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Travel

Lufthansa pilots to strike again - what passengers should know

Lufthansa passengers will again have to deal with massive flight disruptions. The pilot's union Cockpit has announced additional strikes for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The union has called on pilots of short-haul flights to go on strike on Tuesday and pilots of both long- and short-haul flights to strike again on Wednesday. Lufthansa says it's scrapping 816 flights on Tuesday and another 890 on Wednesday, affecting around 82,000 and 98,000 passengers respectively. Passengers can use the Lufthansa webpageto stay informed as to whether their flight will be affected.

Customer's rights

The first port of call for passengers is always the airline or - in the case of package holidays - the tour operator. Airports that are affected also tend to offer information on updated arrival and departure times on their internet pages. It is always advisable for passengers to print out any such information found online in order to have a hard copy record.

Cancellations, re-bookings and other changes

Passengers are entitled to a full refund if their flight is cancelled due to strike action. Those who still wish to fly are entitled to a seat on a later flight. But this can take time – firstly until the strike action ends and secondly until any backlog is cleared. If there is prolonged strike action, the airline is required to find alternative transportation, such as by rail or bus.

Delays

Passengers are entitled to certain payments if flights are delayed due to strike action. If a short-haul flight of up to 1,500 kilometers (933 mi.) is delayed by two hours, passengers are entitled to assistance, such as phone call expenses, drinks and food. If the flight covers a distance of 1,500 to 3,500 kilometers this rule applies after a delay of three hours, and four hours on longer-haul flights. The airline is also required to pay for overnight hotel accommodation where appropriate.

Even if long delays are probable, it is advisable for passengers to be at the airport at their original scheduled departure time. There is always a risk that the airline might manage to organize a replacement flight at short notice, which travelers not at the airport would most likely miss.     

Compensation

Although EU passenger rights dictate that those whose flight has been cancelled, over-booked or delayed by more than three hours are entitled to up to 600 euro (636 $) in compensation payments – this ruling does not apply under "extraordinary circumstances".  Airlines tend to categorize strike action along with bad weather as extraordinary circumstances and are therefore not obliged to pay compensation.

ks/sbc (afp, dpa)

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