Here’s some distressing news for you – hundreds of flights on the 1st of May are planned to be delayed or even cancelled, as a result of disagreement between the national carrier (LOT Polish Airlines) and its trade unions. Due to the recent EU court decision, affected travellers might expect compensations if the walkout extends into the 2nd or 3rd of May.
Majority of the flights are planned to be disrupted in the main air transport hub of Poland – Warsaw Chopin International Airport, which will cause stress mainly for the regional flyers, namely those travelling to and from the Baltic States. Popular routes including Riga – Warsaw, Vilnius – Warsaw and Tallinn – Warsaw are under the highest threat. Moreover, those travelling through the Polish capital with a layover are in danger in spite of their final destination.
This being a pre-planned staff walkout, does not require LOT Polish Airlines to pay out flight compensations according to the EC 261 regulation, however, as flight compensation experts point out – there’s plenty of essentials that the company has to provide regardless.
“Despite the disturbing fact that moral flight compensations do not belong to the affected passengers, everyone travelling must still be aware of their rights. If the wait for a flight extends 2 hours, each and every passenger must get food, water, access to the internet as well as the possibility to make a phone call. Whenever the flight is delayed overnight, accommodation is also a must,” explains Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight compensation company Skycop.
What’s more important is that just few weeks back, EU top court’s decision has ordered EU airlines to provide up to €600 flight compensations if the flight has been disrupted due to ‘wildcat’, spontaneous or not agreed-upon staff strike.
“Currently, 1st of May has been settled by the union and the airline, nevertheless, if the strike continues, every other day is classified as ‘wildcat’ walkout, thus delayed or cancelled flights on later days may mean millions of euros in flight compensations for the flag carrier of Poland,”
comments M. Stonkus. “Depending on the distance of the disturbed flight, passengers may expect to get from €250 to €600 from the airline.”
Flight delays, cancellations and overbookings, as well as compensations for the passengers involved in the disruption are outlined in the regulation EC 261 that came into force across the EU back in 2004. It entitles travellers to a moral compensation for flight delay of over 3 hours, flight cancellation less than 14 days prior the departure, as well as boarding that has been denied due to overbooking.