Lufthansa ruins travel plans for over 130,000 travelers after canceling 1,000 flights today

More than 1,000 Lufthansa flights were canceled on Wednesday due to a day-long strike by the airline’s German ground staff, affecting tens of thousands of customers in Europe’s latest travel chaos.

The strike at Lufthansa began at 3:45 am local time on Wednesday and was scheduled to end at 6 am on Thursday.

Approximately 134,000 travelers were forced to change or cancel their travel plans. According to the German news agency dpa, at least 47 connections were canceled on Tuesday.

Flights were canceled in Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hannover, Stuttgart and Cologne, as well as Lufthansa’s main bases in Frankfurt and Munich.

Lufthansa planes after cancellation

The airline urged concerned travelers not to go to airports, saying most service desks would be closed. Airport terminals were exceptionally quiet in the early hours of the morning, although customers later queued at ticket counters to find replacements for their canceled flights, dpa said.

Many of the stranded travelers arrived in Germany from other countries to find that their connecting flights had been canceled because of the strike.

According to a representative of the airport operator Fraport, 725 of the 1,160 flights scheduled at Frankfurt airport were canceled on the day. Flights operated by other airlines, which are usually serviced by Lufthansa’s ground staff, were also affected, according to dpa.

Flights operated by subsidiaries of the Lufthansa Group such as Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti in Italy were also cancelled. In addition, aircraft operated by Croatia Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and the Polish airline LOT also failed to take off, according to dpa.

The Verdi services union launched the strike on Monday to put pressure on Lufthansa to collectively bargain for the airline’s roughly 20,000 employees in the logistics, technical and cargo departments.

“Lufthansa did not make an adequate offer in the first two rounds” of negotiations, said a spokesman for the union, Dennis Dacke, on Wednesday.

“It’s time for officials to voice their opinion now ahead of the third round of negotiations,” Dacke said. “This is a ‘warning strike’ and the effects are visible. We hope that Lufthansa does not provoke another in the future.”

The attacks, according to Lufthansa spokesman Martin Leutke, are harmful.

“People who wanted to travel, who had been planning a vacation for a long time, who had been looking forward to a vacation, have had those vacation dreams unfortunately postponed… maybe even destroyed by the strike,” Leutke told reporters in Frankfurt. “This strike is completely unnecessary. It’s also completely over the top.”

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Airports in Germany and across Europe have already experienced disruptions and long lines at security checkpoints due to staff shortages and increased demand for travelers.

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