If you’re travelling to, from, or within Europe tomorrow on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), you might want to pay a visit to the company’s website: SAS announced at 15:30 CET on May 20, 2015 that they are preparing for a possible strike by Norwegian (NSF) and Swedish (SPF) Pilot unions that could take place on May 21, 2015.
Both pilot unions issued strike notice today, paving the way for a near-total system shutdown tomorrow. SAS has issued updates on their website encouraging customers with booked flights to continue to monitor and check their flight status, but as of right now, the preliminary outlook for May 21 is this:
- Norway: A few flights may be affected.
- Sweden: Many flights will be affected.
- Denmark: a few flights may be affected – mainly long-haul destinations.
It’s also important to note that inbound aircraft may not be able to position to their scheduled departure points, which spreads the flight chaos around a much larger swath of Europe than just the three aforementioned countries. Copenhagen Airport, Stockholm-Arlanda, and Oslo-Gardermoen are all important hubs for European air traffic and even transatlantic flights to and from North America.
SAS is a member of the Star Alliance network that includes Air Canada, Lufthansa, SWISS, and United Airlines, to name a few. It’s important to double-check your tickets: flights purchased through United Airlines, for example, might say “Operated by SAS” in small print below them if they’re what’s known as a codeshare flight – whereby one operator sells the ticket, while an affiliated airline actually operates it.
The spring and summer seasons in the past few years have been particularly unpleasant for European air travel, with major disruptions occurring in the past twelve months with Lufthansa, Air France, TAP Portugal, and now SAS. Earlier this month, strikes also hobbled Germany’s rail network when Deutsche Bahn slashed services as a result of labour disruption.
So what is SAS prepared to do for affected guests? As of this moment, the airline is offering three options (taken verbatim from the SAS website):
- Rebooking at similar conditions with SAS (e.g. class of service) at the earliest convenience, or
- Rebooking at similar conditions with SAS (e.g. class of service) at a later date, subject to availability, or
- If you do not wish to be rebooked, unused tickets (or portions thereof) will be refunded.
Travellers are urged to continue to monitor the status of their flight with SAS. We’ll keep you updated should the strike formally go ahead.