As protests escalate, is it safe to travel to Barcelona?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Barcelona is experiencing civil unrest in response to lengthy prison sentences handed to Catalan politicians for their participation in the Catalonian separatist movement. After a guilty verdict was released Monday morning, protesters took the streets, blocking the airport and the streets leading up to it.
Although many of the protests around the city have been peaceful, some have used barricades and fire to incite more serious disturbances, resulting in altercations with the Mossos (Catalan police). La Vanguardia reports that 74 people have been injured and 25 detained. Protests and riots have also spread to nearby cities such as Girona, Tarragona and Lleida.
Through a movement called Tsunami Democràtic, protesters managed to block the route to Barcelona–El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport (BCN) airport and cause flight cancellations: 108 flights were canceled on Monday, Oct. 14 (including American Airlines flights from Barcelona to New York, Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia) and 45 on Tuesday, Oct. 15 due to the disturbances. Several RENFE trains were also canceled, and many highways and streets were blocked.
The same group of protesters called for a similar movement to take place at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) but it didn’t gain momentum, and no flights were displaced there.
While it seems the El Prat airport is functioning normally at the moment, a Spanish Air Traffic Controller told The Points Guy, “The situation is very unstable. No one knows what will happen. Right now, flights are arriving and departing as planned, but make sure to check with your airline or via AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea) to see if any cancellations or closures occur.”
Currently, most of the RENFE train system is operating normally, though there are some delays with AVE trains running between Madrid and Barcelona as well as some delays and closures among regional trains operating within Catalonia.
For those flying out of Barcelona
If you’re flying out of Barcelona (BCN) today or this week, make sure to leave plenty of time to get to the airport in case of road closures or other incidents. If your flight was or is canceled, there is a number provided that tourists can call for assistance: +34932853834.
— Airport BCN — El Prat (@AirportBCN_Info) October 14, 2019
These are the airlines offering travel waivers
If you’re traveling to / through / from:
- Barcelona, Spain (BCN)
Your change fee may be waived if you:
- Are traveling on an American Airlines flight
- Bought your ticket by Oct. 14, 2019
- Are scheduled to travel Oct. 14 — 18, 2019
- Can travel Oct. 14 — 21, 2019
- Don’t change your origin or destination city
- Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference
Change your trip
If your trip is eligible, you can change it online. Here’s how:
- Find your trip
- If your trip is eligible, you’ll see the option to ‘change trip’ in the toolbar
If you hold a ticket flying through Barcelona (BCN) or Madrid (MAD) for travel dates Oct. 15, 2019 — Oct. 17, 2019, the change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before Oct. 20, 2019, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed. View your reservation and select Change Flight to search for alternate flights. Original ticket must have been purchased by Oct. 13, 2019.
Due to the general strike that is to be held in Catalonia called by Intersindical-CSC Unions and the IAC for Oct. 18, 2019 customers with an Iberia operated 075 ticketed issued by 16th October to or from Barcelona who wish to move their departure away from the day of the strike, may rebook to an alternative date up to 23rd October. If you’ve booked a flight that may be affected, enter your contact details Booking management so that the airline can notify you of any important changes to your trip. To change your ticket, call 1-800-772-4642 24 hours a day.
You can only rebook KLM flights without a change fee if your original travel date was Oct. 14- or Oct. 15, 2019. To rebook, log in to My Trip and change your travel dates and/or destination or contact KLM for more assistance.
You can only rebook Delta flights without a change fee if your original travel date was Oct. 14 or Oct. 15, 2019. To change your flight, visit My Trips on delta.com and click on “Modify Flight.”
If you still plan to travel to Barcelona or are there now
Currently, the U.S. Department of State maintains that Spain is still a Level Two Travel Advisory, stating to exercise increased caution.
If you plan to travel to Barcelona in the immediate future, avoid the main protest areas and continue to monitor the situation for any possible flight cancellations or delays. If your hotel is on a main street like Via Laietana or Passeig de Gracia, you may want to consider booking a second, cancelable backup in case the protests continue.
On Wednesday, October 16, there is a protest scheduled for 7 p.m. along Gran Via and Carrer Marina, so steer clear of this area and consider booking alternative accommodation if necessary.
???????? Convocatòria ????????
Davant la repressió i la violència policial us convoquem avui 16/10:
???????? Gran Via amb Marina 19:00 hrs.
???????? Cap agressió sense resposta.
???????? Tenim molta merda a netejar. Porta el teu paper de vàter.#BuchDimissió#RevoltaPopular#Quesenvagin pic.twitter.com/8rnJA6K25i
— CDR_Barcelonès (@CDR_Barcelones) October 16, 2019
Some highways, especially those en route to other Catalonia regions such as Girona, Tarragona or the Costa Brava, may be closed due to protests, so plan to stay away from any road trips to those areas. Once you land at the airport, you may want to consider taking the metro to avoid any possible traffic disturbances (just make sure you stop isn’t closed before you get on). At the moment, the airport bus is operating normally, stopping at all the programmed places.
⚠️⚠️Todas las paradas están habilitadas. Nuestro servicio funciona con normalidad.
⚠️⚠️ Totes les parades estan habilitades. El nostre servei funciona amb normalitat. pic.twitter.com/YyuM3JAmkA
— AEROBUS BCN (@aerobusbcn) October 16, 2019
Airport updates can found on Twitter via AENA and via Airport BCN, traffic and street closures via Guardia Urbana Barcelona, RENFE trains via Renfe, any protests the CDR is planning via CDR Barcelones and airport bus via AeroBus BCN. You can also see which metro stations are closed on the TMB transport network.
Featured image of demonstrator protest at El Prat airport in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 by Angel Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees