British Airways strikes: When will they take place and could I get compensation?

Holidaymakers have been warned of disruption. Credit: PA

British Airways workers based at Heathrow have voted to strike in a dispute over pay.

It comes amid fears of wider strikes across the public sector as a whole and also within the aviation industry.

Here's what you need to know about when strike action will begin and what you can do about claiming money back for flights already booked.

When will the strike action take place?

Travellers are not advised to book a British Airways flight this summer “at this stage”, a GMB national officer said.

Nadine Houghton told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “I would imagine there will be action during the summer holidays.”

Asked if she would book a flight in late July, August or early September, she replied: “Not at this stage.”

She said the union’s members have faced a 10% pay cut as a result of BA’s “unethical approach during the pandemic.”

“They want that pay to be reinstated.”

Can I get compensation?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled because of strikes then, yes, you are likely eligible for compensation.

Strikes by staff are considered within the airline’s control as it is negotiating with the workforce, as per the Denied Boarding Regulations.

Airlines must also reroute passengers as soon as possible using other carriers if necessary.

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Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “Passengers must not be made to bear the brunt of these strikes.

“British Airways should make the necessary arrangements to avoid a raft of hugely disruptive last-minute cancellations.”

He added that the government must intervene where airlines are “playing fast and loose” with the rules.

According to Which?, if a flight is cancelled you are entitled to compensation, unless:

  • you are told of the cancellation at least two weeks before departure, or

  • you are told of the cancellation between one and two weeks before departure, and rerouting your flight will get you to your final destination no more than four hours late,

  • rerouting will get you to your destination no more than two hours late.

Will other airlines also strike?

No strikes have been planned by staff at other airlines in the UK, though several European countries have had to deal with action from easyJet and Ryanair.

A strike in Italy earlier in June led to more than 20 flights being cancelled from Gatwick.

Across British Airways now, there is a feeling of rebellion in the air - as Joel Hills reports

Strike action may spread within British Airways, however. The current ballot affects check-in staff at Heathrow but engineers, ground handlers, cabin crew and pilots may well follow suit.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reported a “sense of rebellion in the air” as workers call for pay to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Unions in other industries are also considering strikes, including NHS staff and teachers.