Know your rights if you are affected by airline strikes

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Madrid, 22 June 2022 (EASA)

The State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) informs all passengers who may be affected by strikes called by the staff of various airlines for the coming days, who are entitled to care, to reimbursement of their ticket or alternative transport to their final destination and to be compensated financially.

AESA will monitor the situation on flights within its competence to verify compliance with the rights of passengers set out in European Regulation (EC) 261/2004 on delays, cancellations and denied boarding.

In case of cancellation or delay of the flight for these reasons passengers have the following rights:

Refund of ticket or rerouting

In the event of cancellation, the passenger has the right to choose between the refund of the ticket or that the airline will provide him with an alternative transport to the final destination as quickly as possible or an alternative transport at a later time to suit the passenger.

In addition, if the delay exceeds five hours, the passenger may resign from the flight and request a refund of the ticket. In this case, if the passenger requests reimbursement and therefore does not travel, he/she will lose his right to be compensated financially.

If the passenger requests a refund of the ticket, the ticket will be paid in cash (metallic, bank transfer or cheque) within seven days. Reimbursement is also allowed in the form of travel vouchers or other services provided that there is a prior agreement signed by the passenger and the passenger has been correctly informed of his rights. It should be recalled that if the passenger opts for reimbursement, he/she will not be entitled to care.

If the passenger opts for rerouting as quickly as possible, the airline cannot only offer seats on its own flights one or more days later if there are places available on the same day with other carriers or other means of transport.

The rerouting is up to the final destination and it is the responsibility of the carrier to pay for it, so the carrier cannot ask the passenger to advance the cost of such transport. In case the company does not provide it, you must keep the purchase ticket for the new transport and subsequently request it.


Right to care

Until the departure of the delayed flight or the alternative flight, from 2 hours and depending on the time needed to wait, the airline has to offer passengers free of charge sufficient food and drink, two telephone calls or access to e-mail and, if necessary, accommodation including transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation.

In the event that no care has been provided, despite the obligation to do so, passengers who have had to pay for their meals and snacks, accommodation in a hotel, transportation between the airport and accommodation, as well as telecommunications services, may obtain reimbursement of their expenses from the airline, provided that these have been necessary, reasonable and appropriate. To do this, the passenger will keep the tickets and then request them to the company.

Right to compensation

Passengers on cancelled flights and those arriving at their destination more than three hours behind schedule shall be entitled to compensation of EUR 250 for flights up to 1500 kilometres; EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres and EUR 600 for all flights not covered in the above cases.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that strikes organised by the airline’s own personnel do NOT constitute an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and therefore do not release the airline from its obligation to pay compensation in the event of cancellation or long delay of flights (Cases C-195/17 Krüsemann, C-28/20 Airhelp, C-613/20 Eurowings).

The carrier shall be exempted from this obligation if it can prove that it has informed the passenger of the cancellation at least two weeks in advance; or if you notified more than 7 days in advance and offered re-routing with departure no more than 2 hours prior to and arrival less than 4 hours late from the scheduled time on your flight or if you were informed less than 7 days in advance and offered to take another flight allowing you to leave no more than one hour in advance of the scheduled time of departure and arrive at your final destination less than two hours late from the scheduled time of arrival.

How to claim these rights

Any passenger who has been affected by these incidents; once you have complained to the company and if you consider that your rights have not been satisfied, you can file a complaint with AESA free of charge by the means provided by law, including its website (

The Agency shall analyse whether there has been a breach of the Regulation and issue a report containing the outcome of its actions. Although the report issued is not binding, it is common for airlines to satisfy its content or to comply with the passenger’s requests before its conclusion. In cases where the AESA report is positive for the passenger, but the carrier does not attend, the passenger may go to court, for which the AESA report will be of great use to the passenger in defending his rights.

EASA’s work on air passenger rights.

Contributing to the protection of passengers’ rights through enforcement of the applicable regulations is one of the strategic objectives of the State Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and to this end, AESA acts on two fronts:

— on the one hand, monitoring the degree of compliance with Passenger Rights regulations through EASA’s activity in inspections, sanctions and handling of complaints; and,

— on the other hand, improving communication channels with citizens, their information and satisfaction in protecting their rights as air passengers.

More information on EASA’s activity in this field can be found in the Annual Activity Reports on Passenger Rights available on the AESA website (