Hundreds of flights to Hong Kong have been cancelled as protests rock the city. Here's what to do if you're scheduled to fly there

AP Photo/Vincent ThianTravellers argue with protesters as they try to go through the departure gates of the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong.
  • More than 100 flights from Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled on Tuesday as protesters continued to occupy the airport for a fifth day.
  • Travellers were unable to get through the crowds to pass through security checkpoints, and videos showed police and protesters fighting. Protesters apologised to stranded travellers, saying they were “fighting for our freedom.”
  • Several airlines issued travel waivers, while others warned that future flight cancellations were possible. Here’s what you need to know if you’re scheduled to travel to Hong Kong.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As protests against the mainland Chinese government continue to rock Hong Kong, the city was forced to cancel hundreds of flights for a second day.

It was the fifth consecutive day of the protesters’ occupation of the arrival and departure halls at the airport. About 142 flights were cancelled, according to FlightAware, following more than 200 cancellations on Monday.

Photos and video posted online showed skirmishes between riot police and protesters as authorities tried to clear the airport to get flights operating again.

“We’re supposed to be home right now,” Sehem, a 23-year-old medical student trying to return to Europe, said to Time. “We’ve been in the airport for more than 24 hours, we’re super tired, we just want to go see our families-and we have exams in 10 days. We need to get home and study.”

Travellers scheduled to head to Hong Kong who are affected by the airport closures or are second-guessing trips to the city may have options from their airlines, but could also be left out of luck.

“If travellers had their flights canceled, they are unfortunately not entitled to other compensation,” Johnny Quach, the chief product officer at AirHelp, said in an email to Business Insider, “as this is an extraordinary circumstance beyond an airline’s control.”

For travellers who decide to proceed with their flights, Quach suggests leaving plenty of extra time, and not being surprised if there are disruptions.

“Travellers with planned flights out of Hong Kong International Airport may experience additional delays, increased lines at security, or overbooked flights once the airport is reopened as travellers try to adjust their plans accordingly,” he said.

Some travel insurance policies may allow passengers to cancel trips based on civil unrest – passengers should call their benefits provider to learn more. Similarly, travellers who bought their tickets with certain credit cards may be covered.

Additionally, airlines with service to Hong Kong International Airport are offering some limited measures to help passengers. Read on for details about each airline.


Cathay Pacific

Associated PressA man checks his smartphone while Cathay Pacific Airways planes park at the Hong Kong International Airport on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The chief executive of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said Monday there will be ‘disciplinary consequences’ for employees involved in ‘illegal protests,’ as the airline joins a slate of businesses that have appeased and apologised to China in recent days over political flaps. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon have cancelled hundreds of flights and suspended check-ins for Tuesday.

The airline encourages customers to postpone nonessential travel through at least Wednesday.

Passengers with bookings arriving or departing Hong Kong between August 12-14 can change their flights without charges, as long as they book before August 18. Passengers can also cancel their travel for a full refund. Visit Cathay’s site for more details.


Hong Kong Airlines

Bobby Yip/Reuters

Hong Kong Airlines cancelled around 20 flights on Tuesday, and advised travellers to monitor its flight status pages. It did not offer travel waivers.


American Airlines

AP

American Airlines cancelled a flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, but planned to operate the rest of its flights. It offered a travel waiver to allow passengers booked to travel August 12-15 to rebook for anytime before August 25.


United Airlines

United issued a travel waiver allowing passengers originally booked for travel from August 12-15 to reschedule it by August 20.


British Airways

Jack Taylor / Getty

British Airways said that it would waive change fees for passengers scheduled to travel from Hong Kong on August 13-15.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic cancelled Tuesday’s flights departing Hong Kong, but still planned to operate flights to the city from London Heathrow. It advised travellers to check its travel advisories page for more information.


Qantas

Qantas

Australian airline Qantas cancelled several flights to Hong Kong on Tuesday. The airline has not issued a travel waiver for passengers booked on other flights this week, but suggests that travellers closely monitor flight status.


Air China

Tupungato / ShutterstockAn Air China Boeing 747 in Beijing international airport in 2017.

Air China cancelled numerous flights to and from Hong Kong through Wednesday. The airline said it would offer rebookings or refunds to affected passengers.


Lufthansa

Lufthansa

Lufthansa said that it would rebook passengers who were scheduled to travel on Tuesday, but could not make it through the security checkpoint due to the protests.

The airline still planned its three flights to the city, and did not issue travel waivers. It recommended that passengers continue to check their flight’s status prior to heading to the airport.


Air France

Airbus

Air France cancelled its Tuesday night flight from Hong Kong to Paris. It did not provide information about the rest of the week’s schedule.

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