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12 Apr 2019

Train pain and flight strikes: are you prepared for Easter travel disruption?

Airport strikes, engineering works and changeable weather - we explain your rights to compensation if you face travel delays this Easter

With schools off for the holidays, many making the most of a long bank holiday and a mix of sun, showers and - possibly - snow on the horizon, your journey could be disrupted.

There's also planned strike action at all Spanish airports over Easter which is expected to disrupt five million passengers.

If you're travelling by plane or train this Easter and your journey is disrupted, we've broken down what your rights are.

Read more: your rights if your flight is delayed

If your flight is disrupted

Spanish airports are likely to be disrupted by a planned one-day walkout by ground staff on Easter Sunday over negotiations about staff contracts and workers' rights.

And security staff at Madrid airport are threatening an indefinite strike over job security starting Friday 12 April.

Meanwhile, staff of the Italian airline Alitalia are planning a 24 hour strike on Saturday 13 April and, on the same day, airport staff at Milan's two main airports will also stop work.

Your flight rights during a strike

If your flight is disrupted by airport staff striking, you will not be able to claim compensation for any delays or cancellations as this is considered out of the airline's control.

But if you encounter any knock-on effects from strike delays, you should apply for compensation. For example, if your plane is now late because the previous flight was delayed due to a strike, you would be within your rights to make a claim.

If your delay was caused by striking airline staff, this is within the airline's control so you are entitled to compensation.

Wondering how much money you can get back? Use our flight calculator to estimate how much you could be owed.

Your flight rights during bad weather

If bad weather strikes and disrupts your flights, your airline might classify it as an extraordinary circumstance, like it would a strike.

But you can challenge this - especially if other flights are taking off. Take a note if they are and make a record of what your airline tells you.

Regardless of the reason for your delay, you're always entitled to assistance under the Denied Boarding EU Regulation - even if the disruption was caused by an extraordinary circumstance.

When this right kicks in depends on how far you're flying.

When you're entitled to assistance

Type of flightDistanceHow long you have to wait
Short-haulUp to 1,500km (932 miles) / Flight time is usually about 2 hours or less2 hours or more
Medium-haulBetween 1,500km - 3,500km (932-2,175 miles) / Flight time is usually between 2 and 4 hours3 hours or more
Long-haulMore than 3,500km (2,175 miles) / Flight time is usually more than 4 hours4 hours or more

If your train journey is disrupted

If you're planning to travel by train this weekend, check ahead to see whether your journey will be disrupted to avoid any headaches.

There's major engineering work happening at London Euston so all lines will be closed to and from the station over Easter.

There also won't be trains at London Fenchurch Street and there'll be an amended service between Preston and Glasgow.

Some lines through Wimbledon will also be closed all weekend.

You can check your journey on the National Rail website.

Your train rights during planned engineering works

Because engineering works are usually published well ahead of time, you can only claim compensation based on the temporary timetable.

So if a train is delayed during engineering works, you'll need to check whether it's delayed according to the temporary timetable before you make a claim.

Read more: your train delay compensation rights during engineering works.

Train delays and cancellations

Under the Delay Repay system, passengers are able to claim for compensation even if the company was not responsible for the delay - even if the delay was caused by bad weather or a signalling failure, for example.

Passengers are entitled to compensation each time for any delay of 30 minutes or more, and some train companies even pay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

See our guide on how to make a Delay Repay claim.

If your train is cancelled, you might be able to use your ticket to get onto another train, or if you decide not to travel you should be able to get a full refund.