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The Traveller's Magazine
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Update: if you are looking for information about September 29th strike, please read our latest article.

Air traffic controllers are making history in Spain this month. For the first time, they will participate in a legal union strike that will last for three days, potentially disrupting the travel of up to 2 million airline passengers, around 300,00 of which will be Britions.

Vacationers heading to Spain this month for their holiday should watch out, they may be some of the millions stranded at home or in Spain waiting for flights home or to their final holiday destination.

Air traffic controller’s wages in Spain were reduced in February earlier this year by about 40% after it came to light that some were making as much as £800,000 yearly (just for comparison’s sake, air traffic controllers in the UK make £60-90,000 a year). The current average wage after cutbacks is £167,000.

This is the summer for air traffic controller strikes it seems and many traveller’s plans in Spain and France have be disrupted due to these strikes, let alone the exhaustively ongoing cabin crew strike at British Airways.

Although the official strike date isn’t set, there are plans for it to start on August 18th, 2010.

Airlines like Ryanair are pleading with the government to step in and draft military personnel to do the job so that flights can still operate. Tourism makes up 11% of Spain’s totally economy and a hiccup like this could do some serious damage.

What to do if Spain’s air traffic controllers strike?

  • Travellers should stay in touch with their airlines and watch for updates on cancelled flights to Spain on the airline company’s website before heading to the airport.
  • Passengers will likely have the option of re-booking for free on a later flight or being refunded if the first option isn’t possible.
  • The best way to protect yourself during a strike like this is to have flexible travel dates. Can you leave a few days later? Are your other plans fixed? Try as best as possible to stay flexible at least until you find out more information on your flights.
  • Go somewhere else. If your flight is cancelled and you’re offered a refund, why not grab a cheap flight to Greece instead?
  • Read the fine print: does your travel insurance cover labour disruptions? If so, you’re in the clear. You’ll have no problem re-booking or getting your money back.

**If you need to search for alternative flights or last minute hotels because your holidays will be disrupted, use to find your travel deals from among 250 sites and 600 airlines.

Img: anjin / flickr cc

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31 responses to “Air traffic controllers plan to strike in Spain

  1. katie
    Although flying on 21st, so should be OK re the Spanish strike, do you have any more information on the UK baggage handlers going on strike? The press is saying up to the bank holiday but is no clearer on dates?

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