I don’t blame anybody. Really, I don’t.
But nevertheless this is awkward.
Source: Facebook – https://scontent.fmuc2-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15193604_10210663792047910_5774221704440071551_n.jpg?oh=99f7242c9283bf664db779354d594b3b&oe=58B51EA1
I’ve got affected by the most recent – the 14th (!!!) in two years – strike of the Lufthansa pilots. And not for the first time. I’ve had my share of strike experience already quite often in the past years with my main airline carrier.
Last week I had a hard time to reschedule my flight to Brussels, and I’ve got stuck in the Netherlands the other day as the workers union VC who’s taking care on the belongings of estimated 5400 Lufthansa pilots extended their strike day by day. And as my ticket got adjusted by Lufthansa for the first leg our travel agency couldn’t alter it anymore. The Lufthansa hotline was not helpful as it simply broke down saying either “wrong number” or disconnecting me after 10 seconds. And all the flight alternatives Lufthansa offered me via their app or booking page were sold out or asking me to put myself on the waiting list just to deny it a second later.
I ended up with a new ticket bringing me home at least on Friday by midnight thanks to SAS and a brave Lufthansa City Line pilot who went not on strike. Yes, there are pilots who fly and don’t agree with the workers union’s position. But the ticket was not issued by Lufthansa so I will have to do the paperwork by myself to claim it back.
Today I wanted to fly out to a future reference customer in Scandinavia. I read about the new strike on Monday morning (for me I count it as the 15th) grounding all short hauls on Tuesday plus all short and long hauls on Wednesday. But even though our travel bureau has a good relationship with Lufthansa there was no way to get a useful flight connection. I’ve got booked on an earlier flight – and an hour later Lufthansa canceled this one as well. I still could have flown to my destination today – with just a tiny little 5 hour layover in Brussels. But there wouldn’t be any way back tomorrow allowing enough time for a useful customer meeting working together on a challenging project. And all the valid flight options with SAS were taken already. So I had to cancel a long planned meeting. This time Lufthansa didn’t offer any alternatives – not even sold out ones – as their web site broke down yesterday as well. The hotline showed the same behavior as on Friday … tuut-tuut-tuut-tuut …
I’m not in the position to judge who’s right or wrong. But I get asked several times a day why these strikes happen. And I don’t see any of the parties moving towards each other. Lufthansa is a great company, no doubt, with plenty of tradition and history. And the right to strike is guaranteed by our constitution.
But showing no movement towards each other’s positions is a bad thing. No dispute can be solved this way. All involved parties should understand that this will lead towards losing more and more customers. Which will lead to more savings. Which will lead to lose more customers. More cost cuts. Lose more customers. And so on.
I will book all my future flights on alternate airlines as I value our customers a lot. If I schedule a workshop on the other side of the globe or cross the street I would like to ensure I’ll be there – and not depend on an airline which is not reliable for many years.
Please find a solution!