The Lufthansa Pilot Strike Continues: Day 3

Filed Under: Lufthansa, Unions

Lufthansa’s pilots have been on strike for the past two days (and really for the past several years of their careers, it feels like). Initially the strike was just supposed to be on Wednesday, but then they extended it through Thursday. This strike impacted nearly 2,000 flights, including both short-haul and longhaul routes.

I guess the pilots were shocked to find out that this strike didn’t accomplish anything (just like the past dozen strikes they’ve had), so they’re extending the strike by yet another day. Lufthansa has now announced that the strike will continue on November 25, 2016, and it will impact all continental routes from Germany. So the good news is that longhaul flights aren’t impacted, though the bad news is that a majority of short-haul flights seem to be impacted.


Per Lufthansa’s announcement:

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

As I said when the first day of the strike was announced, I expected we’d see more strikes shortly, though I wasn’t expecting three days of strikes in a row. I guess we’ll see if this now gets extended even further. Hopefully everyone who was scheduled to fly Lufthansa has already changed their plans…

  1. Hello Lucky,

    Your feeling of contempt for people using their lawful rights to attempt to better themselves just barely got thru in your post. Where you trying to be that subtle?

  2. Hello everyone,

    I have absolutely no sympathy for the pilots or anyone else using this right excessively like they do.

    I have had alot of bad jobs in my day. I got formal training as a chef and worked in the industry for several years – earning about €1300 a month working 10-12 hours, six days a week.
    I would have gotten fired faster than I could have held up a sign if I tried a stunt like that.

    And you know what I did? I went back to college and got a different job. And you know what I did when I didn’t feel satisfied with that one? I changed the company. I didn’t spit in anyones food so I could get more money.

    The pilots/union are simply are abusing the fact the the Airline is dependent on them.

  3. Jan + 1.

    Can’t agree more. As someone living Europe I’m sick of all those pointless strikes of over self entitled ppl. Lufthansa pilots are on strike because how poor is life for them and they’re fighting for their extra dollar? Oh yeah, indeed.

  4. +1 Jan.

    It’s ridiculous that they’re allowed to strike this way. They haven’t accomplished anything in the past.

  5. In Europe, it’s not just the pilots. The ATC, the aircraft feul union workers, the trains (constantly, it seems), mass transit workers, etc. Most of the time, they announce a day in advance but it’s not as though the advance warning helps out. And like the others above have stated, this action repeats itself constantly. One day strikes seem not to be effective. I understand and agree that prolonged strikes are sometimes necessary when contracts expire and labor is getting screwed but these constant, seemingly random day strikes are just a waste. Go big or go back to work!

  6. LOL at all these people criticizing the strikes. You do realize you’re all reading a blog about how to pay next to nothing to travel right ? And then you criticize the people not getting paid for going on strike ?

    LOL !!!! Keep voting for Trump, hypocrites …

  7. I think you guys are missing the point that most of these pilots probably have years of experience and simply ‘going back to college’ and getting different jobs isn’t something that’s possible in the airline industry, especially if you’re trained in aviation.

  8. I don’t feel sorry for people who book tickets on LH (or AF for that matter) as they are strike-happy.
    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Fool me this many times, you’re an idiot.

  9. Totally agree with Jan.

    I’ve now been impacted by this Lufthansa mess twice this week trying to get back to the US (for Thanksgiving no less). I’m all for fair wages and workers rights but it still confounds me that it is totally acceptable to impact hundreds of thousands of people both from a convenience / time standpoint but also economically (having to potentially spend extra on meals, hotels, car rentals, trains, etc. to make a new itinerary work) for internal contractual negotiations.
    I don’t see how optimal terms come out of negotiations that start with “how much can I hurt you before you agree to make concessions”.

  10. @jetset – hard to feel sorry for you. Were you forced at gunpoint to book at ticket on LH?
    When you book a ticket on an airline that repeatedly strikes, you have no one to blame but yourself.

  11. Hey everyone. I bought a Samsung Galaxy 7 Note 7 yesterday and it just blew up and burned me.
    Wow, who can I blame for that?

  12. @John. Look at today’s news on a particular strike in Burkina Faso. Those (striking) people are only “using their lawful rights to attempt to better themselves”. Do you agree with them (and the resulting death of hundreds)?
    @Credit’s Niece: Just when I thought that finally Credit has mellowed, here comes his/her Niece….. (or maybe it is the same person).

  13. How can I know if a flight tomorrow mornign at 10am from Frankfurt to LAX will takeoff or be cancelled ?


  14. I have as much sympathy for the LH pilots as I would for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills if they went on strike.

  15. If you don’t like your work conditions you have a right to withdraw your labour, simple.

    If all the LH pilots decide to ‘go back to college’ you’d have a lot more cancelled flights than you have through this strike action.

    At least LH will feel the pain when ALL their passengers with cancelled flights get compensation through the EU at LHs cost. If I were the pilots I’d book a weeks holiday and say f**k you LH!

  16. Strike to continue not only on Fri 25th, but also on Sat 26th as well.

    25th – affecting continental flights
    26th – affecting, what looks like both, continental and intercontinental flights:

    “Strike of the Pilots union “Vereinigung Cockpit” (VC) for Lufthansa flights from Germany on all continental and intercontinental routes on 24 November 2016, on continental routes on 25 November 2016, as well as on intercontinental routes on 26 November 2016”

    In the attached link are some Q&A’s too.

  17. For all the people who have written in to support wildcat work stoppages in an essential service consider the following:

    Hypothetically the pilots want more money than LH is prepared to offer (or can afford?). So extended strikes disrupt the travel plans of many who then, as others suggest, find a more reliable airline.

    So now LH is caught between the rock and hard place. Their revenue stream is zero, they are losing all their customers for the future, and the pilots are still on strike disrupting what is left of the system.

    Now ask yourself this question – if all the revenue dries up how in hell can LH afford to even pay the wages that the pilots are currently gleaning? How will any increase be funded when there are no customers left?

    Perhaps the pilots should think a little more intelligently and/or not be quite so greedy? (Wages and benefits are ridiculous in Europe and its a wonder their economies exist at all)

  18. Perhaps Lufthansa management should pull a stunt worthy of Atlas Shrugged. They could gather together all the unions and say:

    We cannot operate this airline as an ongoing concern under these labor conditions; thus, we are shutting down Lufthansa for 30 days to protest against unreasonable union demands. During the shutdown no salaries will be paid and no benefits will be honored.

    An extreme action such as this is really the only way to bring Lufthansa’s overly entitled workforce back down to business reality.

  19. I am living in Germany and flying on a regular base intra Europe, but also international long-haul routes.

    I have stopped booking LH long-haul flights about 2 years ago for multiple reason:

    LH and Eurowings as their subsidiary for most of the European markets are on strike every few months.

    LH are just ridiculous overpriced for the value you get. Just booked a flight on C from Germany to HK. CX direct flight is approx. 2400 USD, LH 1 stop via Frankfurt is 5.200 USD. This price discrepances can be seen all over the year.

    In addition I really don’t like the LH C. Knowing that a lot if people value the soft product very high, I instead put my focus on the hard product and really value a good and private seat. Therefore I even prefer the AirBerlin business class, being the second big-carrier (only 20 seats, private if you book a window seat in advance, always very friendly, but perhaps not perfect crews)

    So, other than plenty of direct connections, if you live near Frankfurt or Munich, from my point of view there are not a lot of reasons to book LH C tickets.

  20. @ Imperator

    According to german law, a company can actually do this.
    Though I have not heard of a single occurance and I don’t think there will be much of an airline left afterwards…
    Which would be too bad since 90% of my travel is with Lufthansa (like there is any other choice if you are stationed in Munich and most business travel is within Germany/Europe…)

  21. Ticketed in LH J for JFK-MUC-HEL Wednesday evening. Wednesday morning get email the MUC-HEL flight cancelled. On the phone on hold with LH for over 1 hour. Get to JFK to check-in, LH tries giving me a flight with 11 hour layover. I said no way, put me on the Finance flight departing with 3 hour layover. They did it……kind of

    I needed the full 3 hours to get the ticket fixed, back and forth between Terminal 1 and 2 a few times. MUC Terminal 2 is pretty much just LH and it was weirdly quite

  22. You fucking dolts have no idea. Here you are on a website specifically for cheap asses complaining about a group of unionized workers trying to better their careers.
    These pilots are fighting for a pay raise after more than five and half years of stagnant wages, despite record earnings at Lufthansa and huge management pay raises.

    I’m all for the VC pilot group. If it inconveniences you that they are striking then too bad.

    To all the dumbasses saying go back to school. You don’t get it.
    They have already spent many years and several thousand $ obtaining training, ratings, licenses etc..

  23. @James

    Then switch to a different Airline if you are not satisfied with your pay.
    They just do it because they can. Who do I complain to when I’m not satisfied with my pay? Oh yea right, nobody, because I don’t screw over hundreds of thousands of people when I dont show up to work for three days.

  24. Where did all the money go that LH has been making by ripping off passengers and travel agencies with the fuelsurcharge?

  25. @James

    Let them go on indefinite strike and settle all issues for once. Why go on strike so many times in a year? Even union pilots at government owned and operated carriers are more considerate to paid passengers than these folks.

  26. @jan you can’t just switch it o a different airline. It’s called seniority. you can’t leave one airline to another at the same rank and file.

    Jan Do you even know how unionized labor works? Do you know how contracts, arbitration process, or collective bargaining works? Or are you just spouting off random thoughts? Seriously

    The Vereinigung Cockpit has over 8300 pilots and flight engineers in Germany. They pay dues to have VC serve as their union and collective bargaining agent.

  27. @James

    Yes, I am well aware.
    I live in Germany and have been part of a union myself in the past. So no, I don’t need a lecture.

    So how does this change the fact that they are blatently abusing their power/position?

    14 Strikes in a year? Give me a f*cking break.

  28. @James
    Lufthansa’s “record profits” was a one-time bump in 2015 due to the sale of JetBlue stock owned by the company. Without it (520€m net gain), profits fell below 2012 and 2007. Average profit for LH the past 5 years was 656€m on average revenues of 24.166 €m or 2.7%. Not a lot of leeway.

    While I believe these pilots have the right to strike as they do, their style of strike (the one-day short notice stuff designed to maximize customer pain), and restrictions on agreeing to negotiate will ultimately lead LH to head down some type of German bankruptcy route, just as UA, AA, DL and others did.

  29. Hilltoppers I agree that while the strike will not get many sympathetic eyes especially from the traveling public I am hopeful that both sides could come to an agreement quickly.
    This wildcat strike is more prevalent in Europe than US.

    Just look ABX cargo airline some 5 years beyond contract ratification date gets released from mediation, holds a strike vote, it passes, goes on a strike that lasts almost 1 day until their parent company gets a judge to issue an injunction.

    The US govt has pretty much taken any thought of strike away. They will always intervene and issue an injunction and go back to work.

    Lefthansa is one of the founders in star alliance. I think they will continue to be a big player in that network.

    Strikes like this unfortunately are a necessary evil. This is a direct by product of union group negotiations and contract rules and regulation.

  30. I’m 100% with Jan on this one. In the jobs I’ve worked, if you decided you didn’t want to work, you were fired. Simple. I don’t agree with strikes in any way/shape/form. Don’t like your job? Don’t like your work conditions? LEAVE! Oh wait, you can’t get a better job than what you have now? Then stay and take it up with management, privately.

    …and yes, I have worked union jobs in the past. Not a fan of unions.

  31. If you have worked under a union and rally against it then I can summize you would cross the picket line & scab at first opportunity.

    So 5600 pilots individually “privately take up their concerns with management”. Sorry but That doesn’t work. you must not comprehend collective bargaining.

    Also there have been different unionized employee group striking throughout the year. Your angst is only taken out on the pilots though. The cabin crew, maintenance, etc have had legal job actions.

    Look over at France. Their ATC has numerous strikes as well as Air France pilots.

  32. I have been a pilot for 55 years, now 73 years old and still flying and love every moment of it, as most pilots do. The LH pilot salaries and conditions are at the higher end of international rates. Two myths that need rebutting (1) it is not a difficult job, once trained it is very routine, and (2) claiming all that extra responsibility because there are two or three hundred passengers behind them is a misleading emotional argument. We fly with as much care if there are no passengers on board. To summarise, the LH pilots are very well paid and their continual strikes are an absolute disgrace to our profession. The public should regard the LH pilots as “overpaid bus drivers!”

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