Iceland Air pilot strike

Ugh. This is starting to worry me. Anyone care to guess if this will get resolved soon?

Posted by lisar
8 posts

Hi Dawn, I'm in Denver too!
Our flight leaves on June 4th, but it will be after a 4 day strike ending on the third. After watching what happened with Friday's one day strike, it looks like flights were still cancelled thru today...so I'm getting nervous. Been planning this trip for a year now:(

Posted by Pamela
Haddon Township, NJ, USA
2 posts

I'm in Reykjavik now and finding it hard to get info. Looks like only one flight is cancelled today but yesterday many were cancelled. Hopefully I will get home today!

Posted by lisar
8 posts

Pamela, did you make it home? I just read thru the Wall Street Journal that now there might be another strike with the cabin crew on different days.

Posted by peter.mckee
1 posts

Does anyone know that dates the pilots are planning to strike? I am flying home from Canada to UK for my own wedding and am getting very worried.

Posted by lisar
8 posts

I've been following this very closely...May 9th was the beginning of a series of planned strikes:

From 06:00 AM on 9 May 2014 until 06:00 PM on 9 May 2014.
From 06:00 AM on 16 May 2014 until 06:00 PM on 16 May 2014.
From 06:00 AM on 20 May 2014 until 06:00 PM on 20 May 2014.
From 06:00 AM on 23 May 2014 until 06:00 AM on 25 May 2014.
From 06:00 AM on 30 May 2014 until 06:00 AM on 3 June 2014.

And then there's another possible strike for Icelandair cabin crew:
From 6 am on 27 May 2014 to midnight the same day.
From 6 am on 6 June to 6 am on 7 June 2014.
From 6 am on 12 June to 6 am on 14 June 2014.
From 6 am on 19 June 2014.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8025 posts

As my sister said recently, "I wish worrying helped more." I really can't guess whether negotiations will avert some planned strikes. I suppose the airline won't re-reroute or re-book you until your scheduled flight is actually cancelled (although some European railways do that when strikes are planned). If you booked the tickets through a travel agent, they might have other resources.

Posted by lisar
8 posts

I'm in Denver, and flights are still being cancelled for tomorrow, and that was just from a one day strike back on Friday. We didn't want to take any chances, so have decided to cancel our booking with Iceland Air and have booked with British Airways. I just didn't want to take any chances, since we don't have a flexible schedule. I just can't imagine the chaos the four day strike is going to cause which ends the day before we are scheduled to leave.

Posted by greentreenc
2 posts

Our flight was scheduled to leave from Boston last night. We tried to print boarding passes earlier in the day and couldn't so called. We were assured there was no problem. Then got to the airport and our flight had been cancelled. No phone call or email. No possibility of another flight. They had people backed up for several days of cancelled flights. At first we were told just to wait about an hour and they could probably get us on another flight. When we didn't hear we got back in line. They said there was no way, unless we would consider trying to go to Frankfort, Germany and wait for a possible flight from there. We asked for a refund. We have been planning this trip for over six months. Huge disappointment. I guess we're better stuck here than there. Do not believe what they tell you! Don't plan to go till this strike is resolved. There were a lot of very upset people at the airport last night - some who had been there for a couple of days.

Posted by greentreenc
2 posts

One more thing. About those strike dates, we were told that there were certain strike days but the pilots were calling in sick every day.

Posted by lisar
8 posts

I also read about the pilot's calling in sick:( What a mess. And now there's the "cabin crew" potential strike too.

Posted by Tony Caliendo
Denver, CO, USA
129 posts

Again, I am concerned. What is especially frustrating is the lack of ANY media coverage of this. Do an internet search and you get days old information about what has already happened, not about projected strike dates. Like most other travelers on this forum, we've made plans for hotels, theater, etc. and with a late departure time from Denver on our projected date, there will be no alternative flights to get us to Britain on our projected date. What a mess.

Posted by cmontroy
34 posts

OK, I am freaking out. However, my flight is not until June 28. I guess I have to keep my fingers crossed that they work this out by then. I can't afford to fly on any other airline.

Posted by meweigel
1 posts

What are the choices:

Will not get a full refund if cancelling the trip
Have to pay 750.00 to change two tickets

I have a very tight travel window and cannot take the chance of missing a flight. I realize that anything can happen when flying, but this is a very unclear and frustrating situation.

Thanks Icelandair for keeping my money, providing me with few alternatives and wrecking my vacation.

Posted by Jenny
Bothell, WA
53 posts

I read that the Icelandic Parliament "banned" the pilots' strike. Whatever that really means, it's fantastic news! I hope that's the end of it (fingers and toes crossed)! So sorry for everyone who had to scramble or cancel plans. Jenny

Posted by Tony Caliendo
Denver, CO, USA
129 posts

Well, I hope this ends the dispute.

I guess those of us that chose to use Iceland air because of the low fares will think again before traveling with them.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
2796 posts

This can happen with any airline. Or any form of transportation.

Posted by Anna
Seattle, WA, United States
723 posts

Woah, thanks for the heads-up. We were already affected by the May 9th strike (were supposed to fly from Reykjavik to London but were delayed by a day and had to spend the night at the Oslo airport). We are supposed to fly from Copenhagen to Seattle on May 24th, so this latest news is really troubling...I will have to keep monitoring the Icelandair and Keflavik airport websites to make sure we can actually go home.

By the way, they said they would compensate us EUR 250 for the May 9th strike, but no luck hearing back from them about that yet.

Edit: apparently, they have until June 1st to reach some kind of resolution lest they go before a tribunal. I hate to be selfish about this, but I hope they can hold it together until after we get home! Copenhagen will be an expensive place to be stuck...

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
2796 posts

Would this Airline have to follow EU law which protects passengers from having to pay meals and lodging in case of a delay or cancellation? Does anyone have the correct info at hand, the name of the law and how these passengers should process claims. We've had the info on the Helpline before.

Posted by Tony Caliendo
Denver, CO, USA
129 posts

Just to muddy the waters a little more...

Icelandair cancelled multiple flights today (5/17) due to a "pilot shortage". Go to their travel alerts though, and they are now saying "All flights are operating according to schedule."
Hmmm.

Thanks for the update on Travelers rights in the EU; that's good information!

Posted by Debbie
Londonderry NH
2 posts

We are leaving via Icelandair on June 5th from Boston. Today was the first I had heard about these strikes. We have trip insurance through Rick Steves’. Do you know if trip insurance will cover change fees if you proactively change your flight to another airline? We booked directly with Icelandair but are thinking of changing to Aer Lingus. Not even sure if there will be any seats…

We only planned to arrive two days early for our Best of Europe tour that starts on June 8th. With all of this money and over a year of planning I would rather not be stuck in Boston or Iceland and miss the start of our tour… All suggestions welcome! We are new to this type of ‘adventure’...

Posted by Marsha
Richmond, VA, USA
15 posts

dvpotter, you should have received a copy of your trip insurance policy when you paid. It would be worth reading to find out what's covered. If it isn't clear after that, it would be a good idea to call whatever company the insurance is through, and ask them directly.

I am following this thread for personal reasons, as well - my family and I are supposed to fly to Scandinavia on Icelandair in late July! According to an article I read online in Air Transport World, if no agreement is reached by June 1, then it will go to an arbitration court, which will decide on pilot wages and benefits before July 1. Cold comfort to those passengers in limbo in the meantime!

Posted by Debbie
Londonderry NH
2 posts

I checked with Travel Guard and they will not reimburse any fees unless you are actually stranded. I prefer not to take that chance. So, we just rebooked our flights with another airline and are canceling our Icelandair flights. It is not worth the worry and the headache for what has ended up being just a couple of hundred dollars difference. And, the best things is that we are now flying direct.

While I know that all airlines experience strikes on occasion, I don’t like the way that Icelandair has handled the communication about these planned strikes so I will probably never book with them again.

Best wishes to everyone impacted by this series of events. I hope that we all get to where we need to go and enjoy our vacations!

Posted by Connie
Wenatchee, WA, USA
2 posts

We fly out May 28 from Seattle to Copenhagen. I just heard the news about the strike today. I talked to Travel Guard, Costco who booked our cruise for us, Expedia where we booked our flight, and Icelandic Air. Icelandic Air has assured me that we will get rebooked if needed. Expedia helped us the most. They called Icelandic Air and found out that if things are still up in the air by 5 days prior to our travel we should call back and they will rebook us on another airline with no charge to us. The only way that Travel Guard will pay the difference for a rebooking on the flight is if Icelandic Air is actually on strike on the day we were scheduled to fly. You have to pay out of pocket and then file a claim. And, since the cost of a British Airways one way ticket is about $2100 right now, we're not going to cancel and rebook at this time. Costco checked with Celebrity Choice Air and they could have gotten us a flight for about $1200 each, but that is still $700 more than we paid months ago when we booked our flight. Since we leave on a cruise on May 30th we are just hoping for the best right now.

Posted by joefackler
8 posts

This is just a general comment. We too are in suspense regarding if and when we will get to Europe because of the strike. We did not get travel insurance as a strike never occurred to us. We have decided that as we built one extra day into the beginning of our trip and the tour starts in Amsterdam and will be there a few days, rather than lose the whole deal we a going to see what happens, and if we have to, chase the tour by train or rental car. The first few days are not high on our must see list so if we have to have an unexpected adventure , oh well. Not the best option but all we can do at this point is
hope for the best. We like Rick Steves's tours but the no refund policy ( though totally understandable)
forces us to be a bit creative.
If anybody else has a great idea we are open to suggestions. Booking another flight is out of the question due to cost.
However, like everyone, we hope this strike gets squared away. If Iceland can't get this resolved maybe they deserve to lose the estimated billions in tourist and flight revenue.
Wishing the best to the rest of you who are in the same situation.

Posted by joefackler
8 posts

I received an email this A.M. from Icelandair. The strike is over! Pilots signed an agreement. Still possible flight attendant strike for one day on the 28th. of May. One less worry.

Posted by Connie
Wenatchee, WA, USA
2 posts

Where is the May 28 cabin crew date coming from? Can't find anything regarding this date. I do see a possible may 27 date. We fly on May 28 Seattle to Copemhagen.

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
423 posts

Oh, oh, I thought we were safe! We fly out on Oct. 7th... I thought for sure the strike would be over by then. Let's home this temporary agreement turns into a permanent one.

I'm so happy though that the people flying now won't have to worry about this! Happy and safe travels everyone!

Posted by joefackler
8 posts

Reply to Connie regarding May 28 date. I was given that date by an email from Icelandair. You might try emailing them. It will take a day for response if my experience is typical. This is the kind of stuff that takes some of the "joy" out of travel. It's more bearable if you are not locked in to a definite arrival or departure time but for those of us hooking up with a Rick Steves' tour it makes it challenging to say the least. good luck to all those who are traveling.

Posted by Anna
Seattle, WA, United States
723 posts

I believe the pilot dispute has now been settled. Not as sure about the potential cabin crew disputes.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that Icelandair is now refusing to issue any compensation for our cancelled May 9th flight, other than any receipts for food that we submit to them. The person who rebooked us that day at Keflavik told us we will be compensated 250 EUR, which seemed in line with EU regulations (maybe even a bit short, since LHR is over 1,500km away from Keflavik, which increases compensation to 400 EUR).

We sent an e-mail requesting said compensation, as directed by the rep at the airport, and 3 weeks later we get a reply that says they will actually only reimburse us for hotels and food costs incurred by the delay. I am pretty dismayed by the fact that the "food and hotel" caveats were not communicated to us by the Icelandair rep. Also, given the timeline of our re-route, we couldn't even book a hotel - they replaced our direct flight to London with a flight that landed in Olso after midnight and left for London before 8am the next day. After security and getting in/out of the airport in Olso, we would've had maybe 5 hours to get to and from a hotel, in the middle of the night. So we ended up spending the night at the airport while our paid-for room in London sat empty AND we missed a whole day in London, but apparently Icelandair doesn't think all of this merits any compensation outside of reimbursing us for whatever airport food we ate for those 24 hours. They're not replying to any of our attempts to follow up with them either.

Basically, I will never fly Icelandair again and would dissuade anyone I know from flying with them. Which is a shame, because Iceland itself is a lovely country.

Posted by Marsha
Richmond, VA, USA
15 posts

Nothing new on the planned mechanics' strike, other than there hasn't been a settlement yet, so the mechanics are still planning to strike for 24 hours on June 16, then start a general strike on June 19. Air Transport World, an aviation industry publication, did a story a couple of days ago: http://m.atwonline.com/labor/icelandair-faces-indefinite-strike-action. Stay tuned...I am scheduled to fly Icelandair in late July, so I am watching this closely.

Posted by bkgeremia
1 posts

After reading all this and following the links, the nagging and worrying fear of running into issues next week washed over me. My kids and I are supposed to fly on the 19th from Boston via KEF to Glasgow. So I contacted Iceland Air. I did not get a reply through email yet, but they were quick to answer via Facebook.

This is what I was told: "There is a possible strike on the 16th of June, we are of course hoping that an agreement will be reached before then. IF your flights will be affected we will do all possible to get you to your destination, we would even look into using other airlines. With this said, at the moment we are only focusing on 16.June reservations. In the light of the situation, send us a message or call our call center on the 16th. then hopefully we will know more. Best regards and thank you for you understanding!"

I will see what Monday will bring and if it looks even more certain that there will be a strike, I will see if there is any possibility for them to get us on the flight on Wednesday instead. My kids would miss the last day of school, but who cares if that means not missing a day in the UK. I am skeptical though that the air line would do so, esp. since we are just three people on vacation...