Lufthansa: Flight Attendants Strike For One Week 6-13 NOV 2015 – Many Flights Cancelled!

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Another month, another strike at Lufthansa. After 13 pilot strikes, now the Flight Attendants Union called for strike action by cabin crew over cost-saving measures.

LH Checkin STRIKE

Lufthansa announced that it plans to introduce cost cutting measures for early retirement benefits, pensions and also new hires.

The strike plagued German carrier has been hit with an avalanche of strikes in the last two years, costing the company millions of Euro and likely many customers as well.

In English, the BBC had a report about the situation (access here).

German airline Lufthansa will cancel 290 flights on Friday afternoon because of strike action by cabin crew over cost-saving measures.

The strike by members of the UFO union will mainly affect short-haul flights.

Lufthansa and the union failed to reach an agreement in a long-running row over early retirement benefits and pensions on Thursday. The airline has been trying to negotiate with various staff groups as part of a savings drive.

About 37,500 passengers on flights from Frankfurt and Duesseldorf will be affected by the nine-hour strike, which is scheduled to begin at 13:00 GMT, Lufthansa said.

“Of a total 3,000 connections scheduled for today, 290 flights will be cancelled, including 15 intercontinental services,” the firm said. Some 10% of all flights in the Lufthansa Group will have to be cancelled, a spokesman told the BBC.

More strike action can be expected on Saturday at Frankfurt, the union said, but Lufthansa’s other main hub in Munich will not be at risk of action until after Sunday.

The article contains an error though (which I purposely left out). Flight of Lufthansa Group airlines such as Germanwings, Eurowings, Swiss etc are NOT effected by this strike and operate as normal.

Lufthansa has an announcement available on their website (see here).

The Independent Flight Attendant’s Organization (UFO) has announced strike action for all Lufthansa flights from/ to Frankfurt and Dusseldorf on Friday, 6.11.2015 between 14.00 and 23.00 and Saturday, 7.11.2015 between 6.00 and 23.00 for all flights from/to Dusseldorf and for all flights operated with A319, A320, A321 and B737 from/to Frankfurt.

All intercontinental flights on 7.11.2015 will operate as scheduled. Flights to and from Munich are not affected by the strike. Flights operated by Lufthansa CityLine, Germanwings, Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Brussels Airlines are not affected by potential strike actions and will therefore run as planned.
Effected Passengers find the following information available to them:
  • Lufthansa passengers, who provided Lufthansa with their mobile phone number in their customer profile or under “My bookings” on Lufthansa.com, will be informed about any cancellations via SMS.
  • You can rebook your flights free of charge. Please go to My bookings. [in your online profile or on the Website]. Passengers whose flights have not been cancelled and are in possession of Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian Airlines of Brussels Airlines tickets for flights between 6.11.2015 and 13.11.2015 from/via Frankfurt/München/Düsseldorf, can rebook once free of charge online.
  • Passengers travelling within Germany whose flights were cancelled can use trains of Deutsche Bahn. The flight ticket can be converted into a train ticket of Deutsche Bahn [online].

    If it is not possible to convert the ticket due to time constraints, we recommend that a regular train ticket is purchased.

  • If you have purchased a train ticket from Deutsche Bahn and would like to have this refunded, we ask for your kind understanding that in case of a retro-active refund, the value of the unused flight coupon is applicable. We also request to apply for a refund of your ticket with your issuing office after completion of your trip.

Personal experience with Lufthansa’s online booking system tells me that it’s not all that easy because numerous times you get an error message when trying to re-book your ticket. Calls to the Lufthansa Hotline (if you get through at all) results in long (and I mean LONG [1h+]) waiting periods on the phone.

If you hold a ticket issued by a travel agent it might be the best to contact that agency for re-booking purposes. While all penalties from Lufthansa’s side are waived the travel agent ‘might’ charge you a processing fee (good ones wont but we all know there are those and those).

Conclusion

These strikes make travel with Lufthansa extremely unreliable and annoying. There is not a single month where there is no strike or rederick about a possible strike. This situation drove many, formerly loyal customers away from Lufthansa and into competitors willing arms. In the long term I’m sure it will have a negative effect on the airline and their profitability.

While it’s understandable that nobody likes to lose benefits, one has to realize that some of these benefits (especially for new hires) are simply not going with the time and are simply unreasonable. In times where the German government adjusts the retirement age for the average folk upwards the airline staff is negotiating over early retirement. The airline has to compete against carriers from all over the world, a situation that will get worse rather than better. Maybe the employees of Lufthansa should think about how to keep the company in business otherwise their contracts won’t be worth anything at all anymore.

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