Last Updated: 05/28/2024 12:16PM ET

Ongoing unrest between airlines and pilots regarding labor issues has continued building in early 2023, as potential strikes may be imminent.

Most recently, on May 19, 2023, Canadian airline WestJet cancelled hundreds of flights ahead of a planned pilot strike. The strike which was ultimately called off as labor disputes were resolved.

Potential airline strikes have been an ongoing topic of conversation since late 2022. During that time, the following airlines either authorized strikes or held informal conversations regarding a potential strike:

  • On May 13, 2023, more than 2,000 United Airlines pilots picketed at major airports across the United States as the threat of a formal strike increases
  • Southwest Airlines pilots voted to authorize a strike on May 11, 2023, just months after the airline experienced strong of cancellations relating to system outages
  • On May 1, 2023, American Airlines pilots voted to authorize a strike ahead of the busy summer travel season
  • On October 31, 2022, Delta pilots voted to authorize a strike, and can walk off the job with permission from the National Mediation Board after a 30-day cooling off period
  • Since November 2022, employees at American Airlines and United Airlines have held informal pickets at major airports demanding new contracts
  • U.K. Border Force workers will strike on eight days during the key 2022 holiday travel dates – including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve – creating potential for travel disruptions at six airports, including London Heathrow Airport

Within many travel insurance policies, the Trip Cancellation benefit can provide coverage for travel disruptions caused by strikes. This benefit can cover 100% of a traveler’s prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses if they are forced to cancel due to a strike by their airline, as long as they purchased before the strike was announced.

However, once the strike is announced, it is considered foreseen becomes excluded by travel insurance plans. This means that a traveler must have purchased their policy before the strike was announced in order for coverage to apply. For example, for most providers, the American Airlines strikes are not covered by policies purchased after May 1, 2023.

The Airline Pilot Strikes Travel Insurance Information Center includes advice for travelers and answers to our most commonly asked question

Questions? Squaremouth’s travel insurance experts are on hand to answer your questions about coverage relating to the airline pilot strikes. We are available from 8am to 10pm ET daily by chat and by phone at 1-800-240-0369.

Once a strike is announced, it is considered foreseen and becomes excluded by most travel insurance policies.

If you have an upcoming trip and have concerns about potential pilot strikes impacting your travel plans, Squaremouth's experts are available to answer your questions. If you already have a policy, contact your provider's 24-Hour Emergency Assistance for help.

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