What Pilot Strikes Mean For Your Holiday

British Airways pilots and staff are currently leading the charge for airlines with planned pilot strikes. The strikes are scheduled during the British summer holidays, in which are scheduled to escort 6,090,000 passengers to over 75 destinations over the course of the six weeks. Unless otherwise stated, a pilot strike will only take place in the UK and should not cause disruption to those flying from other countries on the days of the walkouts.

Travelling unprepared could lead you to spend unnecessarily or need access to emergency finances, like a payday loan, when something goes wrong. Whether you have a flight booked with British Airways or are looking forward to a holiday package with another provider, it is important you understand the potential implications before you fly and, wherever possible, before you book your next adventure.

Airlines With Planned Strikes This Summer

It is not just BA passengers that could expect delays as passengers are re-routed, Heathrow and Gatwick travellers should anticipate delays.

All dates and pilot strike action are subject to change. At the date of writing, the following industrial action is planned:

British Airways

Pilot strikes are scheduled to take place on August 23 – August 24, September 9 – September 10 & September 27.

4000 pilots are expected to take part, after voting for industrial action.


Ryanair pilots in the UK are scheduled for a walkout on Thursday 22 August and September 2 – September 4.

Passengers travelling with Ryanair from Portugal should also expect delays in August  – August as a result of cabin crew strikes. This is a part of the SNPVAC union wave of walkouts.

Irish Ryanair pilots were scheduled for 22 – 23 August but have since been scrapped as Ryanair continue legal proceedings with the union.

Other Airlines

EasyJet and other airport support companies were scheduled to strike this summer. These have since been called off as a result of an improved pay agreement.

The Pilot Strike Explained

BALPA are the British Airline Pilots’ Association and are a registered trade union, currently representing over 10,000 pilots across the world. The association are based at Heathrow airport and represent pilots working for 23 commercial airlines.

British Airways continue to be the most affected airline as the planned pilot strike comes as a result of pay disagreements, in which BALPA and pilots both believe their pay increase should reflect the airline’s increase in year on year profit. However, reports also highlight that a British Airways captain earns (on average) £167,000 per annum. In turn, EasyJet staff called off their strike after agreeing on a 13% pay rise increase with Unite trade union.

British Airlines have proposed a 11.5% pay increase over the course of three years. This has been rejected despite exceeding the profit increase. Pilots working for other airlines with planned industrial action claim that their pilot strike is a result of years of the company refusing to engage with employee needs and demands.

Pilot Strikes and Future Travelling

British Airways increase in profit comes as a steep surprise for many, as fuel prices increased notably in 2017-2018. IAG (British Airways parent group) claim that they offset fuel prices and continued to grow and increase their quarterly turnover as a result of increased ticket prices (up to 75%).

Although there are no notable studies in the area yet, an increase in pilot and staff wages could suggest that ticket prices will increase again to offset limitations to profits. This is also supported by EasyJet and RyanAir reporting falling profit margins as the budget-airline business model cannot support raising ticket prices to combat rising overheads (pilot wages and increase in fuel costs).

The trend for shorter, more frequent trips that maximise holiday allowance has continued through 2019. However, if pilot strike and industrial action continues, this could increase the price of a seat on a plane. Therefore, it is likely that we will resort back to longer, two-week holidays that allow us to get more bang for our buck out of the increased airline ticket. This would also encourage the continued popularity in all-inclusive deals and package holidays as the price includes flights and still makes us feel like we’re getting something cheap!

What Does This Mean For Your Holiday?

As it currently stands, British Airways customers are expected to experience the most severe disruption. BALPA (the union with the planned strikes) are legally required to give a 14-day notice of any pilot strike or walkout. This compromise allows passengers to be notified of planned disruptions to their travel plans and supposedly provides enough time for passengers to make alternative arrangements, should they want to.

Industrial action, including a pilot strike, is considered out of the airline’s control. This means that refunds or any compensation for cancelled flights and delayed journeys are issued at the individual airline’s discretion. Passengers are not guaranteed to receive remuneration and might be responsible for all onwards journey costs or costs incurred because of a flight effect by the pilot strike. Unexpected costs like this could put a massive dampener on your trip and require a short term loan to get them home, depending on the circumstances.

Travellers should note that they will be entitled to compensation if they are not notified of industry action (include a pilot strike) 14 days prior to travelling (if booked directly with the airline).

Passengers are entitled to submit a request within 7 days of a delay or cancellation for all airlines.

  • Anticipated compensation for short haul flights: Up to 250 euro
  • Anticipated compensation for mid haul flights: Up to 400 euro
  • Anticipated compensation for long haul flights: Up to 600 euro

To protect their reputation and provide passenger support, airlines tend to provide alternative travel, sometimes with other carriers. These will be subject to demand and accessibility of planes and passengers should still expect airport delays.

Due to EU regulations, if a traveller is not awarded a refund they will be entitled to one of the following:

  • Re-routing – A different flight. This may take place from an alternate airport.
  • Re-booking – Vouchers or equivalent for another flight with the airline.

As this summer’s pilot strike and industry action are planned in advanced, passengers are encouraged to get in touch with their airline before they travel. They will be able to advise on flight-time changes and provide passengers with more information.

Check Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance providers and basic packages might not cover compensation for strike actionReports indicate that millions of UK holidaymakers travel abroad without suitable (or any) travel insurance every year. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) expect that 38% of UK travellers do not have insurance for their summer trip.

Coverage for strikes usually requires there to be no alternative route of travel for the insurer to pay out. Some providers do provide comprehensive strike action insurance. Travellers are also able to compare services on price comparison websites.

It is important to note that travellers could need to purchase their coverage as soon as possible, if they see fit to do so. Many travel insurance policies have a clause that protects the provider from paying out if strike action has already been announced and this could affect those travelling in summer 2019.

Wizzcash are payday loan direct lenders, able to provide emergency funds for customers and individuals who find themselves in a travel emergency this summer. Wizzcash are not a long-term solution to debt issues, nor should they be considered a fund for unnecessary (non-emergency) expenses. Get in touch for more information or to learn more about Wizzcash strict criteria.