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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.

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.

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.

man standing in aiport looking at schedule

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

If the unannounced labor strike causes your flight to be cancelled, your travel insurance policy could reimburse your prepaid trip amounts under trip cancellation coverage. If you’re already on your trip and your flights are affected, you could be reimbursed for replacement airfare under trip interruption coverage, plus any unused prepaid trip costs you might have missed out on because of the strike –think a prepaid hotel room or tour. 

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While waiting for the next flight, travel delay coverage could reimburse unforeseen costs like hotels, meals, and local transportation if you have to stay overnight because of the unannounced strike.

How to Get Coverage for Strikes

“Don’t hesitate to purchase travel insurance after making travel plans”, warns Boynton. “If you purchase travel insurance after a strike occurs, hoping to be reimbursed for your lost payments, you’ll be out of luck”. The friendly humans at Yonder recommend purchasing travel insurance soon after you’ve made your first deposit or payment. This way, if an unannounced strike happens, your trip investment could be protected. Travel prices are much higher and could continue to rise due to pilot wage increase bargaining. It’s even more vital to protect your trip investment from unforeseen events like airline strikes.

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