If I understand correctly, if an airline cancels a flight due to reasons beyond their control (a strike for example), passengers do not receive compensation under EU rules.

What are your rights if you have to reschedule your flight, due to reasons beyond your control (a strike for example, see below)? Can you, for example, reschedule free of charge?

Elaborated info:
The Greek seaman are currently on strike. This means there is no (public) transport from many of the smaller islands to the mainland. Due to this strike, some people I know were forced to reschedule their flight, as they couldn't get to the airport. Hopefully, the strike won't be extented another time, otherwise they would have to reschedule the flight again.

  • 4
    No luck. The airline is generally not concerned about your passage outside their control. You have no rights, none at all. If they cut you a deal it's their generosity. May 19, 2017 at 20:38
  • Seinfeld did a bit on a similar situation: when the doctor cancells your appointment due to unforeseen circumstances, you just have to come on the next day. But if you cancel the appointment for the same unforeseen circumstances you have to pay a fee for rescheduling. Whoever holds the cards is calling the shots.
    – JonathanReez
    May 19, 2017 at 22:56
  • Passenger's death is often cause enough to get a refund. Sometimes death of a direct family member also can be used as an excuse to reschedule. Less than that? Nah.
    – user4188
    May 20, 2017 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


Generally if the airline is not responsible, they owe you nothing. But that's why travel insurance exists. In the case you cited typically most policies would cover you for most expenses, including extra nights in a hotel and meal allowance. If the airline charges you a rescheduling fee or makes you buy a new ticket, your insurance company will pick that up too. Some may weasel out of it on the grounds of civil unrest, but that's probably a good one to take to the ombudsman.

If you were on a regulated holiday package, generally the travel company would be on the hook instead for stuff like this if the travel was included, but you would get the same, if not greater cover for expenses.


Unfortunately for the traveler, the airlines are in no way responsible for the actions by Greek seamen. So, you need to make appropriate plans to deal with it.

However, if the actions are predictable, it is not unusual for airlines to offer some flexibility so that everyone, including them, can work around the issue. They don't want to have to deal with a mass of stranded passengers either.

  • 1
    "Making appropriate plans" is exactly the thing that is impossible in an unpredictable situation like this. To me, it still seems unfair that an airline can claim "force majeure", and passengers can't.
    – RHA
    May 20, 2017 at 20:18
  • It's not a force majeure because someone, like the union, decided to strike. Otherwise, people would claim force majeure for every little thing like too many red lights or the kid's game went overtime.
    – DTRT
    May 21, 2017 at 0:26
  • @RHA Sorry, while you may not like it, that's how it works. The point is the airline has nothing to do with what the union or anyone else does so it's still part of the travelers responsibility to deal with such situations. The traveler can purchase insurance to cover them in such eventualities.
    – DTRT
    May 21, 2017 at 22:39

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