Passengers of the German flag carrier Lufthansa who had been hoping to escape a so-called ‘mega strike’ that will grind public transport across Germany to a halt on Monday have been hit by an IT outage of the airline’s check-in systems at Frankfurt Airport.
The embattled airline said on Sunday that it had been forced to cancel several flights as delays started to rack up just hours before a mass shutdown that will see as many as 2.5 million transport workers across Germany walk out in a dispute over pay and conditions.
A Lufthansa spokesperson said it was currently only possible for passengers to check in for their flights via the airline’s official mobile phone app. “Unfortunately, due to IT problems, flight cancellations and delays cannot be avoided,” the airline said in a statement.
Lufthansa warned passengers that alternative travel arrangements would be in short supply because of the already high demand for flights on Sunday. Monday’s mass public transport walkout will further hamper rebooking options.
The IT outage comes just weeks after thousands of Lufthansa passengers were stranded worldwide when clumsy construction workers accidentally excavated through fibre optic cables close to the German flag carrier’s headquarters at Frankfurt Airport.
The damaged cables immediately took down key Lufthansa IT systems that grounded not only Lufthansa but also all of the airline’s wider group carriers which include Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Eurowings Discover, and SWISS Airlines.
Monday’s ‘mega strike’ has been called by the Ver.di and EVG unions and both Frankfurt and Munich airports will be heavily impacted by the walkout. The Ver.di union represents a variety of workers at both airports and is calling for a pay increase of around 10.5 per cent to keep up with soaring inflation.
Lufthansa has advised passengers not even to attempt to travel to Frankfurt and Munich airports on Monday because most flights will be grounded, and it could prove impossible to leave the airport due to a lack of transport options.
The strike action at Munich Airport started on Sunday, and over the course of the two-day walkout, the airport operator estimates that 1,509 aircraft movements will be cancelled.
Jost Lammers, chairman of the airport’s management board called the strike “excessive” and “completely disproportionate”.
“This causes immense economic damage, not to mention the image damage for our business location Germany,” Lammers blasted ahead of the walkout.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.