Holidaymakers this summer are in for likely disruptions at Heathrow (Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images)
The summer holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for airports, as thousands of people and families take flight to their desired holiday destination.
However, those travelling from Heathrow this summer could be in for a lot of disruptions, delays and maybe even last-minute cancellations, as security officers plan to go on strike on 31 individual days across June, July and August.
Over 2000 security officers will be walking out over continued pay disputes, with British Airways, Virgin, Emirates, Qatar, United, American and Delta just some of the airlines set to be affected by the walkouts at Terminals 3 and 5.
The strikes will largely be taking place across weekends throughout the peak summer season, and naturally, it has made many people worried about how the strike action will affect their travel plans.
If your flight does happen to get cancelled as a result of strike action, what sort of compensation are you entitled to? Let’s take a look…
What happens if your flight is cancelled due to strike action?
According to air passengers’ rights, if your flight is cancelled due to strike action you are entitled to be flown to your destination as closely as possible to the originally scheduled flight time.
If the airline that ground your flight cannot fly you on the same day, but another carrier has space, it must buy you a seat on that flight.
What are you entitled to if your flight is cancelled (Picture: Getty)
They are also required to pay for hotel accommodation and meals during the time you are waiting for your rearranged flight – you are entitled to these perks when your flight is delayed by at least two hours.
When it comes to refunds, however, EU regulation determines that some types of strikes are beyond the airline’s control and they cannot be held accountable for refunding your flight.
Airport and ground personnel strikes (such as baggage handlers, security guards and firefighters) are not considered an eligible reason for a compensation claim – meaning that you cannot get a refund if the upcoming Heathrow security strikes lead to your flight getting cancelled.
There are certain circumstances with a strike where you may be entitled to compensation, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but only if the reasons for the delay or cancellation are due to the following:
The strike action has to be caused by direct employees of the airline
You have not been forewarned two weeks prior to your departure
You should contact your airline to find out what you can claim if your flight is affected.
All the days when the security officers at Heathrow will be on strike in summer 2023
Most strike dates encompass whole weekends across the summer months:
Saturday, June 24 to Sunday, June 25 (two days)
Wednesday, June 28 to Friday, June 30 (three days)
Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16 (three days)
Friday, July 21 to Monday, July 24 (four days)
Friday, July 28 to Monday, July 31 (four days)
Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7 (four days)
Friday, August 11 to Monday, August 14 (four days)
Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 20 (three days)
Thursday, August 24 to Sunday, August 27 (four days)
These dates include Eid festival (28, 29 and 30 June), the start of the school holidays (21, 22, 23 and 24 July) and the August bank holiday (24, 25, 26 and 27 August).
Can I change my flight to avoid a strike day?
You will have to check with your airline as to whether or not you can move your flight if it is currently booked on one of the strike dates.
It may be too late to change, but it is well worth checking to see if your airline can offer any other travel options.
During the last strikes in May, Heathrow brought in 1,000 extra staff to try and minimise disruption and issued this advice to passengers at the time:
Check your flight details and status with your airline before travelling to the airport
Arrive no earlier than two hours before short-haul flights, and three hours for long-haul
Make sure your hand luggage is security ready – liquids in a separate, sealed see-through bag (maximum size 100ml), remove large electricals and place in a separate tray
Share your views in the comments below
Find out what you’re entitled to.