British Airways pilots are striking this September. Here’s the key facts on what you can expect if your flight is cancelled.

With British Airways pilots staging strike action this month which affected my travel plans, I thought it was worth writing a quick blog on what passengers are entitled to when their travel plans are disrupted by industrial action.

In my particular case I was due to fly to Barcelona on the first day of the strike. Once industrial action was announced, British Airways cancelled my outward flight within 24 hours. Yet crucially the return flight wasn’t. To add to my woe’s, I also spent £500 on non – refundable hotels at Heathrow (Due to departing at 06:00) and two nights in Barcelona.

I am very fortunate and lucky to work in the media. That means that I come into contact with experts and contributors on a daily basis. Having covered the strike on various programmes I work on I have learn a lot about what people should expect in these unique situations.

Can I have my money back?

In a nutshell yes you are entitled to a full refund.

However, if you have separate hotel bookings with another company, you won’t get a refund for those. In my case Expedia were exceptional and refunded one of the two nights stay immediately. They asked the hotel to refund the other night which was declined. Again in fairness the hotel offered to move the second night to another date. However, that wasn’t much use to me.

Here’s where travel insurance is a must, I got my money back for the second night from my insurer less my £50 excess.

Can you move my flights to another date?

Absolutely you can ask the airline to rebook your flights (Subject to availability) to new dates that suit you. That was never going to work for me though as I have used all my Annual Leave for the current year. It was suggested by one ‘Travel Commentator’ I spoke with that you could use this to your advantage by rebooking around popular times such as Christmas and New Year.

I want to fly the same day – Can you rebook me on another airline?

I have saved the best for last! In the case of the British Airways strike this has become a grey area with various pundits offering contrasting views. Many people agree that yes you are entitled to be rebooked on another airline, but this doesn’t seem to have happened.

I speak from personal experience here. British Airways were quick to try and move me to another One World partner or I.A.G airline. I was offered Vueling flights from London Gatwick late at night arriving into Barcelona in the middle of the night. As much as I pushed, they weren’t going to book my on easyJet!

In the end I opted to get a full refund and will be off for a ‘Staycation’ in the New Forest instead.

Andrew Wright


Andrew Wright is a highly experienced media professional with over three decades of experience working in the broadcast and online industry managing on air programmes and websites for some of the UK’s largest broadcasters.


Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!