Lufthansa strike: what passengers need to know now

At 5:00 p.m., the cabin union Ufo wants to announce on its YouTube channel when Lufthansa flight attendants will strike. One thing is certain: There will be a strike this year, which could also affect flights by group airlines such as Eurowings, Germanwings, Lufthansa Citylines and SunExpress. Passengers who want to travel over New Year's Eve should therefore be prepared for flight cancellations and delays.

Over the Christmas holidays there had apparently been further attempts by the arbitrators to find solutions to the deadlocked wage dispute between Lufthansa and UFO – but without success. In the conflict there has already been a warning strike at four Lufthansa subsidiaries and a two-day strike at the core company Lufthansa. Around 1,500 flights with around 200,000 affected passengers were canceled here in November.

The Ufo union demands, among other things, the withdrawal of dismissals and lawsuits against former and current board members and a resolution of the violent conflict of the past months.

Which rights affected Lufthansa passengers now have and when they can cancel their vacation – the most important questions at a glance:

What rights do affected passengers have in the event of a strike?

Basically, if a flight is canceled due to a strike or is delayed by more than three hours, the airline must provide travelers with one in accordance with EU law alternative transportation offer to the goal. Otherwise, those affected by the airline should set a deadline for procuring the alternative – preferably by email.

Travel law experts consider two to three hours appropriate. If the airline does not comply with the request, travelers can procure replacements and the Pass the costs on to the airline,

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How is that handled in practice?

Airlines often offer one of their own free rebooking or refund or book the passengers directly. Up to now, free travel on Deutsche Bahn trains has often been offered for domestic German trips. Travelers should keep up to date with the status of their flight online and check the Lufthansa website for the relevant information. Customers who have stored their mobile phone number in the customer profile or under "My bookings" on should be informed by SMS.

What rules apply to package vacationers?

The following applies to package tours: The tour operator must take care of alternative transport. From a delay of more than four hours at the arrival place, vacationers can subsequently reduce their travel price proportionately. If an already short vacation is shortened considerably due to the strike measures, the guest can also cancel the trip with the provider. He then gets the travel price back.

Who bears the costs for stranded vacationers?

According to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, an airline or the operator must look after its stranded customers – regardless of whether the company is responsible for the delays or cancellations of flights or not. Catering including drinks should be asked, and if the flight is postponed to another day, the airline or operator must pay the hotel costs.

Are those affected entitled to compensation?

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) found in 2012 that a pilot strike is an exceptional circumstance. The result: the passengers affected by delays and cancellations got no compensation (Ref .: X ZR 138/11; X ZR 146/11). However, the airline must do everything in its power to minimize the consequences of the failure.

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that an airline cannot simply rely on exceptional circumstances in the event of a wildcat strike (ref .: X ZR 111/17). So far, however, this judgment has not necessarily been applicable to regular strikes – the ECJ still has to clarify this.

The consumer advice centers advise: Anyone applying for compensation as a precaution has a good starting position to get money in the event of a positive decision on this question for consumers.

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