How Travel Insurance Covers Labor Strikes: Pilots, Airports, Trains and More

TLDR: One more thing to add to the list of “Things You Must Check Out When Buying Travel Protection”: Check to make sure you’re covered thoroughly in case of labor unrest. Travel protection plans from Generali Global Assistance fit that description.

If you’ve traveled in Europe in the summer you know: Airline strikes, air-traffic-controller strikes, and rail strikes are all too common. In fact, 2016 research found that European strikes affected travel for more than 220 days between 2010 and 2015.

2023 is shaping up as a record year for strikes, starting with a February strike that caused 1,200 flights to be canceled in Germany. Not only can labor strife mess up your travel, but it can also cost you money. Fortunately, travel insurance can help.

Let’s examine some of the ways travel insurance can help when strikes threaten your vacation.

Does travel insurance cover airline strikes?

To get the big question out of the way first, yes, travel insurance can cover airline strikes.

Generali Global Assistance’s Premium Plan (and all of Generali Global Assistance’s plans) list as a covered event for Trip Cancellation, Travel Delay, and Trip Interruption: “Organized labor strikes that affect public transportation.”

The devil’s in the details, so let’s unpack.

Prior to the list of covered events, the description of the Trip Interruption benefit stipulates that the covered events have to be “unforeseen.” That means no one could know it was coming.

Does that mean you won’t be covered if you buy a ticket for Europe in the middle of a pilot’s strike, and then cancel that trip because the strike’s made it impossible for you to get to Europe?

Probably. Generali’s policy is that once air-travel workers announce they are going on strike it becomes a foreseeable event, and most other travel insurers have similar stipulations.

On the other hand, as long as you didn’t know about the strike and it was unannounced at the time you insured your trip, it’s considered an unexpected event that is eligible for coverage.

Finally, your transportation has to be public. Strikes that impact private transportation don’t count.

Pro tip: Even though Generali Global Assistance plans cover strikes as a reason for trip interruption, delay, or cancellation, not all travel protection plans do. You need to read your plan documents to see how strikes are covered.

See more Surprising Travel Insurance Coverages

Pilot strikes vs. air-traffic-controller strikes

One of the great things about the Generali Global Assistance plans’ language regarding strikes as a covered reason for cancellation, interruption, and delay is that it doesn’t distinguish between pilot strikes, air-traffic-controller strikes, luggage-handler strikes, or flight-attendant strikes. If it affects the flight, it’s covered.

Not all travel protection plans have such broad language. Because coverage for labor issues isn’t a widely publicized thing, you may not be able to find out how your travel protection plan covers strikes by doing a general search of the internet. The only way you may be able to find an answer is by downloading and reading plan documents. You can see Generali Global Assistance’s here.

Also see: The Worst Airlines for Flight Delays

Rail and mass-transit strikes

Also read: The Fastest, Most Scenic and Popular Train Routes

Another positive with the Generali Global Assistance plans’ language surrounding labor unrest is that it doesn’t distinguish between modes of transportation.

Whether you’re on a cruise, a train, a bus, or a plane, the same rules apply.

So going with that concept for a minute, suppose you’re staying in the heart of Paris and need to get to De Gaulle Airport to catch a flight home, but mass transit and taxis are on strike and it’s Paris – you can’t get anywhere.

If you miss your flight, can travel insurance help?

Quite possibly – but you need to read your plan to be sure.


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