World Nomads’ travel advice as strikes set to impact holidays


Photo © Getty Images / baona
  • Strike action in UK, France, Spain may impact travel during Easter and May bank holidays
  • Airport strikes are ‘known events’, and will affect policy coverage for those yet to buy
  • Passport strikes could delay passports arriving; travellers are not covered for cancellations

Media Release: London – 

A slew of potential strikes throughout the UK and Europe is expected to affect travellers going abroad over the Easter and May bank holidays.

Security guards at Heathrow, British passport office staff and Spanish air traffic controllers are all expected strike in the coming months. The outlook for France is also unclear with rolling protests and strikes in opposition to the government’s decision to raise the pension age.

Planned disruptions follow on from widespread industrial action across the UK this spring, which according to the latest figures from the ONS, resulted in 13% of those impacted by rail strikes unable to travel for holiday or leisure as planned.

World Nomads, the global travel insurance company, has provided clear advice on when travel insurance covers consumers for the disruption caused by industrial action and what Brits can do to save their well-earned breaks. 

“Strikes and protests are slated to disrupt precious Easter and May bank holiday plans,” said Jonathan Frankham, World Nomads General Manager UK and Europe. “But you can minimise the impact on your holiday with proper preparation and an understanding of your travel insurance coverage.

“Check policy wording for coverage in case of trip cancellation or curtailment before departure, including any terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions that may apply.

“If you believe your travel plans may be affected by the strikes, we advise you to contact your travel provider as a first step to determine the impact on your trip. If you need to make changes to your travel arrangements, they may be able to assist you.

“Ensure your passport is valid and up to date before travel. Unfortunately, if you are impacted by passport office delays and need to change your travel arrangements, you’re not covered. We’d strongly recommend waiting until you have received your passport before booking your trip and taking out travel insurance.

“Book your travel insurance when you book your holiday accommodation or flights so that if industrial action strikes after you’ve booked, you are covered. If you buy travel insurance and strikes are already planned, these are ‘known events’ and you’re not covered.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

What strikes are taking place? 

  • In the UK, security guards at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 will strike for 10 days between 21 March and 9 April (Easter Sunday) to demand better pay. Passport office workers will also strike between 3 April to 5 May to demand better pay and working conditions.
  • In Spain, Swissport ground workers and cargo handlers will hold a series of 24-hour walkouts occurring every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday until 13 April to demand better pay and working conditions This is expected to cause disruption at some of Spain’s busiest airports including Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Alicante, Valencia, Murcia and Malaga.

Does travel insurance cover passports that haven’t arrived in time?

Travellers are not covered in any instance if they need to cancel their trip because passports haven’t arrived on time. The UK HM Passport Office currently states that travellers should allow up to 10 weeks for delivery of new documents.

Does travel insurance cover the Swissport and Heathrow strike action? 

If a Certificate of Insurance was issued before the time and day the strike was announced, travellers may be covered for strike-related events that impact their travel plans. However, policies purchased afterwards may not offer cover, as the strike would be considered a ‘known event’. 

What coverage may be included for these strikes? 

The coverage offered will depend on the insurance policy travellers have chosen. World Nomads’ Explorer Plan offers coverage for missed connections and trip interruptions, provided the travel insurance policy was purchased before the announcement of the strike action, while the Standard Plan does not offer cover for such events. 

World Nomads’ Explorer Plan may have cover to help with expenses if plans are disrupted:  

  • Pre-trip cancellation: Where the carrier booked to travel has been cancelled or delayed for more than 24 hours before departure from the UK. Travellers may be eligible for reimbursement of their non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses.    
  • Travel delay on-trip: If the strike results in the cessation or delay of your common carrier's transport services for at least 12 hours, there may be coverage for additional travel and accommodation expenses due to this trip interruption.
  • Missed Connection: If travellers fail, as a result of strike action, to arrive in time to board an onward connecting carrier on which they were booked to travel, including connections within the United Kingdom.

The expenses that may be reimbursed include travel, lodging, or missed excursions. The amount received could be up to the maximum benefit amount specified in the policy document. Travellers are always advised to check their policy documents for more details. 

What should travellers do if their plans are affected by these strikes? 

Travellers are advised to contact their airline or tour operator to check for potential impacts and to change travel arrangements where necessary.  In the event of a claim, it is important to take all steps to reduce the cost of the claim and provide all supporting documentation of the event and expenses incurred where necessary. 

What else can travellers do to minimise travel disruption during this period? 

Checking in online before arriving at the airport and allowing more time to arrive and pass through airport security can help save time and reduce potential waiting times, particularly with the increase in passenger numbers expected over the Easter and May Bank Holiday periods. Where possible, the use of eGates is preferable as it can also alleviate further delays for other passengers. 

Travellers are also advised to consider that other ad-hoc events can have further impacts on delay time, such as adverse weather conditions.

Media contacts

Australia/New Zealand:

Michelle Innis


Phone: +61 414 999 693


Graham Lynch


Phone: +353 86 831 784


Mandy Morrissey


Phone: +1 510 775 0780


About World Nomads

World Nomads is a fast-growing global travel insurance company. We provide inspirational stories, safety tips and specialised travel insurance for adventurous and independent travellers. Our online travel insurance offers cover for travellers for more than 100 countries and allows you to buy and cliam online, 24/7, even while already travelling.

Our travel insurance focuses on what we believe is important to travellers: emergency medical and evacuation costs, baggage, trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption costs. We also offer cover for more than 150 adventure sports and activities, plus tech and get. Our policies are underwritten by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support, making us a top choice for many of the world's leading adventure, independent and youth travel brands.