09 May 2014

The Grand Lufthansa Strike

Early last month, a good friend from the US was visiting us. She stayed with us for 4 nights, and had a good time. This post isn't about her stay, but rather, about the great pilot's strike that had affected her travel itinerary.

See, she was supposed to fly Berlin to Munich to Toronto, all on Lufthansa. However, a couple of days before, Lufthansa pilots decided to do a walk out for three days, and she was affected, as her first flight to Munich was cancelled. Hence, she had to change her booking.

The good thing was that the strike was well-announced in advance. Hence, people were not caught at the airport without information, and so my friend was able to change her booking two days before she flew. She was booked on Brussels Airlines and Jet Airways instead, flying from Berlin to Brussels to Toronto.

However, the adventures didn't stop there. When I took her to the airport, the check-in counter couldn't find her booking, and it turned out that the booking was mistakenly altered for the day after. She wanted to fly that day, but it turned out that she was rebooked for the day after that.

So we had to run to the Brussels Airlines ticketing counter, fortunately, it was just across the hall. And fortunately, the ticketing agent was friendly. She asked whether there is a line with the Lufthansa ticketing counter (where it should be altered; it's Lufthansa who is striking anyway), and even when we said that we actually haven't checked, she went ahead and altered the booking. So my friend in the end was able to fly the same day.

Funny, though, that every time Lufthansa strikes, I or someone I know is also flying. I remember when I moved to Berlin in September 2012, I was flying from Buffalo to Boston on JetBlue Airways, followed by Boston to Munich to Berlin on Lufthansa. There was a strike that time too, and I was just lucky that my flights were not cancelled. When my friend and I did a vacation to Luxembourg and Belgium in March 2013, there was also a Lufthansa strike; fortunately, they only cancelled short-haul flights, and we were flying on a codeshare flight operated by Luxair. Thirdly, when I was in Bulgaria in April 2013, Lufthansa was also on strike, and fortunately, I was flying with Bulgaria Air instead.

European airlines are known for strikes. I suppose I am not entirely against that concept, even though it inconveniences travelers. That being said, I am amazed at the way they disseminate information, and the airports were not chaotic and crowded at all during the days that they are on strike. I am just hoping that if I ever get caught in a strike again, there wouldn't be huge inconveniences regarding my travel schedule.


  1. I think Europe is known for strikes... period!

    1. Zhu,

      True, but I think I don't mind it still, since the service here is better than in North America, at least when it comes to airlines. Restaurants, on the other hand, is a different story...