Warning strikes at airports: Travelers have these rights

Thousands of canceled flights and hundreds of thousands of passengers affected: A warning strike has a massive impact on air traffic.

Warning strikes at airports: Travelers have these rights

Thousands of canceled flights and hundreds of thousands of passengers affected: A warning strike has a massive impact on air traffic. What sufferers need to know.

Passengers are affected by delays and many canceled flights due to the warning strikes by the Verdi union at several German airports. The airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg have therefore stopped regular passenger operations this Friday. But airports such as Dortmund or Bremen are also affected by the planned work stoppages. In addition, even flights from airports where no strikes have been announced can be cancelled.

The airport association ADV expects around 2,340 flight cancellations in domestic and international air traffic and almost 300,000 affected passengers as a result of the warning strikes. How do those affected still reach their destination and what are the chances of compensation? We explain ...

... where passengers can find out whether their flight is affected.

The airline is the first point of contact here. Travelers should find out about the flight status there. Of course, you don't even have to go to airports that stop passenger operations. Munich and Frankfurt airports, for example, have expressly asked passengers not to come to the airport.

... how you can still reach your goal.

According to EU law, if the flight is canceled or delayed by more than three hours, the airline must offer alternative transportation. This can be rebooking on another flight or exchanging the flight ticket for a train ticket, which is often offered especially for domestic flights or connections to cities near the border such as Basel or Salzburg.

Lufthansa, for example, offers a service page for passengers affected by flight irregularities. A chat bot is supposed to support there, for example, with short-term rebookings.

Passengers don't have to wait forever for alternative transportation. You should ask the airline via email or a contact form to organize another travel option and set a deadline for feedback. Lawyer Paul Degott, who specializes in travel law, sees two to three hours as appropriate.

With this message, passengers should also announce that they would otherwise take care of alternative transport themselves and claim the airline for any additional costs incurred - such as for the new flight and any overnight stays. Degott explains: "This announcement is important so that the airline cannot make excuses in the end." It is important to keep invoices and receipts as evidence in such a case.

... what passengers are entitled to if they get stuck on the spot.

In the event of a cancellation or a flight delay of more than two hours, the airline must provide drinks and snacks, for example in the form of vouchers for restaurants at the airport. If the departure is postponed to the following day, the airline has to arrange a hotel stay and also ensure the transfer from the airport to there and back again.

... whether they can also ask for the money back for the ticket.

In the case of cancellations and delays of five hours or more, travelers also have the option of reclaiming the money for their ticket, including taxes and fees paid. But then you are also responsible for how you progress.

For this reason, travel lawyer Degott advises that it is better for the airline to insist on replacement transport by setting a deadline - and then to take care of it yourself if necessary and to have the costs reimbursed by the airline.

... which applies when passengers are traveling as package travelers.

You must contact your tour operator. He is responsible for arranging replacement flights. According to the consumer advice centers, holidaymakers could also hold their organizers responsible for costs caused by a delay caused by a strike, for example for food, accommodation, necessary taxi rides or telephone calls.

... what it looks like with possible compensation.

The EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation provides for compensation payments of 250 to 600 euros per passenger in the event of delays of three hours or more at the destination and short-term flight cancellations under certain conditions. Among other things, the length of the flight route is decisive for the height. To put it simply, whether passengers can claim these funds in the event of flight problems as a result of a warning strike depends primarily on who is actually on strike.

In the case of the warning strikes on Friday, the prospects for compensation are rather poor, according to Claudia Brosche from the passenger rights portal Flightright: These are strikes by airport staff and not strikes by airline employees or their subcontractors. For this reason, passengers are generally not entitled to compensation under EU law, since, according to the expert, "external airline strikes" are considered exceptional circumstances.

Still, the airlines aren't entirely out of duty. Nevertheless, according to Brosche, they would have to be able to prove that they tried by all means to prevent the delay or cancellation of the flight or to provide alternative transport as quickly as possible. "If they don't succeed, air travelers can still claim compensation."

Important to know: The right to replacement transport or reimbursement of the ticket costs exists in any case and regardless of whether passengers are also entitled to compensation.