Even though the air passenger market is protected by the European law, namely regulation no. 261/2004, lately it seems to have lost its influence on the market players. As continuing airline clashes with their employees result in walkouts or endless debates, over 1.5 million extra EU travellers per year suffer directly from what is still considered an “extraordinary circumstance”. However, one company has decided to help the passengers and end the malpractice.
The EU law entitles every passenger that experienced a flight delay of over 3 hours, cancellation 14 days prior to the departure or an involuntary deboarding (overbooking) to a compensation ranging from €250 to €600 depending on flight distance. Nevertheless, if the disruption is caused due to circumstance out of airlines’ control – passengers are left empty handed – without flight compensation.
Amazingly, until this day, airline employee strikes including those organized by pilots, flight attendants and their unions are considered an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ (outside an airline’s responsibility and control), excluding airlines from compensation payout under the EC 261/2004 regulation. This is still happening even though most of the strikes are usually pre-planned and even agreed-upon with the airlines, experts note.
According to the numbers collected by flight compensation company Skycop, between the year 2010 and 2015, there were 95 incidents across the EU, encompassing 176 days of strike activity. This resulted in a staggering 1,5 million passengers getting their flights delayed, diverted or even cancelled every single year with France and Greece leading the strike count.
“What’s even more shocking is compiling the amount of compensations they should’ve received, if the law would have been on their side. We estimate that over the past six years, strikes across the EU lead to increases in both flight cancellations and flight delays and resulted in 24 million minutes of extra delays, or, if we talk money, €6 billion in unpaid flight compensations,” unveils Marius Stonkus, the CEO of Skycop. “We think it’s time we took matters in to our own hands and try and make the law traveller-friendly, rather than pro-airline. Right now the petition is available on a worldwide community petition platform Avaaz and can be signed by any traveller. ”
When a significant amount of signatures will be collected by Skycop – the petition will reach EU lawmakers that will have to reconsider EC 261/2004 regulation. If you have ever experienced cancelled or delayed flight due to airline staff strikes, you might want to join in on it. The flight compensation company has compiled a petition that can be reached and signed below.