Does Travel Insurance Cover Airline Labor Strikes?

Airline labor strikes can really mess up your travel plans, but travel insurance can bring some peace of mind! In this article, you can learn what a strike is, how it can affect travelers, and how travel insurance coverage could help.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What Is an Airline Strike?

Although they aren’t as common as delayed flights, labor strikes can happen when airline union members experience workplace issues that could be related to, not limited to staffing and pay. This may involve airline employees to walk-out or completely stop working with the hopes of gaining the employer’s attention to fix these problems. When it comes to travel insurance, a strike is defined as “any unannounced labor disagreement that interferes with the normal departure and arrival of a Common Carrier”, according to AXA Assistance.

“We’ve seen an influx of labor strikes pop up that create partial or complete disruption of air travel, especially in popular European tourist destinations”, says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What About Strikes Causing Flight Disruptions?

Sometimes there are events that happen in a country that cause civil disorder. Although not directly related to an airline strike, they can often cause flight disruptions. Travel insurance could still help pay for extra hotel, meal, and local transportation costs if a civil disorder or flight delay occurs during your trip under travel delay coverage.

man standing in aiport looking at schedule

blue outline of arrow pointing right How Do Airline Strikes Affect Travelers?

Sometimes strikes resolve themselves when an airline agrees to their employees’ terms, leaving travelers unaffected. However, at other times, these strikes can cause flight delays and cancellations for many travelers because the airline doesn’t have enough workers to continue operations as normal.

Most of the time, strikes are usually announced with plenty of time for travelers to prepare and possibly make alternate flight plans. In rare instances, strikes can happen unannounced and leave a trail of unwanted series of travel mayhem. Keep reading to find out how travel insurance could help you if your airline experiences a labor strike.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Are Airline Strikes a Covered Event?

The good news is most travel insurance policies include benefits if an unannounced strike causes havoc to your travel plans. “The key here is that the strike can’t be a known or foreseen event for coverage to apply under travel insurance”, says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance.

If your airline announces a strike and your travel is affected, it may not be an event that’s covered under travel insurance because it is now a known event that could happen.

people in airport waiting around

Check out the examples below to learn how travel insurance can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Trip Cancellation

If your trip departure is affected by an unannounced strike for a large amount of time, usually 12-24 hours, you could cancel your trip and receive a reimbursement of your insured trip expenses. Typically, this reimbursement is 100% of your nonrefundable trip expenses you insured under the policy.

Trip Interruption

If your return home gets delayed or cancelled due to an unannounced strike, trip interruption coverage could cover the cost to replace your airfare. Refer to your policy documents to confirm this, as some policies have specific limits. Also, if you had any nonrefundable bookings you weren’t able to use because of the strike disrupting your trip, travel insurance could provide reimbursement for those lost costs.

Travel delay

Sometimes strikes shut down airports for an extended period of time. This might cause you to be stuck halfway between home and your destination or extend your trip unexpectedly. Travel insurance could pay for extra hotel, meal, and local transportation costs until you can catch the next flight out.

Note that each policy has a maximum amount they will reimburse per day per person insured. You’ll likely need to obtain documentation from the airline outlining the reason and duration of the delay and if the airline provided any reimbursements to you.

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blue outline of arrow pointing right How to Get Coverage for Strikes

The best way to ensure coverage for a strike is to purchase travel insurance early. “Don’t wait too long to purchase travel insurance for your trip”, warns Boynton. “If you purchase travel insurance after a strike occurs, you won’t be covered for any costs you might lose if you cancel”.

Our recommendation is to purchase travel insurance soon after making your first deposit or payment. You can always increase the amount insured under your policy if you make future payments, but at least your current payments will be protected.

Travel costs are ever on the rise and protecting your trip investment against unexpected events like common carrier strikes or unexpected civil disorder events is vital.

As a seasoned professional with over five years of experience in the travel insurance industry, Meagan has honed her expertise in marketing and operations working for Yonder Travel Insurance. Throughout her career, she's shown dedication assisting customers at every stage of their travel insurance journey, from the initial quote process to navigating the claims process. Her expert understanding of travel insurance equips her to provide unbiased and valuable insights, which help travelers find the best coverage and maximize its benefits.

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