Sec. Pete Buttigieg is pushing airlines to upgrade customer serviceSecretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg explains how he’s pushing for “more convenient” air travel across the U.S.Scott L. Hall, USA TODAYTravelers visiting Europe in the coming weeks may want to prepare for disruptions beyond the usual flight delay or cancellation.A series of ongoing and planned strikes among transit and aviation workers – among others – in popular tourist destinations such as France and the United Kingdom could impact various parts of their trips, from the speed of entry upon arrival to the ease of getting around once they’re there.International travelers can take steps to stay informed about ways the strikes might impact them during their visit. Here’s what they should know about recent and upcoming strikes in Europe.Is Mexico travel safe?: What to know about visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and moreUnsure of what meds you need before an international trip?: Here’s how your pharmacist can helpWhere are the strikes in Europe?Tens of thousands of people marched in Paris and other cities across France Wednesday to denounce the government’s pension plan as unfair to female workers, in demonstrations meant to coincide with International Women’s Day.The show of anger against French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is set to continue in the coming days, as train and metro drivers, refinery workers, garbage collectors and others have said they would continue ongoing strikes.Unions aim at maintaining pressure on the government as senators debate the changes.Story continues below. Protests fill the streets of Paris amid plan to raise retirement agePresident Macron said there are no plans to back down as thousands of protesters fill the streets over a potential retirement age increase in France.Claire Hardwick, Associated Press► Rail and metro authorities announced that trains, including international lines, and the Paris metro will be severely disrupted on Thursday, like on previous days. In addition, up to one-third of all flights are expected to be canceled in French airports.► Unions have also called for a new day of nationwide demonstrations on Saturday.Travelers headed to the U.K. may also face longer wait times at border control due to a strike later this month. ► Border Force operations will be impacted by a strike between March 15 and the morning of March 16, according to the U.K. Home Office.”The proposed strike action will impact international arrivals at all UK air and maritime ports, as well as those travelling to the UK from UK border controls in Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles in Northern France,” the Home Office said in a news release.► There are also ongoing strikes among air traffic controllers in Spain, and baggage handlers and transit workers in Italy have plans to strike this month, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. There have been recent strikes in Germany, as well.How can travelers prepare for strikes in Europe?Going to France:Visitors and American residents in France “are advised to assess the impact of the strikes on their personal travel plans by monitoring social media accounts of major service providers, including their operating airline and airport, RATP (for Paris area transport), and local police authorities,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Paris said in an email.U.S. travelers should register for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, the spokesperson said, which can help them get current safety information and allow the embassy to reach them in case of an emergency. They also noted that the majority of French authorities and service operators have apps that can provide travelers with service updates.’I’m concerned’: Buttigieg takes a look at the increase in near-collisions at airportsMoreIs Airbnb safe?: Check for these four red flags to avoid scams as a guest on your next stay”Road, rail, sea and air transportation may all impacted and restrict the ability to access major cities and travel within them,” the spokesperson said. “Service disruptions will be announced by operators as plans for the strikes evolve.”Going to the United Kingdom:The U.K. Home Office is working with airports and ports on plans to minimize delays if the strike goes forward, according to a spokesperson, but travelers should prepare for possible disruptions. “We will deploy suitable resource to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border,” the spokesperson said in an email.The Home Office also said travelers should check the most recent guidance from their operators before their trip, and encouraged those eligible to use eGates if they are available.”Please be patient and respect officers who are working to keep our citizens safe and border secure, and supporting travellers during the strike action,” the government department said in its release.What happens if my flight is canceled because of a strike?If a flight is canceled, passengers are entitled to have their ticket reimbursed, to be rerouted or a booked on a return flight, no matter the circumstances, according to European Union rules. They may also be entitled to compensation if they were notified fewer than two weeks before their departing flight.If a carrier can prove the cancellation was caused “extraordinary circumstances,” however, travelers are not owed compensation. A strike organized by a carrier’s trade union staff to support worker demands does not meet that definition. “Therefore, internal strike action does not release the airline from its obligation to pay compensation in the event of cancellation or long delay of flights,” the E.U. website reads. “However, strikes ‘external’ to the airline, such as strike action taken by air traffic controllers or airport staff, may constitute an extraordinary circumstance.”Flyers who arrive at their destination 3 hours late or more may also be owed compensation, if the delay was not because of extraordinary circumstances. Airlines are also required to provide travelers who are delayed two or more hours at departure with refreshments and accommodations when needed.The U.K. has similar rules.Contributing: Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY; Sylvie Corbet and Alexander Turnbull, Associated PressNathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at