Flights disrupted across Germany as Lufthansa ground staff strike begins

A strike by ground crew staff at airline giant Lufthansa has hit several German airports. At least 134,000 passengers are affected, with disruption expected to last all week.

Passengers wait early in the morning at Frankfurt airport during the strike.
Passengers wait early in the morning at Frankfurt airport during the strike. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

As the strike got underway on Wednesday morning, most of Lufthansa’s planes remained grounded.

The strike was called by trade union Verdi as it fights for higher wages for around 20,000 staff amid rising inflation and chaotic conditions in the aviation industry.

READ ALSO: What to know about Lufthansa ground staff strike at German airports

As The Local has been reporting, flights are routinely being cancelled, luggage is going missing and there are long waits at airports this summer.

These problems are mainly down to crippling staff shortages after companies got rid of staff during the pandemic, or workers left to find other jobs.

Who’s affected?

Lufthansa has cancelled more than 1,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs this week as a precautionary measure. The airline fears more cancellations and delays until Friday, the last school day before the summer holidays in Bavaria.

A total of 134,000 passengers so far have had to change their travel plans or cancel them altogether. On Tuesday at least 47 connections were cancelled. 

The departure board at Dresden airport on Wednesday shows cancellations.

The departure board at Dresden airport on Wednesday shows cancellations. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

In addition to the 1,023 cancelled flights with LH flight numbers, connections with sister companies such as Swiss, Austrian and Air Dolomiti may be cancelled too, as they are handled by Lufthansa ground staff. The direct flight subsidiary Eurowings, which is not on strike, said it was running largely normal flight operations throughout the network.

Lufthansa advised affected passengers not to come to the airports because most of the counters there are not being manned.

In previous industrial action, the terminals remained largely empty on the day of the strike itself.

According to Verdi, workers at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs as well as in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Stuttgart and Cologne have been on strike since 3.45am on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Strike – Lufthansa to cancel almost all flights in Germany

Employees called out on strike include counter staff, aircraft technicians and the drivers that move aircraft to the right positions at the airport.

The strike is expected to last until 6am on Thursday. Verdi has called for rallies at Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich airports.

Lufthansa and Verdi have held two rounds of talks on the future salaries and working conditions of the approximately 20,000 ground staff. A third meeting is scheduled for August 3rd-4th in Frankfurt.

Verdi rejected a first offer from Lufthansa as too low. The union is seeking a 9.5-percent pay rise, or at least €350 per month. It also wants a minimum hourly wage of €13 for staff.

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EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Germany’s capital launched its follow-up to the €9 ticket on Tuesday, but the ticket will only be valid for those with subscriptions. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Tickets for the new €29 Berlin city ticket went on sale on Tuesday and eager passengers will be wondering how they can get their hands on the discount offer. However, unlike the nationwide €9 ticket, Berlin’s travel deal will only be valid in the AB fare zone of Berlin and for customers with a yearly subscription.

Why has Berlin brought in the ticket?

The Berlin state government and transport companies in Berlin developed the ticket to set an example for climate protection and make public transportation more attractive for Berliners. The state of Berlin is financing the offer which will bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket offer and a nationwide successor which should arrive in January.

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

Where and when will the ticket be valid?

The €29 ticket will be valid on all buses, trams, U-bahns and S-bahns within the AB fare zone in the city of Berlin. Those wanting to travel into the C zone will need to buy an extension ticket.

Who is the ticket for?

Some people might be disappointed to find out that the ticket will only be available as part of a yearly subscription. All other tickets will retain their usual prices.

That means that people won’t be able to buy a monthly ticket for €29 unless it’s part of a yearly package, so certain groups of people, such as tourists, may not benefit from the offer.

From October 1st to December 31st, 2022, the monthly price for the following subscriptions in the Berlin AB fare zone will be reduced to €29:

–   VBB-Umweltkarten subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   10 o’clock ticket subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   VBB company tickets with monthly and yearly payments

–   Education monthly subscription ticket with monthly payments

The offer will not apply to ABC semester tickets. 

How will payment for the ticket work?

According to information from BVG, subscribers who pay monthly will automatically be charged the lower amount, while compensation for those who pay annually is expected to arrive at the end of the promotional period.

Can I get a yearly subscription starting from October and still benefit?

Yes. If you sign up for a yearly subscription on the BVG or VBB website, starting from October, you will be charged the lower price for the first three months of the subscription. If you start in November or December, you will pay the lower price for just those months. 

What happens once the promotion is over?

For those who don’t cancel their subscription by December 31st, their subscription contract will run for a total of 12 months. However, passengers can also switch to another VBB fare product, to another fare zone or to the successor product to the €9 ticket, which is expected to be valid throughout Germany from January 1st.

READ ALSO: Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

When can the subscription be cancelled?

It seems that people will be able to cancel their yearly subscriptions. The BVG website says: “If we were not able to convince you of our performance and you decide not to continue the subscription beyond the promotional period, you can cancel your subscription at any time at the end of the month without any disadvantages.”


Subscription – (das) Abonnement

Extension ticket – (der) Anschlussfahrausweis

Yearly – jährlich

Monthly – monatlich

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.