Barcelona Protests Block Sagrada Familia, Cancel Flights

Protesters march into the city on the fifth day of protests over the conviction of a dozen Catalan independence leaders in Barcelona, Spain. // Photo by AP Photo/Joan Mateu via Newscred

Protests in Barcelona and the region of Catalonia have brought traffic to a standstill, canceled dozens of flights and blocked entry to major tourist attractions. 

The Guardian reports that pro-independence protestors blocked the entrance to the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral, and that 57 flights were canceled at Barcelona’s airport. Tens of thousands of people have converged on Barcelona for a protest scheduled for 5 p.m. local time following a night of violent clashes between protestors and police Thursday evening. 

A number of airlines have issued travel waivers due to the situation:

Iberia Airlines customers with a ticket issued by October 17 to or from Barcelona can rebook through October 25. 

American Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to fly through October 20 to rebook through November 1 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference). 

Delta customers scheduled to fly on October 18 can rebook through October 21, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date.

United Airlines customers scheduled to fly through October 20 can rebook through November 1 with no change fee or difference in fare, so long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin and between the original city pair. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after November 1, or for a change in departure or destination city, the airline will waive the change fee, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

The protests are over Monday’s sentencing of nine separatist Catalan leaders on charges stemming from the fallout of the 2017 independence referendum, which the central government of Spain said was illegal. This, too, prompted several days of protests, resulting in a hit to tourism bookings during October of that year, according to a pair of studies by AARP Travel and ForwardKeys that were released at the time. 

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