlines are often able to significantly shorten the length of a strike, minimizing its negative impacts and allowing operations at the airline to resume more quickly than if the parties had simply continued fighting it out for weeks or months at a time.

How Much Compensation for a Delayed Flight?

Flight delay compensation amounts vary between 250 Euros to 600 Euros. It depends on the route distance and the length of the delay.

Here’s the table below to understand “how much compensation you may get for a delayed flight

Recievable Amount Route Distance Length of Delay
250€ less than 1500 km 3+ hours
400€ between 1500 to 3500 km 3+ hours
600€ more than 3500 km 4+ hours *

* When EU borders are not crossed, the amount may get reduced by 50%, i.e., you can get up to 300€ for a distance of over 3500 km.

Flight Delay Compensation Amount

Which is the best company to claim flight delay compensation?

ClaimFlights is the best flight delay claim company when it comes to the payout after their 25% service fee. Through ClaimFlights, you could get 75% of the receivable compensation.

The following table gives you a direct comparison of flight delay compensation claim companies.

Your payout* (as Flight Delay Compensation)

for less than 1500 km for 1501 to 3500 km for more than 3500 km
ClaimFlights 187.50 € 300 € 450 €
Flightright 125.75 € 201.20 € 301.80 €
AirHelp 125 € 200 € 300 €
ClaimCompass 125 € 200 € 300 €
SkyRefund 125 € 200 € 300 €

* Source: Price comparison of flight delay claim companies, as of 8th August 2023.


As with any strike, it’s impossible to predict how long this one will last, but it’s important to stay informed so you can plan your travel accordingly. If you’re traveling on one of the affected airlines, be sure to check their website for updates, and make sure to check the airline’s social media for useful information.

Ultimately, the strike will be resolved one way or another, and it’s important to remember that airlines have to take care of their customers during strikes. When deciding on your travel arrangements, it’s also worth considering what kind of protection you may have if your travel plans are affected.

Airline strikes can be a frustrating experience, but by staying informed and checking the airline’s website and social media for updates, you’ll be able to plan your travels accordingly and make the best of the situation.

10 best flight-booking sites of 2024

Are you searching for the perfect flight booking portal to snag the cheapest airfares for your next trip? You're not alone. Today, the internet is flooded with options that claim to offer the fastest and most cost-effective booking...

Tactics to Deal with Turbulence

Tactics to Deal with Turbulence: Strategies To Remain Clam and Relax Turbulence is an unavoidable challenge that pilots and passengers face. It refers to the unpredictable and erratic movements of the air, causing disruptions to the...

Get Compensate for your Lost Luggage

Lost Luggage: What to Do If Your Bags Don't Arrive with You Traveling can be a joyous and enriching experience, but sometimes, things don't go as planned. One such inconvenience that can throw a wrench into your travel plans is when your...

Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

Related Questions

What is flight delay compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004?

Flight delay compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 is the compensation that air passengers are entitled to receive when their flight is delayed for a certain amount of time, depending on the distance of the flight and the duration of the delay.

What are the conditions for receiving flight delay compensation?

The conditions for receiving flight delay compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 are that the flight must be departing from an EU airport or arriving at an EU airport on an EU airline, the delay must be over 3 hours, and the delay must not be due to extraordinary circumstances.

What are considered extraordinary circumstances under EU law?

Extraordinary circumstances under EC Regulation 261/2004 include situations such as severe weather conditions, security risks, political instability, and strikes that affect the operation of the airline.

Can airlines refuse to pay compensation under EC Regulation 261?

Airlines can refuse to pay flight delay compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 if the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances. However, they are required to provide care and assistance to passengers in such situations.

How can air passengers claim compensation for delayed flights?

Air passengers can claim compensation for a delayed flight under EC Regulation 261/2004 by submitting a claim to the airline either directly or through a third-party service provider such as ClaimFlights. The claim should include details of the flight, the reason for the delay, and any expenses incurred by the passenger as a result of the delay.

We help in many languages – ClaimFlights International Websites