Rejected Takeoff: Another Lufthansa Strike Looms

Once again, we’re going to be the bearers of bad news, particularly if you’re booked to fly to, from, or within Europe in the next few days with Lufthansa. Yet again, Lufthansa’s pilot union, Vereinigung Cockpit, has announced a strike that will force Lufthansa to cancel roughly 1,500 flights from 1:00 p.m. local time today until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Long-haul flights to and from Frankfurt Airport on Lufthansa have been scrapped for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 30th, due to job action by Lufthansa's pilot union. Photo ©  2013 Aaron Saunders

Another month – another massive strike by pilots at German carrier Lufthansa. This one will impact travel between October 20 and 21, and possibly beyond. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The strike will affect all flights that are operated by the airline’s Airbus A380, 340 and A330 aircraft, along with all Boeing 747-400 and 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft. If you aren’t familiar with airplanes, the listed models make up Lufthansa’s entire long-haul, widebody fleet.

The ongoing dispute is just the latest in several strikes that Vereinigung Cockpit has launched this year, in protest of plans by Lufthansa to raise the retirement age from 55 years to 60 years of age.

An overview of all currently-cancelled flights can be found on Lufthansa’s website by clicking here.

The list is extensive and varied. Unsurprisingly, all long-haul flights to and from North America have been scrapped. However, a large number of inter-European flights have also been scrubbed from places like Porto, Portugal; London, England; Oslo, Norway, and points beyond. Lufthansa hopes to operate just one-third of their overall flights today and tomorrow, and most of these will be domestic or inter-European flights only.

Lufthansa notes that flights on subsidiary airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, SWISS and Air Dolomiti, will operate as scheduled. Codeshare flights sold by another airline but operated by Lufthansa aircraft and crew will likely be cancelled.

For those who have booked river cruises months in advance (and let’s be honest – you have to, these days), the Pilot’s strike comes as yet another unwelcome blow to travel in Europe. In addition to the Air France strike earlier this year – the longest in the company’s history – Lufthansa passengers have suffered through numerous walkouts and service disruptions that have stranded passengers on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you are booked on a Lufthansa flight in the next few days, be sure to watch Lufthansa’s website for status of your flight. Currently, Lufthansa is offering the following options for rebooking, reprinted here from the Lufthansa Website.

Passengers, whose flights have been cancelled, can rebook free of charge to alternative flights. Please check the status of your booking at My Bookings. Here you might already find alternative flights for which you may be able to check in.

If your flight has not been cancelled and you are holding a Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian Airlines or Brussels Ticket for flights from/to/via Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf on October 20th – 21st, you can rebook your ticket once free of charge.

The following conditions have to apply:

Rebooking within same booking class:

  • Tickets must be issued on/before 19.10.2014
  • New date of travel must be on/before January 31st, 2015
  • Change of origin/destination and class of service/compartment is not permitted
  • All other ticket conditions must be observed as per original ticket

River Cruise Advisor will continue to monitor the strike and update information here as necessary.


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