Strikes For Members

UPDATED: What Austrian travellers need to know about the German airport strikes Friday

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UPDATED: What Austrian travellers need to know about the German airport strikes Friday
Passengers wear protective masks at the Vienna International Airport on August 4, 2021. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Airport workers across Germany are going on strike for 24 hours on Friday, affecting important hubs for Austrians, including Munich and Frankfurt. Here's how passengers will be affected and their alternatives if a flight is delayed or cancelled.


Tens of thousands of airline passengers will have to prepare for cancellations and delays on Friday as Germany's trade union Verdi has announced an all-day strike at the popular airports of Munich, Frankfurt, Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hanover and Stuttgart.

According to the German airport association ADV, the warning strike will lead to 2,340 flight cancellations. “More than 295,000 passengers are becoming the pawn of Verdi’s strike tactics,” the association said, speaking of an “unprecedented escalation”. 


So, how will this affect Austrian travellers?

Connections between Vienna and Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hanover, Dortmund and Bremen are cancelled on Friday. A total of 60 arriving and departing flights are affected.

The impact in Vienna's International Airport Schwechat would be "limited" Friday morning, according to the airport. Since not all connections to Germany and not all German airports are affected by the strike, the airport recommends contacting the airline or tour operator and checking the status of the booked flights.

"We recommend travellers to inquire with the airlines about the status of their booked flights," the airport said in a statement.

The main issue, besides flights between Germany-Austria that might have been cancelled, is the walkout at Munich airport. Many people in Austria choose to drive a few hours to the hub to take a flight. 

However, over 700 passenger flights will be cancelled at Munich airport Friday due to the ground staff and security crew strike. "No regular passenger flights will take place from 0H on Friday to 01H on Saturday (just after midnight in the early hours of Friday to 1am on Saturday)," the airport said in a statement. "More than 700 departures and landings are affected."

Frankfurt airport, another major hub just a few hours from Vienna by train, said operations "will be heavily disrupted through" Friday.

READ ALSO: Train travel in Austria: 6 ways you can save money

"Passengers are strongly advised to refrain from travelling to the airport. Connecting flights from FRA will also be affected by the strike," it added.

A total of 1,005 flights were planned for Friday in Frankfurt, and operator Fraport said that 137,000 passengers would be affected.

Germany’s Lufthansa, the parent company of Austrian Airlines, has to cancel about 1,200 flights at its main locations in Frankfurt and Munich alone, a spokesman announced Wednesday evening.

READ ALSO: Five European cities you can reach from Austria in less than five hours by train


What are my alternatives?

Before giving up their flights, travellers should first contact their airline, which must notify passengers about flight cancellations and rebookings. An airport can only issue warnings.

If a flight is cancelled or delayed by more than three hours due to a strike, the airline must offer travellers alternative transportation to their destination – for example, by rebooking them on another flight. Because travelling on Friday is probably impossible at many airports, travel must be postponed until Saturday.

In many cases, airlines automatically rebook customers on a later flight.

Train routes might be a viable alternative for travel between Austria and Germany, though ticket prices are rising, according to the ÖBB website. You can also travel within Germany via train, using Deutsche Bahn's booking website. If you are travelling by train (even if it was your original plan anyway), don't forget to reserve your seat, as operators are expecting a "high passenger load".

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to not be ‘bumped’ from an overcrowded Austrian train

What are my rights if my flight gets cancelled or delayed?

In case of cancellation, you have the right to choose between getting your money back, getting the next available flight, or changing the booking completely for a later date. You are also entitled to assistance free of charge, including refreshments, food, accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day), transport, and communication (two telephone calls, for example).

This is regardless of the reasons for cancellation.

If your flight was delayed, your rights and compensation would depend on the duration of the delay and the flight distance.

You can read more about your rights HERE.


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