Questions and answers: Warning strike at German airports: Passengers have these rights in the event of a flight cancellation or delay

The wave of strikes at German airports continues.

Questions and answers: Warning strike at German airports: Passengers have these rights in the event of a flight cancellation or delay

The wave of strikes at German airports continues. The Verdi union has again called for a warning strike. This not only leads to chaos and delays at the airports, but sometimes also to flight cancellations. Affected passengers are often faced with many questions in such a situation: How do I find out whether my flight is affected? Am I entitled to a refund? And can I still get to my travel destination somehow? We answer the most important questions for you at a glance, so that the next strike does not catch you unprepared.

The airline usually informs passengers in good time if a flight is cancelled. However, in the event of a strike, the flight may be canceled unexpectedly. It is therefore worth proactively approaching your airline and finding out if the departure airport for the planned trip is affected by the warning strike. The easiest way is to call the airline's hotline, but sometimes the information is also available on the website. If you have booked a package tour, it is best to contact your tour operator.

According to the EU regulation, travelers are entitled to compensation if the flight is delayed more than three hours. The amount depends on the length of the planned flight route and ranges from 250 euros for short-haul flights to 600 euros for long-haul flights. The claim must be made with the respective airline or tour operator. However, the regulation only applies if the employees of the airline themselves go on strike - and not the airport or security staff.

If the planned flight is canceled completely due to a strike or if it is delayed by more than five hours, passengers basically have two options. On the one hand, they can request a replacement flight from the airline. It should be noted, however, that the new flight may start later and from another airport, depending on the duration of the strike. In addition, the airlines can only offer this subject to availability. This means it could be difficult to get a replacement flight in a timely manner, especially during peak season.

In the case of short-haul destinations, there is also the option of taking the train instead. However, passengers should not book a train on their own, but should discuss this option with their airline. This is also possible at the airline's ticket counter. Depending on how long the waiting time is before the onward journey, passengers are also entitled to free drinks and meals and possible hotel accommodation.

Alternatively, passengers also have the option of forgoing the flight entirely. In this case, the airline must refund the fare within seven days. By the way: A voucher as a refund is only valid if the passenger clearly agrees. In the case of a package tour, the tour operator is also the first point of contact in this case.

The EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation distinguishes between two causes of delays and flight cancellations. If the airline itself is involved, even in the case of a ground staff strike, then it is also responsible for compensation. If, however, she could not do anything about the cause, then one speaks of "extraordinary circumstances". This includes a strike by security staff at the airport. In this case, passengers still have the right to a replacement flight or the cancellation of the canceled flight free of charge - but not to a compensation payment.

If it is not the airline itself that goes on strike, but the security staff at the airport, then the situation changes for passengers. It can then happen that passengers need too long for the security check due to the lack of staff at the airport and therefore miss their flight. In this case, according to the consumer advice center, you can only try to assert claims for compensation against the state. Because the security personnel belong to the federal police and thus to the state. If you have booked a package tour, you can also have your tour operator organize a replacement flight. In this case, the organizer is responsible for ensuring that the traveler arrives at their destination.