Week-Long Lufthansa Strike Begins Tomorrow

On Tuesday I wrote about how Lufthansa’s flight attendant union, UFO, announced that they’d go on strike November 6-13 if a contractual agreement couldn’t be reached. Since it was still a few days off, I figured there was still a chance they could reach an agreement, given that neither side has anything to gain by them basically shutting down the airline.

Lufthansa-A380

Unfortunately it looks like their negotiations weren’t successful, and that the strike will begin tomorrow. Here’s the official statement from Lufthansa:

Against the background of the announced strike by the Independent Flight Attendant’s Organization (UFO) on Lufthansa flights from Friday 6th of November until Friday 13th of November 2015, Lufthansa is trying to keep the effect of the strike on its customers as low as possible.

The announcement would affect flights from Lufthansa German Airlines – 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.

Since the negotiations with UFO have failed despite the revised offer, Lufthansa passengers are now offered changes free of charge in subsequent frames to their tickets, until the extent of the strike is clear.

Passengers booked on a flight which has to be canceled due to strike actions, always have the opportunity to rebook or cancel their flight free of charge.

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.

The exact routes impacted by the strike haven’t yet been announced, but you can expect some significant disruptions over the coming days. I’d be surprised if the strike lasts the whole week, but I guess we’ll see. It seems like management and the union are extremely far apart in what they’re willing to settle for, so maybe it will last the whole time, since it doesn’t seem like either party is willing to budge (which makes you wonder what will happen when the week is over).

Here’s Lufthansa’s current rebooking policy due to the strike:

Eventhough the extent of a possible strike is not confirmed, we offer, as a gesture of goodwill, a transfer rule to our customers.

Passengers who are in possession of Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian Airlines or Brussels Airlines tickets from 06.11.2015 till 09.11.2015 to/from/via Frankfurt/Munich/Düsseldorf, can rebook once free of charge online under My bookings.

The following conditions must be observed:

  • Rebooking within the same booking class
  • Tickets must be issued on/before 05.11.2015
  • New date of travel must be on/before 28.02.2016
  • Change of origin/destination and class of service/compartment are not permitted
  • For all other ticket conditions, original fare conditions apply

United has even issued a travel waiver for flights on Lufthansa:

Lufthansa-Strike

That’s quite generous given that no cancellations have officially been announced yet.

I’ll update this post once the exact routes impacted by the strike are published, but in the meantime you can expect a real mess if you happen to be flying Lufthansa in the coming days.

Lufthansa-Senator-Lounge-Frankfurt-01

Anyone scheduled to fly Lufthansa in the coming week?

Comments

  1. Lufthansa and the UFO can’t compromise on the retirement rules, so I will most likely be stuck with my family in Lissabon. My brother will get problems with the school but we like extending the stay on Lufthansa’s budget 😉

  2. “That’s quite generous given that no cancellations have officially been announced yet.”

    That’s pretty standard whenever a strike is announced.

  3. Flying LH F for the first time on Tuesday. Fingers crossed it isn’t affected, I was really looking forward to it.

  4. After Lufthansa messed up four ! of my tickets during last years strike, I’m more than happy that I moved my business to BA and AB. Unfortunately I let my colleague book our feeder from FRA-BRU this summer, which was my onliest LH flight since I moved over to BA. And, they striked again! Every Frequent Flyer should take some minutes and read some German newspaper (you can use Googel Chrome) about what UFO and LH are really talking about. It is just unaccaptable! My advise is just to stay away from LH. Their FCT is indeed top-notch but that’s it! Not worth the hassle you have to deal with.

  5. Wouldn’t it be something if the union’s strike was so damaging financially that the airline winds up being parted out and bought by the middle eastern airlines? I’m sure the folks making their living on union dues would have a fun time living in Dubai trying to rally the workforce against Emirates 🙂

  6. What happens if the union refuses to budge and it kills the company? Or if LH just fires a bunch of the union workers? Then who wins? I hate hearing about unions holding a company hostage with its own workers.

    What are they even arguing about?

  7. Germany is becoming the new Italy of labor strife. A long way from good ol’ German efficiency. These are some of the best paid airline industry workers anywhere.

  8. I am booked on LH on Nov 14 from IAD to FRA continuing on to BCN. I actually booked it through UA and am a 1K and million miler so if the strike goes through then I hope they will protect me on a UA flight. But I was looking forward to that 1A seat on LH 747-800 especially after your reviews. Do you think it will affect my 11/14 flight? I have to be in BCN on the 15th.

  9. The hubby is due to fly out of FRA to ORD on 11/6; hopefully. Time will tell. After a two week business trip and sleeping in hotel rooms, he just wants to come home.

  10. Just in the news in Germany: Strike will start today at 2pm in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. Tomorrow it will continue in Frankfurt. No strike on Sunday. Munich is also excluded from the strike for the weekend, as Bavaria still has autumn holidays.

  11. I have a LH flight but on a UA ticket on Dec 3rd which I was planning to change. Can I get any benefit due to this strike.
    Thanks

  12. @Stephan
    That was exactly my thought. Many of the LH flight attendants are entitled brats. Having flown them twice immediately after strikes, when there was limited catering in first and business classes, I was appalled at how the flight attendants laughed at and snickered about what the passengers were given to eat and drink.

    Germany seems to do a great job of protecting jobs at all costs: Lufthansa at the expense of customer convenience (and sometimes lives, given their unwillingness to sack Andreas Lubitz when they knew where was a problem) and Volkswagen jobs at the expense of complying with environmental laws. Nice.

  13. Lucky,

    I’m currently scheduled to fly LH as part of an itinerary booked with UA. As I understand it this ticket can be rebooked without penalty. However, I also spent $200 on a legroom upgrade with LH. Is there any indication or expectation that LH will refund that money if I rebook through UA? Should I try to rebook through LH instead? I don’t want to be stuck in a connection city but I also don’t want to lose $200 if it can be avoided.

    -Dax

  14. @Dax, it depends when you are flying. You may want to wait till Monday if you have some time before your scheduled departure. There may be a slight chance, that court will stop the strike again. My advise (what I learned out of my four messed up flights during their last strikes), you have to call UA and take care about yourself. Do not expect anything from LH. Don’t even think about calling them as you will not get through. During their last strikes I tried to call them on their SEN, HON and VIP hotline number as well on their regular line in the US, UK and Poland. All lines were dead. So if you do not want to be stranded and on the safe side, do not wait too long and try your luck with UA.

  15. Lufthansa refuses to give me refund for a canceled flight from SFO to bom for 11/09/15 cacelled strike ..they give accredit but not a full refund.I will never ever fly this airline again…they have no sense of responsibility to their effected customers……. They caused the cancelation,… Yet the passengers who are effected are forced to jump hoops to get a refund..,.I’m staying. With Asian based airlines from now on….

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