Strikes cause travel headache for BA passengers

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The Independent Travel

Passengers booked to fly with British Airways on this month's strike days will have to go through the small print of their insurance policies and navigate around the BA website to find out just what effect the dispute will have on their travel plans.

BA has said not all its flights will be cancelled but it has temporarily stopped selling seats on flights operating on the strike days - March 20-22 and March 27-30.

The airline has also said that until it revises its flying schedule next week, all passengers who have booked to travel between March 19 and 31 will have the choice of either rebooking or cancelling and obtaining a refund.

Holiday Which? head of research Rochelle Turner said: "We are pleased that BA has agreed to refund anyone with a flight booked during the strike action, and we understand this is the best BA can offer in such a difficult situation.

"At least this gives people some certainty and will allow them to make alternative travel arrangements without fear of paying twice for the same trip."

She went on: "Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that people will still end up out of pocket as even if people can find a flight on the day they want to travel, flights booked at short notice tend to be more expensive."

BA has said it will operate all flights from London City airport, including long-haul services to New York.

From Gatwick it plans to operate all long-haul services and about 50% of short-haul.

From Heathrow, it says it will operate a substantial part of its long-haul and short-haul schedule.

BA says it is also obtaining seats on flights operated by other carriers to offer to its customers.

If you are booked on a flight between London City and New York (JFK) or a long-haul flight to or from London Gatwick, the original fare rules will apply, so unless you have a flexible ticket you will not be able to change your plans without incurring a cost.

Those travellers flying between March 19 and 30 who choose to rebook will be able to rebook on to another BA flight within 355 days of the original date of travel at no extra charge, subject to availability.

If passengers are holding a BA booking for a hotel, a car, a transfer or a travel experience booked in conjunction with a cancelled flight they will also be able to rebook outside the strike period for up to 355 days from the original date of travel.

Rebookings are subject to availability and will be free of charge when rearranged on a like-for-like basis.