European flight market has been startled this week with an unlikely decision coming from the top court of the European Union on Tuesday. The officials have placed EU carriers under the obligation to pay out flight compensations to passengers that experienced delays or cancellations due to unplanned employee strikes.

Called ‘wildcat strikes’ in the industry, spontaneous airline staff walkouts are defined by the court ruling as a decision to go absent by majority of the company’s employees in a response to unexpected carrier announcements. The decision was made based on the case of a German airline TUIfly, whose pilots, flight attendants and other personnel ‘went on a sick leave’ for a week after company’s decision to reorganize.

“Even though most of the recent strikes in Italy, France and Germany are pre-planned and agreed-upon between the unions and airlines, this is definitely a small, yet an important step towards full acknowledgment of the absurd situation we have with employee walkouts in today’s Europe,” comments the decision CEO of flight compensation company Skycop, Marius Stonkus.

EU court - Skycop

The ruling will leave airlines paying out compensations ranging from €250 to €600 depending on the distance of cancelled or delayed flight in case its workforce decides to split for any unexpected reason. As M. Stonkus explains, it is inevitable that pre-planned strikes will also fall out of the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ soon.

“Market is as diverse and competitive as ever – carriers are not happy with the slim profit margins, while its employees feel the tension as well as the instability, providing them with uncertainty and no clear message from the management. Unfortunately for us all – it’s always the passenger that feels the consequences. Hopefully, it will all change soon.”

Flight compensation company Skycop has set up a petition that it will later take to the European Commission in order to exempt airline strikes from the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ category whatsoever. You can find the link to petition here:

Cancelled flights from Vilnius to Warsaw and Tallinn
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Cancelled flights from Vilnius to Warsaw and Tallinn