Which? comment on general instability in the travel industry

Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach, said:

“August is set to be a volatile month for holidaymakers with major disruption and strike action likely, so it’s never been more important for people to check they have some level of cover.

“Holidaymakers should ensure their travel agent offers Atol protection when booking a package holiday or consider scheduled airline failure as an add-on to travel insurance when booking flights.”




Notes to editors:

In the event of delays, what rights do travellers have?

  • The level of refund, compensation and assistance you are entitled to will depend on the severity and cause of the disruption.

  • If you booked a flight that either departed from Europe or was with a European airline, you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation – or EU Regulation 261/2004 – if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

  • If you’re more than four hours late arriving at your destination, you could also be entitled to claim EU flight delay compensation of up to €600 per person.

  • But If the airline can prove the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, it won’t have to pay you compensation.


There are strikes expected later in the summer, what rights do consumers have?

  • Our advice to passengers who have holidays booked during the potential disruption is to contact your airline before you travel, make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time and make sure you are prepared for a long wait at the airport.

  • The good news is that if delays or cancellations happen as a result of the airline’s own staff striking, passengers may be entitled to fixed compensation payouts under EU law as this won’t usually be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

  • If you experience a delay after the strike action has taken place, but which was clearly a knock-on effect of it, you could also be entitled to compensation.

  • Unfortunately, if the delays are caused by airport staff striking such as baggage handlers, this will be considered out of the airline’s control and you won’t be entitled to compensation.

  • More info on what you are entitled to in the case of strike action at the Which? website


Atol protection

  • If you have Atol protection You’re guaranteed a refund if an airline collapses, and must be found an alternative flight home if you’re stranded abroad at no further cost to you.

  • You need to contact your travel agent immediately to arrange this.

  • If you are abroad without Atol Protection In most cases, you’ll need to book flights back with another alternative airline and pay for it yourself.

  • Some airlines offer reduced ‘repatriation fares’ for stranded passengers. These are usually available by telephone only within a few hours of an airline going bust (but maybe not immediately) and last for around two weeks.

  • Make sure you discuss your options and potential reimbursement with other airlines or your insurance provider before booking flights home.

  • You can try to claim the cost of your original flight back, but it may be a few weeks before your claim goes through and you get the money back.

For more detailed information about your rights, visit the Which? website