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Lufthansa Strike Scheduled to Begin Today

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Lufthansa cabin crew are scheduled begin a strike today that will ground Lufthansa planes for up to one week. TPG Contributor JT Genter reports on the details of the strike, how you might be affected and what you can do to minimize the damage to your travel plans.

Update: According to Reuters, Lufthansa had already canceled 290 flights as of Friday afternoon, affecting some 37,500 passengers.

After negotiations with Lufthansa broke down yesterday, Lufthansa’s cabin crew union Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO) has called for a strike beginning today and lasting up to one week.

Timing of the Strike

The union’s strike will start sometime after 12pm German time (11am GMT, 7am Eastern) on Friday, November 6. Exact details will be announced by the union shortly before the strike begins.

Airlines Affected

Check your eticket to see which carrier is operating your flights
Check your e-ticket to see which carrier is operating your flights.

Lufthansa Group‘s main carrier Lufthansa is the only airline affected by the strikes. The following airlines will reportedly not be affected:

  • Lufthansa CityLine
  • Germanwings
  • Eurowings
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines

Rebooking Options through Lufthansa

Complimentary rebookings available through Lufthansa's website
Complimentary rebookings available through Lufthansa’s website

Lufthansa is allowing one free rebooking to certain affected passengers.


  • Passengers must be departing from, arriving at or passing through Frankfurt, Munich or Dusseldorf on November 6-9
  • Your original ticket must be issued on/before November 5th
  • New date of travel must be on or before February 28, 2016
  • You must rebook in the same booking class and cabin you originally booked (i.e. no free upgrades to business)
  • No changes are allowed to the origin or destination airports
  • And the catch-all: “For all other ticket conditions, original fare conditions apply.”

You can complete the rebooking online via My Bookings or call the US Lufthansa service center at 1-800-645-3880, option 3 and then option 5.

Using the phone number and prompts above, I was able to get through to a knowledgeable and courteous Lufthansa agent in under a minute on Thursday afternoon. However, hold times will likely increase drastically once the strike begins.

Rebooking Options through United

united travel exception
United is also allowing rebookings for travel through Germany.

United is also allowing free rebookings due to the pending Lufthansa strike.


  • Passengers must be departing from, arriving at or passing through Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg or Munich on November 6-13
  • No change fee or fare increase will be charged if your new flights are scheduled between November 5-20
  • No change fee will be charged, but any applicable fare increase will apply if you reschedule your flights from November 21-February 28
  • No changes are allowed to the origin or destination airports
  • You must be rebooked into the same cabin you originally booked (i.e. no free upgrades to business)

Cause of the Strike

The cabin crew union isn’t just looking out for current members, but also future ones.

Lufthansa’s cabin crew union is calling for the strike after final negotiations between union staff and management broke down yesterday. The union is demanding changes to early retirement benefits and pensions.

Lufthansa has actually agreed to the union’s terms, but only for the current 19,000 cabin crew. Future hires would not receive the same benefits. The union rejected this offer, making the strike inevitable.

Financial Impact

Lufthansa has reportedly already lost $142 million due to strikes this year, in part thanks to 13 pilot strikes over the last 18 months.

During the strike, cabin crew union members will receive “Streikgeld” or “strike pay” from the union, as long as they comply with the union’s strike requirements.

Are you scheduled to fly on Lufthansa (or United to or through Germany) over the next week?

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