BRITS are being warned to expect more travel chaos in the next few weeks with strikes planned in the upcoming days.
Border Force agents are going on strike from Friday, with airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester affected.
The strikes – taking place from December 23 to December 26 and December 28 and December 31 – mean holidaymakers face delayed flights as well as long queues at the airport.
And airlines such as Air France and Tap Portugal all have planned strikes in the next few weeks meaning your flights could be cancelled – so we’ve explained the five things you need to do as soon as it happens.
1. Be quick to check alternative flights
As soon as you hear your flight is cancelled you should quickly check which alternative flights are available.
UK law means that the airline has to offer you a full refund or an alternative flight, even if it is with a different airline.
Knowing your options means you can tell the airline which flights are available that they can book you onto.
Cody Candee, Founder of Bounce explained: “Your airline must let you choose between a refund or an alternative flight if yours is cancelled.
“If you still want to travel, your airline must find you an alternative flight.”
If you urgently have to get to the destination, you can risk booking your own flights and trying to get them refunded at a later date – although this comes with a risk.
Which? warns: “It’s very risky and may only work if your reason for travel is exceptionally time-sensitive, such as a child’s wedding or job interview, so it’s advisable to only take this step once you’ve exhausted all other options.”
They also said to make sure you don’t “accept a refund or cancel your booking” as it means the airline is no longer responsible for helping you.
2. Make sure you get food, drink and accommodation compensation
Airlines are also obliged to give you food and drink vouchers if your flight has been cancelled, and in some cases, book a hotel if you are being delayed overnight.
As soon as your alternative flight is sorted, you should head straight to the Customer Service desk or contact your airline via phone, email or app to get the additional compensation.
3. Contact any hotel or tours booked
If you are arriving later than planned, you should contact your own accommodation as well as any other bookings you have made such as tours.
Many may allow you to rebook for free, or will give a partial refund if you arrive late.
You also need to make sure your hotel knows you are arriving late so they don’t cancel the rest of your booking.
Of course, if you have booked a whole tour package, the tour operator will sort this for you as part of the flight and hotel deal.
4. Check your travel insurance
If you have travel insurance, you may be able to claim back some of the expenses you incur when your flight is cancelled, so you know the limit of what you can spend during the situation.
Depending on your policy, this can include any additional costs incurred by a trip cancellation (up to a certain amount), as well as any delays or luggage problems.
5. Contact your employer
If your flight is cancelled when you are returning home, you may need to contact your job if you are getting back to the UK later than expected.
This may be to tell them you will work from home, or have to take some additional annual leave.
You should also check for compensation when are back in the UK as you may be entitled to it depending on the flight cancellation – here is everything you need to know.
If it is out of the airline’s control – such as bad weather – then you are unlikely to get compensation.
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