Up to 1,400 flights cancelled, 180,000 passengers delayed…
And all of the sudden, Lufthansa has an issue. UFO, the union of Lufthansa flight attendants for mainline Lufthansa flight services announced strike dates for November 7th and 8th earlier this week, but their airline refused to acknowledge the group as an official union, and chose not to take action or create contingency plans. As such, they made no advanced plans to cancel flights.
Less than 24 hours before the strike action, Lufthansa has been forced to react, cancelling 700 flights a day, over the next two days. Here’s everything you need to know about the Lufthansa strike, and how to check on your flights. And by the way, Lufthansa may not be telling the truth when they say that they’re not on the hook for EC261 compensation..
Lufthansa has released a resource regarding the strikes, which will offer a complete guide to any and all rebooking needs as well as cancelled flights. Even if your flight is not cancelled, Lufthansa offers rebooking to a later date, up to November 15th 2019 to ease up congestion.
You can view the strike information website here.
Lufthansa Says No EC261 Compensation, But…
Lufthansa has explicitly spelled out on the strike information page that refunds will be offered, as will alternative dates of travel, but EC261 delay and cancellation compensation will not apply for any of the affected passengers, because all strikes count as force majeure.
Historically however, that’s not accurate information.
In a landmark European case, TUI lost a crucial petition to avoid paying EC261 during a “wildcat strike”, the term often used for a last minute strike by airline employees. The Lufthansa claim that airlines don’t need to pay compensation during strikes typically only applies to things like air traffic control strikes, or strikes by non airline employees, which is obviously not the case here.
Lying might be a strong word, but they’re hoping people will read that they’re not entitled to compensation, and just be happy with a refund or rebooking. These are Lufthansa employees, and by all indication, this strike will follow the same ruling as the TUI case, which passengers won.
Assuming the ruling is upheld, you have the choice between a full refund, or a new flight to your final destination on Lufthansa or another airline plus the delay compensation, which will range from €125-€600 depending on the length of your flight.
“With news of the strikes set to potentially affect thousands of passengers, it is likely that this is going to be extremely costly for Lufthansa. Cabin crew strikes are well within the airline’s control and therefore not considered to be an extraordinary circumstance under EU Regulation 261/2004.
Food and drink vouchers should be provided as well as means for passengers to communicate, including being entitled to a telephone call and an email. Accommodation must be provided if passengers are delayed overnight and transport to and from the accommodation and the airport must also be provided.”
Keep Records And Fight For Your Rights
There you have it, folks. Keep in mind that Lufthansa will likely fight this battle in court, and that any compensation paid out will likely not take place for months, even though it inevitably most likely will be. It’s imperative that receipts are kept, records are maintained and that you don’t take no for an answer, since you’ll most likely hear it at least a couple times.
Lufthansa has a duty to rebook you on other airlines, not just their own flights if your flight is cancelled due to these November 7th and 8th strikes. It can help to print out a copy of the EC261 laws, just in case you’re turning up at the airport and find someone who doesn’t read as carefully as you do.
This is a case where Lufthansa will likely fight tooth and nail not to pay, so it can absolutely be worth engaging Bott & Co, or AirHelp to fight the case for you, in exchange for a percentage of the winning. Try to claim the compensation on your own, and if you strike out, reach out to one of those firms.