Ouch: Lufthansa’s Pilot Strike Extended By Another Day

Filed Under: Lufthansa, Unions

Yesterday I wrote about how Lufthansa’s pilots were going on their bajillionth strike, causing nearly 1,000 flights and 100,000 passengers to be impacted. The strike is active today, lasting from 12:01AM to 11:59PM, with a majority of Lufthansa flights impacted by the strike.

I suppose Lufthansa’s pilot union was shocked to find out that the strike didn’t work (who would have guessed, since they’ve had over a dozen strikes in the past couple of years that accomplished nothing?), so they’ve extended the strike by yet another day, throughout all of November 24. Per Lufthansa’s travel information website:

Strike of the Pilots union “Vereinigung Cockpit” (VC) for Lufthansa flights from Germany on all continental and intercontinental routes between 23 November 2016 00:01 and 24 November 23:29 German local time.

The pilots union Cockpit (VC) has called for a strike for Lufthansa flights from Germany on all continental and intercontinental routes between 23 November 2016 00:01 and 24 November 2016 23:59 German local time.

The strike announcement concerns Lufthansa operated flights only. Flights operated by Germanwings, Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Brussels Airlines are not affected by the strike measures and will continue to operate normally.

Lufthansa sincerely apologizes to its passengers for the inconvenience caused by the strike of the pilots union “Vereinigung Cockpit” and will do everything possible to keep the impact as low as possible. A special flight plan for 24 November 2016 will be announced at 12:30 German local time.

You’ll want to check Lufthansa’s flight status page to see if your flight is affected, as this impacts both short-haul and longhaul flights.


While I respect the right of negotiating and collective bargaining, at some point this really is infuriating. There’s a term for doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results — it’s insanity. That being said, I think some fault lies with both sides here, because clearly they’re not having an especially open dialogue, or else I can’t imagine this would keep happening.

Anyone flying Lufthansa today or tomorrow, and impacted by this strike?

  1. Flying LH on the 25th. Hope it doesn’t extend another day or else I’m screwed.

    BTW Lucky, since I’m flying LH on an UA award ticket, if I make alternate arrangement (train), can I contact UA and get the award refunded under EC 261/2004, or do I have to take an alternate flight?

  2. Flying today and getting screwed!

    Been on the phone for 2 hours trying to get something done about it. Booked a reward ticket through United and now they are not being able to make any changes since I checked in for my flight yesterday!

    Is there anything I can do?

  3. Lucky,

    A good follow up to this story would be to highlight reader’s options if they ever find themselves in this position. Do any credit cards offer assistance when you’re faced with delays due to pilot strikes? I know I’m getting ready to book some airfare and it would be nice to know which (if any) cards can offer some protection against something like this.

  4. I’m departing on Lufthansa out of LAX on Friday, hope it’s not gonna be extended by any more days … this is the 14th strike … it sucks

  5. I have been on the phone for four consecutive hours trying to get through. The website offers options to re-book, but does not allow you to do so if you flight has been cancelled!!! (This from tech support in Cape Town, who can’t make reservation changes).

  6. @ Ben (not Lucky) – I was in your exact situation two years ago, booked on a LH J-class flight using UA miles, when a strike was announced the day before departure from the US to Munich. I called UA immediately and they re-booked me on a UA flight, J class, no hassle, no additional fees or miles needed, and luckily, on the same departure date. Since I called so quickly after the strike announcement, there were still plenty of UA J seats available. My advice is to call UA, the sooner the better.

  7. In my opinion, LH is doing a rather sloppy management job here. Might be that whatever their unions want to get is outrageous (i dont know), but letting their relations to their own employees cool down to the point that they repeatedly actually go on strike means willingly putting paying customers through all this.
    Besides that: Whatever savings there might be will get, i’d imagine, eaten VERY quickly by strikes like these, so there doesnt seem to be a point (i read somewhere that the last big AF pilots’ strike ate all the potential profits of the proposed changes they went on strike against – for 10+ years).

  8. Should’ve gone Alan Joyce-style and grounded the whole fleet and lock out the employees to remind them who’s boss.

  9. @Ben (not lucky)
    According to the news there is a high chance the strike will go on until friday (25th) and even longer

  10. Our new orange president would NEVER ALLOW THIS in his NEW GREAT AMERICA!

    Really the USA is screwed.

  11. As infuriating as this may be for all the customers, and damaging as hell for the reputation of an otherwise excellent brand – Lufthansa has to do this and stand their ground. Employees going on strike to squeeze out whatever they can is not that uncommon in Germany (I’m not German, but from a neighbouring country, so that’s my view from just over the fence, if you want), and compared to other countries they already get a lot there! In a nutshell, the issue in this case is that the LH pilots want to keep all their ancient entitlements that originate from way, way back when the airline industry (and the world as such) was an entirely different thing than today. If LH would agree to this, they would essentially ruin themselves because these entitlements are no long sustainable, and they would eventually ruin themselves.
    So in my view, not only the employer is to blame for this situation, but some greedy staff dominating the discussion are equally to be held responsible.
    (side advice – fly Swiss ;-))

  12. @Celine – well, said. I also live in a neighboring country and can identify with…..

    Also, just listened to what is, again, the main reason for Nr. 14 strike in 5 and a half years. Pilots want 20% salary increase, which is aprox. 2,200€ (or $2,090) per month, per each pilot, on top what they already earn.

    And another bad news for LH travelers, strike continues through Friday the 25th as well. This time for continental flights “only”. Information via LH web.:

    “The pilots union Cockpit (VC) has called for a strike for Lufthansa flights from Germany on all continental and intercontinental routes between 23 November 2016 00:01 and 24 November 2016 23:59 German local time. Further, on 25 November all continental routes from Germany will be affected.”

  13. @Milo

    They actually want a 3,7% retroactive salary increase because they haven’t had a pay revision since 2012.

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