As we previously reported, Lufthansa will suffer a major schedule disruption tomorrow, Wednesday, July 27th with almost all flights cancelled as a result of the announced ver.di labor union strike in Frankfurt and Munich.
Passengers who have their flights canceled might seek rebookings to different Lufthansa flights or even other carriers per the passenger rights under EC261/2004 – at least on paper.
Pretty much all passengers with Lufthansa flights out of Frankfurt and Munich tomorrow are going to be in a hell of a predicament. The strike will begin at 3:45 AM CET on Wednesday and end at 6 AM CET on Thursday.
You can access Lufthansa’s website and check your flight status see here.
The union Verdi has called on Lufthansa ground staff throughout Germany to take part in a one-day warning strike. For this reason, there will be major restrictions in the Lufthansa flight schedule on Wednesday, 27 July.
On Tuesday, 26 July, Lufthansa will publish the cancellations in the system and try to find a solution for affected passengers. If you have left your mobile contact in your booking, Lufthansa will contact them in case of cancellation and rebooking.
In the current peak travel season, it may take longer to find an adequate rebooking solution. If you do not receive a message from Lufthansa, please check the current status of your booking. Here you can also adjust the rebooking again if you wish. Please also constantly check the status of your flight on lufthansa.com.
Your flight is cancelled and you have received an alternative from Lufthansa?
If you have received information about a rebooking, we strongly recommend using this alternative. Please only contact a Service Center in emergencies if it is not possible for you to travel with the booked alternative flights.
Your flight is cancelled and you have not received an alternative from Lufthansa?
In this situation, Lufthansa recommends inquiring about an alternative via the self-service booking page My Bookings. Please only contact a Call Center if you cannot find an alternative via this option either. Lufthansa advises against travelling to the airport in this situation, as only a few or no service counters are open at the airports due to the strike and you will probably not be offered an immediate alternative there either.
If your international flight to Germany is operating but your international onward flight from Frankfurt or Munich is cancelled, Lufthansa recommends a rebooking for another day. Should you still take your flight to Frankfurt or Munich without a confirmed alternative for the onward flight, there is a risk that you will not be able to continue your journey there for several hours or days. In such a case, please also consider visa regulations for entry into Germany. If you are able to arrange your own onward travel (e.g. rental car, bus, train), please keep all receipts for subsequent reimbursement of costs. The same applies to any hotel accommodation.
In the event of a cancellation of a domestic Lufthansa flight, you can convert your ticket into a Deutsche Bahn ticket free of charge. It is highly recommended to reserve a seat during the peak travel season if you are using an ICE or IC train for your journey. If you have a connecting flight from Frankfurt or Munich that is cancelled, please refrain from travelling by Deutsche Bahn.
You can find information on air passenger rights here.
Lufthansa does link to the passenger rights as they’re obliged to but unfortunately, the reality looks more bleak. In order to receive any kind of assistance, you have to first get through to a Lufthansa customer service agent and that’s easier said than done.
While affected passengers do have the right to get rebookings even on other carriers the website’s “manage my booking” and chatbot of the mobile application only supports rebookings to Lufthansa flights and sometimes it suggests Lufthansa Group options. That’s on a good day when Lufthansa’s IT solutions work very smoothly and I think we already know that tomorrow won’t be a good day.
The real options as I see it are:
- If your flight shows as canceled then it’s possible to apply for a full refund and book your own alternative as you see fit.
- You can attempt to contact Lufthansa by phone and see what comes of it (take screenshots) and for good measure, also send an email to email@example.com or the web form. Don’t expect anything to come back to you in time but at least it shows you tried to get in touch. You can then book alternate flights and later claim the expenses from Lufthansa. Be prepared to wait a long time for your money and consider the possibility that you might need to take legal action to be fully reimbursed.
- Try the electronic rebooking options (the earlier the better) and just sit tight until Lufthansa resumes operations on Thursday. This is going to be a mess, compounded by the shortages of staff at German airports.
This is how the chatbot interaction will look like:
Generally, I’d stay clear of the airport when booked on Lufthansa flights and definitely avoid traveling with checked baggage if at all possible.
In case you have travel insurance either as a purchased policy or through a credit card this might be the time to consult the fine print and see how it would cover you in case of trip interruption or cancellation. Be aware that many insurance providers might consider a strike as force majeure. The EC261/2004 regulation does not so Lufthansa is still liable for its obligations. It’s up to the traveler how to extract concessions out of Lufthansa in the coming days.
John has already written about this strike earlier today:
It ain’t going to be pretty tomorrow, and this strike is going to impact many, many travelers, keeping in mind that the summer school holidays just started in many German states.
Lufthansa has just released more information about its flight cancellations for tomorrow, totaling more than 1,000, and how many passengers (roughly 134,000) are affected. It’s pretty clear that it will be impossible to find suitable rebookings for all passengers.
Passengers can utilize the chatbot on the Lufthansa website or app and see if a proper alternative is offered through this channel. If not there is a slim chance of getting in touch with the airline either today or tomorrow and securing a rebooking that way.