THOUSANDS of holidaymakers could face travel problems after British Airways workers based at Heathrow voted to strike in a pay dispute.
Unions Unite and GMB have warned holidaymakers face a summer of strikes.
British Airways workers, including check-in staff, will now decide on strike dates, which the union says are likely to take place during the peak summer holiday period.
Here’s what it means if you have to travel with BA.
What is happening?
BA staff are on pay strike and warned of a summer of disruption.
The strikes will affect workers based at Heathrow, but could have a ripple effect on customers elsewhere.
It is the latest in a series of problems faced by holidaymakers, who have already seen thousands of TUI and Easyjet flights cancelled.
Customers have complained of long delays and queues at airports, while some have had to cancel trips altogether.
EasyJet announced it would be canceling more than 200 flights this summer and police had to intervene and tell passengers in Tui that their flight had been canceled after eight hours of delay on a chaotic day.
Even those who don’t go overseas have faced problems as rail strikes this week have crippled the national rail network.
A British Airways spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome and that the unions have chosen to follow this course.
“Despite the extremely difficult environment and losses of over £4 billion, we made a 10% payment offer which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues.
“We are fully committed to working together to find a solution, because to deliver to our customers and rebuild our business, we need to work as a team.
“We will of course keep our customers informed of what this means for them as the situation develops.”
Can I get a refund or compensation?
Dates for the strike have yet to be set, so it is unclear how many flights and how many holidaymakers will be affected.
The GMB union said: ‘Industrial action dates will be confirmed in the coming days, but will likely be during the peak summer holiday period.
If your flight is cancelled, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get a refund or compensation.
If you have travel insurance, you should check with your provider to see what you might be able to recover.
Most passengers will also be protected by so-called denied boarding regulations.
Under these, you should be offered a full refund for a canceled flight or a seat on the next available flight or at another time.
If you are left waiting at an airport due to a cancellation, you should receive a food voucher or overnight accommodation and transfers if needed.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “Passengers should not bear the brunt of these strikes.
“British Airways should take the necessary steps to avoid a series of extremely disruptive last-minute cancellations.”
He added that BA should re-route customers as soon as possible using other carriers if necessary, and communicate these rights to customers.
Boland said: “We know this requirement is not always met, so the government and the Civil Aviation Authority need to step in where airlines are playing fast and loose with the rules.”
How do I get my money back?
British Airways has a web page with details of your rebooking and refund options.
It says you can request a refund if your flight has been cancelled.
If you booked through a travel agency or tour operator, you will need to contact them directly.
If you have booked a BA package that includes a flight plus a hotel, car rental, transfer or experience, you should be able to rebook on an alternative flight on the same date as your original flight free of charge additional (if one is available).
You can also rebook to travel on different dates, or cancel your booking and request a refund.
You can also contact BA by calling 0344 493 0787 and selecting option 1 between 6am and 8pm.
Don’t be tempted to cancel your flights before you’ve spoken to BA or your travel agent or tour operator or you may not get a refund.
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