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UPDATED: What you need to know if you're affected by the SAS strike

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UPDATED: What you need to know if you're affected by the SAS strike
Around 70 percent of SAS flights are affected by the strike. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
09:03 CEST+02:00
Pilots for the SAS airline in Denmark, Sweden and Norway are striking, putting many flights at risk. Here's what you need to know about the strike and how it could affect you.

When is the strike taking place?

Both the airline and pilots had said they hoped to reach a resolution and avoid a strike.

But after negotiations broke down, members of the SAS Pilot group walked out on April 26th in all three countries. The group represents almost all (95 percent) of the airline's pilots in Scandinavia, 1,500 people in total.

A total of 1,409 pilots walked out on Friday, according to the SAS Pilot Group, including 372 in Denmark, 545 in Norway and 492 in Sweden. Ambulance flights and pilots working mainly in administration are not part of the strike.

It's unclear exactly how long the strike will last, so passengers with flights booked in late April and early May should follow updates on the situation.

Why are the pilots striking?

The strike comes after unsuccessful negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement between the pilot group and the airline. Salary increases are the biggest sticking point but other issues relate to working hours and scheduling.

The SAS Pilot group has said that their salary requests are in line with the market rate, while one SAS negotiator called their requests "unreasonable and extreme".

IN DEPTH: Why are strikes so rare in Sweden?

How do I know if my flight is affected?

Not all flights are cancelled or delayed. Flights operated by SAS partners are unaffected, but that leaves around 70 percent of scheduled flights, including most domestic, European and all long-haul flights.

Some 2,802 departures have been cancelled since Friday, with a total of 110,000 passengers hit by the Monday and Tuesday cancellations. According to the airline, this brings the number of affected passengers up to 279,334.

SAS has published a list of flights which are guaranteed to operate despite the strike, which you can find here. You can also search your flight number (which you can find by logging into SAS or by checking your flight confirmation email) to see your flight's status.

If your flight has not been guaranteed, it's a good idea to keep checking the SAS website to check the status of your flight. The airline has said it aims to keep customers informed via text message.

If my flight is affected, what are my options?

SAS has offered free re-booking to some passengers.

In order to apply for the free re-booking, you need to meet a few conditions.

- Your flight was booked directly with SAS

- Your flight has not yet been cancelled

- Your flight is scheduled to depart before May 5th

- Your ticket number starts with 117 

- Your ticket was purchased before April 24th, via SAS' website, app or call centre.

If you meet these conditions but booked via a travel agent, you should contact the agent about re-booking.

If you re-book, the flight must take place between May 13th and September 30th, 2019. You can read more here.

If you decide not to re-book and see how things turn out, you'll have a few different options if a strike does take place.

Under EU law, you should receive food and drink plus monetary compensation for delays over a certain time, and compensation or free re-booking if your flight is cancelled.

But passengers' entitlement to monetary compensation depends on whether the delay or cancellation is due to "extraordinary circumstances", defined as events that couldn't have been avoided even if the airline took all reasonable measures. Occasionally, strikes are deemed to be "extraordinary circumstances". SAS is currently arguing that the ongoing strike is beyond its control, and it will not offer any cash compensation.

READ MORE: What are my rights if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

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