How can you plan around Europe’s upcoming and ongoing strikes and still have a great vacation abroad?
After years of cancelled trips and pandemic restrictions, 2023 was set to be a record-breaking summer for travel. But as people plan their vacation of a lifetime, news of strikes across Europe has set travellers on edge.
What European travel strikes are happening?
Here are just a few of the European strikes affecting travel.
France – France is experiencing a once-in-a-generation series of strikes over new pension reforms, and protests and strikes are taking to the streets. Tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Versailles are also impacted by last-minute closures. In addition, a series of ongoing air traffic control strikes means that any flight entering French airspace has the potential for delay or cancellation.
UK – Despite some promising negotiations in April, ongoing rail strikes are crippling travel and events, including Eurovision. Security guards at Heathrow Airport are also striking, and the British passport office is set to strike, limiting travel from the UK.
Germany – Ongoing air travel and railway strikes have impacted German travel, with more strikes and walk-outs set to be announced.
Italy – Airports across Italy are preparing to strike, forcing the cancellation and delay of both international and domestic flights.
How are the strikes already affecting travel?
Over the past few months, strikes of varying severity have rocked the UK and France, two of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. In addition, airports in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Portugal have also been impacted by strikes, affecting flights worldwide.
The data shows that travellers are seriously rethinking their plans as a result. Bookings to great cities like Paris are down as travellers see protests and strikes in the media and decide to postpone or cancel their bookings.
The busy Easter week could indicate things to come over the summer. Data from Airhelp shows that a staggering 33,300 flights were cancelled across Europe, compared to just 7,800 last year. Delays were also up nearly 30%, starting many vacations on a sour note, and experts predict that this will continue through the summer.
What happens if your flight is impacted by strike?
If your trip is delayed or cancelled due to strike, the airline will usually help you make new arrangements or compensate you. However, you should always check the terms and conditions before you buy and ensure you have a robust travel insurance policy.
However, if you decide to go ahead and book something you know is likely to be disrupted by strike action (for instance, the union has already announced action), you will not be compensated. That’s why it’s wise to check the conditions at both your departure and arrival airports.
So, should you still go? The answer is yes! However, make sure you know your rights and try to avoid airlines or airports known for cancellations. Have a safe and happy trip this summer – it’s been worth the wait.