EasyJet and Alitalia cancel hundreds of flights as Italian airport and air traffic control staff go on strike – The Sun

HUNDREDS of flights have been cancelled by airlines including easyJet, British Airways and Alitalia due to a strike by airport and air traffic control staff in Italy.

The 24-hour strike over pay and working conditions started.

Milan and Rome airports are expected to be the worst affected, with the most flight cancellations.

EasyJet has cancelled a number of flights from London Gatwick and London Luton to Milan and Rome in response to the strike.

Italian airline Alitalia has cancelled 325 flights, starting from tonight until the morning of the 22nd.

This includes 12 UK flights from London Heathrow and London City Airport to Rome and Milan.

Flights between 7am and 10am and 6pm and 9pm tomorrow are planned to operate as scheduled.

Alitalia passengers affected can rebook their flight at no extra cost by May 28 or get a full refund.

A statement on the Alitalia website explains: "Due to a 24-hour air transport sector strike confirmed by some Italian trade unions for Tuesday 21 May, Alitalia was forced to cancel half of its flights scheduled for that day, as well as some flights scheduled for the late evening of 20 May and the early morning of 22 May."

Brits who are travelling to Italy this week should contact their airline to see if they have been affected.

Passengers have complained on social media about having their flights cancelled: "@easyJet stuck in Pisa no email no SMS to advise of cancellation.

"Only option is to travel tomorrow via another airline in another country Italian city. Who pays the costs for airline tickets other transfers eg train and hotel accommodation?"

Another person tweeted: "Why are @British_Airways not replying when they've cancelled my flight (less than 24 hrs notice) I've been on hold for an hr & the compensation team have put the phone down.

"Will I be entitled to compensation for a new hotel booking and taxi because of the Italian Air strike?"

An easyJet spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: "EasyJet has been advised of a 24 hours national air transport strike in Italy on Tuesday 21 May.

"Like other airlines flying to and from Italy, easyJet has been required to cancel a proportion of its Italian programme.

"Customers on cancelled flights can change their flight free of charge or receive a refund. We advise customers to make any amendments to their booking on easyJet.com/ manage bookings and have advised all affected customers of any flight changes via e-mail and SMS."

The airline also advises passengers to arrive much earlier if travelling from Italy in case of airport delays: "We recommend to all customers departing from an Italian airport on Tuesday 21 May to allow extra time to pass through airport security as queues may be longer than usual and to every passenger flying to or from Italy to check the status of their flight on easyJet.com and Flight Tracker for live updates.

"Although this is outside of our control we would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience and would like to assure them that we are doing all possible to minimise any disruption as a result of the industrial action."

British Airways have also cancelled a number of flights.

A spokesperson for BA told Sun Online Travel: "Like other airlines, we're impacted by industrial action taking place throughout Italy on Tuesday, which is resulting in a small number of flight delays and cancellations beyond our control.

"We are monitoring the situation and encourage all customers to provide contact details in their bookings so that we can keep them up to date with the latest information regarding their flights.

"We are offering affected customers a range of options, including travelling on a different date or applying for a full refund."

Last week, a number of flights to and from Brussels Airport were also cancelled following a sudden air traffic control strike.

There may be compensation for delayed or cancelled flights depending on the cause.

Passengers who have travel insurance might also be covered depending on their policy.

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