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British Airways plans to cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights between August and the end of October amid continuing staff shortages, the airline said.
Nearly 30,000 flights on BA’s schedule between April and October have been canceled so far, affecting London Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports.
EasyJet has also warned that it is imposing flight limits during the summer period, which could mean the cancellation of up to 10,000 of the 16,000 Gatwick flights on sale for July, August and September.
The staff shortage that is causing these cancellations is also a factor in recent and upcoming strikes by airline staff at Easyjet and Ryanair, who are cracking down on wages and work patterns.
Plans for a strike by BA workers in July are currently on hold, after an agreement was reached in negotiations this week.
Despite this, strikes, delays and cancellations are likely to affect thousands of Brits who have planned to run away later this year.
So what happens if your flight is canceled before you leave, or while you’re abroad? Will you be given an alternative flight and what are your rights regarding refunds and compensation? Here are the answers to your travel questions.
What should I keep in mind when booking a flight?
Have you already booked a flight with an affected airline? You will need to wait for cancellations or strike dates to be announced before you can take action.
If you have a time-critical trip, you may want to consider booking an alternate flight, but keep in mind that you’ll only be able to get a refund for your flight if it’s on the ground.
“We advise customers to book as normal,” Steve Witt, co-founder of Not Just Travel, told HuffPost UK of the summer strikes. “Airports and airlines are working together to minimize disruption and good travel agents will ensure customers are fully protected should anything go wrong.”
In general, it’s good practice to pay for flights and holidays with a credit card if you have one and your transaction exceeds £100, according to travel expert Emma Coulthurst.
“You have better consumer protections if you do this,” he previously told HuffPost UK. “As long as you put even £1 on your credit card (and make sure you pay it off so you don’t incur interest), you’re protected.” He also recommended making sure you have current insurance at the time of booking.
What should I do if my flight is canceled or grounded?
Travelers should give their airline a chance to meet its obligations before booking with another airline, according to Athina Macpherson, who works for travel comparison sites Travel Supermarket and icelolly.com.
“An airline’s cancellation message will normally contain a link to rebook, although this will only be seen on the airline’s own service. If an alternative flight on the canceling airline is available on the same day, customers will need to accept it (or claim a full refund),” Macpherson previously told HuffPost UK.
“Make sure the company you are booking with and the airline have [your] up-to-date contact details, so if the airline cancels flights, customers can be instantly contacted and connected to people who can help.”
Will I receive compensation if my flights are canceled due to a strike?
Flight compensation rights due to a strike situation can be complicated. A strike is not always considered an “extraordinary circumstance” under the ticket booking terms and conditions; It depends on who is on strike.
If airport staff are on strike, the airlines have no control over it, so while you are entitled to assistance, you cannot claim additional compensation for delays.
But if it is striking airline staff, such as ground or cabin staff, this is considered to be under the control of the airline, because it is negotiating with its own staff. Therefore, if you are delayed, you should be entitled to compensation.
Again, check your travel insurance before purchasing a policy. One in four travel insurance policies offer no coverage for strikes, according to new research from Which?
What should my airline offer me in case of cancellation?
Those traveling to or from the UK are protected by the new Air Passenger Rights, according to Macpherson.
“This means that an airline must offer the option of a replacement flight as soon as possible or refund the price of the ticket. If the replacement flight is chosen, the customer is entitled to meals and snacks appropriate to the waiting time.
“If the replacement flight leaves the next day or later, the airline must also provide hotel accommodation and any necessary transfers.”
In the case of a package holiday, customers are entitled to an alternative offered by the tour operator, if the tour operator is able to do so.
“If this alternative is a significant change from the original vacation (generally, a change of more than 12 hours on a 14-night holiday is considered a significant change), then the tour operator must also offer the option of a refund. This is a refund of the full price of the package, not just the flight portion,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.