An Extreme Way To Express Your Displeasure With Pilots On Strike…

Filed Under: Lufthansa

Lufthansa pilots have staged 15 walkouts in the past year, in their never-ending negotiation over cost cutting and early retirement. The situation is getting so bad that Lufthansa’s CEO joked that he would hire Akbar Al Baker to negotiate with the pilot union on his behalf.

Well, Lufthansa just finished up their latest four day walkout, and it seems like some of their ground staff weren’t so pleased about having to rebook hundreds of passengers due to cancellations. One person decided to take it upon themselves to send the pilots of LH493 (Vancouver to Frankfurt) the following note through ACARS:


Alrighty then!

  1. I was subjected to the strike last year, it disrupted the following week of business meetings, I know that Today several of my counterparts in Germany were traveling on ANA from FRA to NRT because of the problems they could encounter with the strike and BTW all of us are flying paid business class so LH is indeed loosing revenue and customers

  2. Lucky I reckon the LH board may go in the same direction as QF did when they grounded the Airline. Didn’t see that one coming for sure …

  3. An understandable sentiment by the support staff.

    If the ground support staff is unionized, the next time the pilots call one of their never ending wildcat strikesm( probably in April or May) the support staff should simply call one of their own to start one minute after the pilots decide to return to flying. Let the pilots deal with the mess and the unplanned work stoppage.

    Lufthansa management is also responsible for the situation. They can’t just sit back and allow this to happen to the airline/pax/staff every 6 weeks and then just point the fingers at the pilots. Like all negotiations eventually there will be an agreement, it’s about time all parties got to that point.

  4. Nope, many Germsn businessmen will continue support Lufthansa and Kempinski no matter whatever happens. What you want them do, fly Airberlin?

  5. People who say they will no longer fly an airlines are most likely to be economy passengers who will end up flying with whichever airlines that have cheaper price. So their opinions don’t matter anyway. Business travelers are frequently stick to an airlines that companies preferred, and the most preferred airlines for German companies are Lufthansa

  6. Believe or not, union are frequent flyers’ friends. You know why FFP in America in general are better than FFP in Asia? Because airlines have to attract customers using something other than onboard service. (You can’t really expect too much from unionized employees.) Asian companies, because they have good services, they don’t need to have good FFP as they will have no competition even if they don’t do that.

  7. No mention of what the salaries are but I’m sure they’re outrageous.

    OTOH- not sure I approve of the downward spiral of wages that led to the co-pilot making minimum wage crashing her plane and passengers into the ground a few years ago up east.

    Low-wage pilots scare the hell out of me.

  8. I don’t know what the union’s expectations are, nor what Lufthansa’s profit was last year. What I DO know is that divide and conquer is a tactic used by many in power to defeat those that they want to subjugate.
    It looks like Lufthansa is doing just that, and I’m sad to see that the ground staff are falling for it. I think they should realize that it might be them that management sticks it to next!

  9. As a follow-up to my previous message, the BBC reports (for 2014):

    “The carrier [Lufthansa] reported operating profits of €849m for the first nine months of the year, while net profits rose to €482m from €247m a year earlier.”

    I guess the shareholder is more important than the worker

  10. What happens if an LH flight is cancelled that was booked with a UA award ticket? Will UA put the passenger on UA or other airlines metal?

  11. @Charlie

    Yes, UA will do what they can to re-book award tickets on their own at least on their own aircraft, and I’m sure partner aircraft as well.

    A couple of years ago two of us were to fly DCA-(UA)-ORD-(NH)-NRT-(UA)-SIN. The Sunday before we were to leave (on a Tuesday) I found out that a blizzard was set to hit ORD, so I called UA and explained the situation, and they were able to put both of us on the UA IAD-NRT nonstop, allowing us to still make the connection to SIN.

    While I do what I can to avoid all things UA these days, they stepped up quite nicely when I needed them to.

  12. @ Charlie — They’d probably rebook you on United, or otherwise pending award availability, on partners.

  13. Unsurprising to be honest. Strikes are exactly what I’d expect from such a rubbish airline. Good on the ground staff.

  14. And I thought France was bad with strikes! Every time I book with LH I think possible strike. Not good.

  15. LH is indeed loosing money. The BBC article quoted does not have the final numbers (including all costs, taxes etc., source see below). Their net profit dropped to 55 million Euros in 2014 (from 311 million in 2013, the pilots strikes of 2014 costing more than 200 millions). They are under fierce competition from the middle east and heavy pressure from EU laws + German taxes. For the first months of this year, they even posted a loss of more than 700 million Euros so far. Source (German):

    While almost everything in Germany got less expensive (fuel, food etc) last year, the pilots want more than a 10% raise and don’t realize that they are about to kill the company that employs them. They deserve a very high payment, they deserve special rights, they do a very hard job and have my highest respect for it. But what they are asking for and doing right now is too much, they take the company hostage because some union officials are greedy and seem to enjoy their powerful position without acting responsible. I switched my business travels to Airberlin (very reliable + better treatment for elites, better long-range C class) on intra European + DUS-JFK travel and AA/US + BA + CX for other long range flights when this started and did not stop 2 years ago.

  16. I was booked in first class on a LH flight from SFO to FRA in October that was cancelled b/c of a pilots’ strike. I was using 85,000 LH miles. Their ground-staff re-booked me on UA. Quite a come-down.

  17. I was disrupted twice by LH strikes, April 2014 and December 2012. I have to say that I support the union 100%. The union has the power to maintain their current level of benefits, as they should. Why should all worker negotiations result in takeaways?

  18. @Charlie – my original flight was cancelled to São Paulo and the day after didn’t have award space, I called the First Class hotline and they booked me on it anyway… 🙂

  19. Unions should be outlawed, much as other price-fixing cartels are.

    It pisses me off to no end that people think that different laws should apply to the goods and services that they typically buy as opposed to the goods and services that they typically sell. Tyranny of the majority.

  20. LH could afford increased pilot wages and benefits if they followed a page from US carriers playbook. Charge for every piece of luggage separately, seat selection, meals, IFE, any ticket changes, FF miles and seat pitch above 29 inches. Take the padding out of the seats and call it slim. Force FA to stay working until age 70, or loose all benefits accrued. Dump pensions obligations on the German taxpayers.
    Hire underdeveloped countries nationals that get a paper marriage to fulfill the citizenship requirement. Use planes for 30 years. Have maintenance performed in countries with little government supervision. There, that should put them back in the black.

  21. Last year I was stranded in Paris due to a LH sympathy strike at CDG with Air France. I was flying biz on a RTW award ticket. Only because I argued and got a supervisor at US was I able to rebook out on US – LH wasn’t able to help me and in fact they didn’t know why the weekends flights to FRA were all canceled. For my first dealings with LH, I was disappointed and with all of the strikes since, would be hesitant to book with them

  22. I love the perennial pilot-hate on this board. You people just ooze jealousy. Want the truth? Airline management are the greedy SOBs. Let’s see them (or you) safely fly 300 people from A to B.

    Get a better-paying job, suckers.

  23. Baahahahahaha. Bloody Brilliant!!!! When I first read the headline I thought it might a hacker type (like myself) which sent the message. (I’ve usually got a radio & computer running at my office which is in one of the flight corridors to receive ACARS messages)

    I’m not sure if I’m more thrilled that it was support staff than a pax sending it, but I love it either way. I have *NO* respect for any union which walks out, in particular service/transport industries. These walkouts don’t hurt the parent company anywhere near as the customers, who will go elsewhere…permanently. Then the union gets to deal with layoffs due to decreased demand.

    I don’t have much sympathy for the LH pilots in this case — top pilot pay (from a 2012 survey) shows ~$250,000 USD. It’s not like they’re getting paid USA RJ FO/pilot salaries. If they don’t like working for LH, then don’t. Go work for another airline.

    I’ve worked union jobs and non-union jobs — I’ll take non-union any day.

    @JoeMart is correct on many points, especially when it comes to the AC & AC mx. If pax saw the mx logs for many AC in use by the larger carriers today, they’d never board them.

  24. The Lufthansa uber alles attitude among Germans is baffling, but even Ben tends to subscribe to it. Swiss is a much better airline. Hell, Austrian’s much better than LH, particularly their business class (even if the Austrian flight attendants are dressed like Rajneeshees). LH gets play in the blogosphere mostly because of its first-class lounges and Porsches to the plane. It does not make up for LH’s spoiled, striking personnel — and that goes for the flight attendants as well. The last time I flew LH post-strike, catering was impaired and they handed out the equivalent of carry-on popcorn balls for business class passengers, snickering at us for the entire flight as we were all ravenously hungry.

  25. Most of you guys are ignorant and blind. In the 90s Lufthansa promised to it’s pilots that they can retire earlier when they would accept budget cuts. They have agreed to that because they were good people and wanted to help their airline. 20 years later they were about to redeem this promise but all the company said was: “Oh sorry, yes, we said that but we cannot do it.” I would be pissed as well. The instrument of strike exists to establish justice and an inherent characteristic of strike is that it effects a majority of people to show them: Hey! Something’s going wrong here!

    The other thing is the fall of capitalism, global bank crisis, and the pressure of constant economical growth. The constant growth demanded by the stock market, the banks, and the economy is unachievable. Everybody should know that. Nonetheless, airlines are forced to keep up with it or otherwise run out of business. What are the results? For example flights like Colgan 3407 when pilot fatigue contributed a great deal to the accident.

    Everybody is on his own now to draw the lines between pilot fatigue, unmotivated employees, bad labor conditions, the economical pressure, etc. etc.
    And consider another thing: When a pilot has finished his training, he is heavily in debt. 100.000 up to 200.000$ is not uncommon. So there must be a chance to pay off the debt and you cannot live, pay your loss-of-license insurance and pay off all the debts you have accumlated during your training with a McDonalds burger flipper salary.

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