Concern Grows Over Possible Summer Labor Strikes at Eurowings, Germanwings

Jun 22, 2019

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Eurowings and Germanwings flight crew are set to vote on whether or not to take industrial action in the coming weeks. Reuters is reporting that the union representing flight crews at the two airlines would walk off the job and strike in July if their members vote in favor of industrial action. With summer travel in full swing during July, any industrial action taken by flight crew could potentially lead to major disruptions throughout Europe and even at airports in the US.

The Independent Flight Attendants Union (UFO) announced this past week that union members are considering industrial action. UFO represents two Lufthansa-owned airlines, Eurowings and Germanwings. Both airlines operate as low-cost carriers independent of the core Lufthansa brand.

The decision to consider industrial action comes amidst financial troubles at Lufthansa Group. In addition to financial troubles, Eurowings and Germanwings flight crew are demanding higher wages and changes to employee benefits.

Negotiations between Lufthansa and UFO have reportedly collapsed, with scheduled meetings between the two groups canceled. Ultimately, it is reported that Lufthansa and UFO’s inability to reach an agreement sparked the union’s decision to threaten industrial action.

From 2016: A display board shows cancelled Eurowings and Germanwings flights at Stuttgart airport. (Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)
From 2016: A display board shows canceled Eurowings and Germanwings flights at Stuttgart airport. (Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)

With talks called off and union members set to cast their vote on whether or not to walk off the job, industrial action appears inevitable at the moment.

If UFO members vote to take industrial action, hundreds of flights across Europe and around a dozen flights to North America could be impacted during peak summer travel.

Both Eurowings and Germanwings cater to leisure and holiday travelers, offering low fares and vacation packages. Eurowings not only serves destinations throughout Europe, but also a handful of destinations through Africa, the Middle East and North America. Industrial action would potentially wreak havoc on summer travel plans of thousands of travelers across the globe.

While Germanwings operates a network consisting entirely of European destinations, Eurowings serves the following cities in the United States and Mexico:

  • Fort Meyers, FL (RSW)
  • Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • Miami, FL (MIA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • Cancun, MX (CUN)
Eurowings destinations in North America. (Image via Great Circle Mapper)
Eurowings destinations in North America. (Image via Great Circle Mapper)

For now, both Eurowings and Germanwings are operating normally as UFO voting continues. Nonetheless, there are steps passengers can take to prevent or alleviate the impact of a crew strike.

For travelers that have already booked flights or vacation packages with either airline, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the fare or package purchased. Some travelers may be eligible to receive a full or partial refund should they wish to cancel their trip.

Additionally, select credit cards offer travel coverage in the event of industrial action. Be sure to check out TPG’s guide to credit cards offering travel coverage and protection to find the card that offers the best coverage for your travels.

TPG will continue to monitor the labor dispute between Eurowings, Germanwings, and UFO members. We will provide any updates as they become available.

For the latest travel news, deals, and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

Featured image by Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images

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