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Major Strike at Germany’s Major Airports – What you Need to Know?

Germany’s union ver.di and the railway and transport union EVG have called for a 24-hour strike on Monday, March 27th. This is the largest strike in decades in the country. As a result, major disruptions in flight operations have been impacting over 400,000 passengers.

Staff at major airports and other means of transportation walked out shortly after midnight on Monday for a one-day warning strike, demanding higher wages.

“It is a matter of survival for many thousands of employees to get a considerable pay rise.”

Frank Werneke, Head of the Verdi Labour Union
a row of airplanes on a runway
Image: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

Which Airports are Affected?

With the exception of a few airports, all major international airports in Germany are impacted by the strike. Across the country, it was estimated that approximately 400,000 passengers could experience delays or cancellations on Monday.

Flight operations across Germany including at two of the major airports in Munich and Frankfurt have been affected heavily, with no regular passenger and cargo traffic at Munich Airport since Sunday, March 26. Munich Airport had already halted flights on Sunday in anticipation of the strike and its impact. All passenger flights are cancelled on Monday as well. 

In the main hub of Frankfurt, all incoming and outgoing flights have been either cancelled for the entire day on Monday or delayed by a full day, particularly for some long-haul flights. There will be no regular passenger flights and passengers are requested to contact their airlines.

“Due to a strike by the German Union ver.di airport operations will be heavily disrupted at Frankfurt Airport throughout today. There will be no regular passenger flights. Passengers are requested to contact their airline and refrain from travelling to the airport.”

Frankfurt Airport

Stuttgart and Bremen airports have also joined other major airports in Germany in cancelling flights, both incoming and outgoing, due to the strike. As the strike continues, it is likely that more airports will follow. The strike is further affecting operations at Cologne, Hannover & Hamburg Airport. However, due to having a smaller representation from the two trade unions, the potential impact on these airports is less predictable.

Meanwhile, Düsseldorf Airport has issued a warning to passengers, advising them to anticipate significant disruptions and to limit their hand luggage in order to assist in speeding up security checks, in the unlikely event that their flight is still scheduled to operate.

However, Berlin’s BER Berlin Brandenburg Airport wasn’t heavily affected by the strike. During the early hours of Monday morning, the airport’s online arrivals and departures boards appeared comparatively normal, with the exception of regular domestic flights from other parts of Germany that were marked as cancelled.

Even though the strike is expected to last for 24 hours, the effects are likely to last into Tuesday, with some airlines already cancelling services on that day too.

Lufthansa Flight Operations

Lufthansa has cancelled more than 1,000 flights scheduled for Monday, the 27th of March, including all flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs due to strikes. Meanwhile, on average, more than 50% of arrivals to each and every German transportation hub have been cancelled.

However, the German flag carrier has issued an advisory memo on its website acknowledging the significant number of cancellations and limited rebooking options available to passengers. As a result, the airline has warned that it may not be able to offer solutions to all affected travellers.

“As this coincides with a public transport strike in Germany on Monday, March 27th, we will not be able to offer all passengers short-term solutions, and advise against travelling to the airports during the affected times.”


Lufthansa anticipates that regular flight operations will be largely restored as early as Tuesday, March 28th 2023. Nevertheless, the impacts of this strike may still lead to individual flight cancellations or delays this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pay Rise

Two of the largest unions in Germany are participating in the strike. Verdi, which cover the public sector, including public transport and airports, represents approximately 2.5 million employees. EVG represents around 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn, the national rail operator of Germany, and other bus companies.

Verdi is demanding a 10.5% wage increase, which would see pay rising by at least 500 euros per month, while EVG is asking for a 12% raise or at least 650 euros per month.

Commenting on the strike, Deutsche Bahn expressed its belief that the ongoing strike was unjustified and unnecessary, characterizing it as “completely excessive.” Additionally, employers have cautioned that granting transport workers higher wages could lead to a rise in fares and taxes, which would be necessary to compensate for the increase.

Know Your Rights

In case you have travel insurance yourself or through a credit card this might be the time to consult the fine print and see how it would cover you in case of trip interruption or cancellation. Be aware that many insurance providers might consider a strike as a force majeure.

The European Regulation EC261 rule is a legislation that requires airlines such as Lufthansa to compensate passengers in the event of:

  • Denied boarding
  • Flight cancellation
  • Long delay of flights (three or more hours)

Under EC261 you may be eligible for compensation up to EUR 600 if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours or gets cancelled. AirHelp helps air passengers around the world secure compensation for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights.

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How to File a Claim?

AirHelp can help you if you have a flight disruption within the EU (on any airline), leaving the EU (on any airline) or arriving in the EU (on an EU airline).

AirHelp can help you to determine whether you’re eligible for compensation and claims through the easy 1-2-3 steps on their website.

Feature Image via Twitter