Strikes by French unions in Alpine resorts, Spanish air traffic controllers, and British Border Control officers are expected to impact the February half-term holiday period. World Nomads, the global travel insurance company, explains whether travel insurance covers consumers for the disruption caused by industrial action and what Brits can do to save their well-earned breaks.
Jonathan Frankham, World Nomads General Manager UK and Europe, said: “February half-term is the first peak travel period of 2023 – so these strikes have been timed to cause maximum disruption for travellers. But with the right preparation and understanding of travel insurance coverage, UK travellers can minimise disruption and make the most of their holiday.
“Travel insurance bought at the time of booking a trip may provide coverage if a trip is cancelled or curtailed before departure, but travellers need to carefully check terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions in the policy wording.
“If you think your travel plans might be affected by a strike, you should first contact your travel provider to check if you will be impacted. If you need to change your travel arrangements, they may be able to help.”
What strikes are taking place?
In France, the two largest unions in the ski lift and resort industry, Force Ouvrière and Confédération Générale du Travail, have submitted plans for an open-ended strike, announced on January 31. While the duration of the French ski resort strikes and the level of worker shortages remain unknown, ski lift facilities are expected to run inconsistent services.
Spanish air traffic controllers will strike every Monday throughout February, with delays and potential cancellations expected at airports throughout the country including Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Seville, Valencia, and Vigo.
British Border Force officers’ strikes at major ports, including Dover, Calais, Coquelles, and Dunkirk, are planned from February 17 to 20. Around 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will participate in the strike.
Does travel insurance cover strike action?
If a Certificate of Insurance was issued before the time and day the strike was announced, travellers may be covered for strike-related events that impact their travel plans. However, policies purchased afterwards may not offer cover, as the strike would be considered a ‘known event’.
What coverage may be included?
The coverage offered will depend on the insurance policy travellers have chosen. World Nomads’ Explorer Plan offers coverage for missed connections and trip interruptions, provided the travel insurance policy was purchased before the announcement of the strike action, while the Standard Plan does not offer cover for such events.
World Nomads’ Explorer Plan may have cover to help with expenses if plans are disrupted:
· Pre-trip cancellation: Where the carrier booked to travel has been cancelled or delayed for more than 24 hours before departure from the UK. Travellers may be eligible for reimbursement of their non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses.
· Travel delay on-trip: If the strike results in the cessation or delay of your common carrier’s transport services for at least 12 hours, there may be coverage for additional travel and accommodation expenses due to this trip interruption.
· Missed Connection: If travellers fail, as a result of strike action, to arrive in time to board an onward connecting carrier on which they were booked to travel, including connections within the United Kingdom.
The expenses that may be reimbursed include travel, lodging, or missed excursions. The amount received could be up to the maximum benefit amount specified in the policy document. Travellers are always advised to check their policy documents for more details.
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