British Airways pilots are set to strike for three days in September, walking out on Monday and Tuesday next week as well as September 27 later in the month.
The airline has warned all customers due to fly it is likely they will not travel as planned, and is offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date or alternative airline.
The industrial action will hit the travel plans of thousands and ground scores of British Airways flights, with the carrier admitting that some flights on days either side - that is, Sunday and Wednesday - could also be affected. It said customers had been contacted.
BA said its customer teams had been "working tirelessly" but that its customer contact centres are "extremely busy", and advised anyone with a flight booked to ensure the airline had their latest contact details.
Balpa, the British Airlines Pilots Association, which has warned that more strike dates could be announced unless the airline and the union resolve their issues.
See below for advice on what to do if your travel plans are affected.
How do I know if my flight has been cancelled?
BA says it has contacted anyone whose flight has been cancelled. The airline came under fire after erroneously telling customers their flight would be cancelled and to rebook or apply for a refund.
A spokesperson for the airline said those who were told their flights were cancelled in error and had booked alternative flights or incurred other expenses would be entitled to refunds.
Customers who remain unsure can check the status of their flight on ba.com for clarity, the spokesperson said.
Terminal 5 are London Heathrow will still be open, with Iberia flights operating, and BA said a team will be on-hand to help any travellers.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which governs the UK’s airlines, has been in touch with British Airways to ensure the carrier is handling its “re-routing obligations”; that is, ensuring passengers are still able to travel to their destination.
It is understood BA has enlisted the services of as many as 50 other airlines to help re-route affected passengers.
Are there other strikes to be aware of?
Ryanair’s Balpa pilots have announced seven days of strike action for later in September, following two other walk outs in recent weeks.
The next rounds of strikes will be: September 18-19 (48 hours), September 21 (24 hours), September 23 (24 hours), September 25 (24 hours), September 27 (24 hours) and September 29 (24 hours).
So far the Irish airline has been able to run full flight schedules by drafting in crew for other bases around Europe, however these walk outs seem more extensive. Ryanair has called the strikes "pointless" and "unjustified".
Balpa general secretary Brian Sutton said the action was over pay and benefits.
Will I get cash compensation?
Unlikely. Airlines are not liable to pay the additional cash compensation set out by EU regulations because they would not consider themselves directly responsible for the disruption.
However, this excuse was tested in the European Court of Justice last year, when a judge ruled that an airline is responsible for its staff and cannot count a strike as an “extraordinary circumstance”.
If you receive less than seven days’ notice of a cancellation, you may be able to claim on the timings of the alternative flight.
The CAA says: “If your new flight arrives more than two hours after the scheduled time of your original flight, you can claim €250 – no matter what time it departs.
“Otherwise, if your new flight arrives earlier than two hours after the scheduled time of your original flight, you can claim €125.”
What if my flight is delayed?
First and foremost, you are entitled to care and assistance, in the form and food and drink and, in the case of overnight stays or being stranded abroad, accommodation. Spend reasonably and be sure to keep receipts.
You could then be entitled to additional compensation, depending on the length of your flight and how late you arrive at your destination.
For delays of three hours or more you are entitled to a cash payment of €250 (£225) for short flights and €400 (£361) for a flight distance of 1,500-3,500km. For flights of over 3,500km you will receive €300 (£271) for a delay of 3-4 hours; €600 (£540) for more than four hours.
My flight has been cancelled - can I cancel my accommodation?
If you have booked a hotel, a villa or other accommodation independently of your travel arrangements (i.e. not as part of a package holiday) your contract is directly with the hotel or villa and you are responsible for any cancellation. If you can’t get there, you will have to do your best to persuade them to give you a refund or rebook for a later date – but they are not obliged to do this and you may lose money.
Am I covered by my travel insurance?
Your policy may pay out a small amount for very long delays (normally over 12 hours), but not usually enough to pay for more than a meal or two. A few policies have cover for a “consequential loss”, such as a hotel booking made independently. You will need to check the terms and conditions which apply to your policy directly with your insurer.
Have you been affected by disruption at UK airports this summer? Get in touch via email@example.com