Strikes at Heathrow Airport – What’s Happening?


Posted in General Travel Travel Insurance, strikes at Heathrow, industrial action on 31 March 2023

After talks broke down at the eleventh hour on Thursday evening, more than 1,400 security officers in the Unite union, who work for Heathrow, have this morning begun 10 days of industrial action. British Airways, who fly several routes out of Heathrow, have urged passengers not to arrive more than two hours before short haul flights and no more than three hours before long haul flights whilst also suggesting passengers reduce the number of hand baggage they carry in order to reduce delays.

With the planned industrial action scheduled to last 10 days this could lead to major disruption for passengers of all carriers. Below is a Heathrow strike update, an outline of how this could affect you and steps you can take to protect yourselves when travelling out of Heathrow and any other airport for that matter.

Why are the London Heathrow strikes occurring?

The London Heathrow airport strikes are happening as security staff employed by Heathrow airport are looking for pay increases after years of pay freezes. Heathrow had offered a 10% pay increase alongside a lump sum payment of more than £1,000. Unite are hoping that Heathrow improve its pay offer as workers at Heathrow airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoyed huge salaries and pay increases whilst also paying out dividends to shareholders worth billions according to reports.

Unite are reporting that the new pay offer still amounts to a real-terms wage-cut and as such it is unlikely that there will be a swift end to the industrial action.

How is this affecting Heathrow airport and passengers?

The strikes are primarily affecting Terminal 5 which is exclusively used by British Airways. After the strike was initially called, British Airways cancelled more than 300 flights for the 10 day period up until Easter Sunday. Whilst Heathrow have said the airports operating as normal, many passengers will still be affected when trying to get away for their Easter holiday.

72 flights have been cancelled by British Airways for this Friday (31/03/2023) but they have assured customers that they will be able to get them onto a new flight within 24 hours of their original departure. British Airways bosses have assured customers that there are contingency plans in place to help deal with this strike action, allowing Terminal 5 to run as smoothly as possible.

Another issue facing passengers this Easter is the ongoing French air traffic control strikes. Strikes in France have been ongoing for weeks and there does not seem to be an end point in sight.

How can you protect yourself when travelling this Easter?

One thing you should make sure of is staying up to date with the latest news regarding the ongoing industrial action. Whilst Airlines should ensure their passengers are informed of any potential changes to their booking, you should make sure that you are also keeping up to date.

Another area where you can protect yourself is by taking out a Travel Insurance policy. Travel Insurance is there to protect you in case of unforeseen or unknown events taking place that cause you a financial loss. For instance, if you booked your holiday after the Heathrow strikes were announced, you would not benefit from cover such as cancellation or travel delay as this was a known risk when booking your holiday. However, if you were to book your trip prior to the industrial action being announced then you would benefit from these areas of cover, such as travel delay, as they were unknown at the time of purchase.

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This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording for the latest terms, conditions, and exclusions.


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