It’s a tough time to be working in the aviation industry. Faced with staff shortages and huge levels of disruption, many workers at airlines and airports are facing long, stressful hours and poor working conditions. And, thanks to the cost of living crisis and pandemic pay cuts, loads of them are doing it all for lower wages, too.
Needless to say, it’s no wonder that so many staff at airports and airlines have already gone on strike this summer. From Italy and Belgium to Denmark and France, airports across Europe have seen thousands of flights delayed and cancelled by industrial action.
Strikes can, obvs, have a serious impact on your holiday, so it’s best to be as informed about them as possible. Read on for our guide to who’s going on strike in Europe this summer, where and when those strikes will happen – and whether you need to worry about them.
EasyJet strikes in Spain
EasyJet pilots in Spain will walk out for three 72-hour strikes throughout August over working conditions and contractual disputes. The strikes could affect pretty much any EasyJet routes in or out of Spain. The dates of the EasyJet pilot strikes are August 12 to 14, 19 to 21 and 27 to 29.
Ryanair strikes in Spain
Two unions that represent Ryanair’s cabin crew based in Spain are set to go on strike for a whopping five months.
From August 8 until January 7, cabin crews will strike from Monday to Thursday every week. It’ll likely affect Ryanair routes to airports in Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Majorca and Seville. However, it’s worth noting that Ryanair has said that it doesn’t actually expect this strike to cause that much disruption.
Airport strikes in Portugal
Civil aviation workers at two unions in Portugal will strike over wages and safety levels from August 19 to 21. It’ll affect all 10 airports run by airport operator ANA, namely Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Madeira, Beja, Flores, Horta, Ponta Delgada and Santa Maria.
Lufthansa strikes in Germany
This is one to keep an eye on. Just last week Lufthansa pilots in the VC union voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action as part of demands for higher pay.
A strike among Lufthansa pilots could bring much of the airline’s routes in and out of Germany to a halt. The exact dates for a strike haven’t yet been announced – we’ll update this page when we know more.
What happens if your airline goes on strike?
If staff on strike cause your flight to be delayed or cancelled, the airline is usually obliged to help you and/or provide compensation. However, this often depends on the conditions of carriage of your airline, as well as the extent of your travel insurance. These should both be easily accessed on either your airline or insurer’s website.
However, if you book your flight already knowing that a strike is set to take place (ie. it’s already been announced by the union), you are exceptionally unlikely to receive compensation. Before you book, be sure to check for any strike dates not just at your intended airline but also at departure and arrival airports.
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that the threat of a strike is exactly that: a threat. Strikes are primarily used as bargaining chips in negotiations between unions and employers, so there’s always the chance that both sides will come to an agreement before one actually takes place.
In any case, if your journey involves any of the above airlines, destinations and dates, be sure to keep an eye on your flight status and prepare for a more disrupted journey than expected.