German flag carrier Lufthansa has reduced its inflight service to “the point of shame”, according to the UFO flight attendant service, which says that while improvements are finally being made, the airline hasn’t got enough crew members to deliver the service that passengers expect.
The union says that a litany of issues facing flight attendants day in and day out can’t be fixed at the bargaining table, but “what it is worth to have to work under these conditions” can be bargained.
The union entered into a collective bargaining agreement with Lufthansa last year, but the expiration date is now fast approaching, and flight attendants say they will now be demanding “substantial” pay rises due to make amends for the daily issues they face.
Flight attendants have been warned by the union that they’ll need to “fight hard” to win the pay improvements they are demanding.
Along with the sometimes embarrassing inflight service, the UFO says problems can seemingly be found in every area of the business.
There aren’t enough ground staff to attach jetties to aircraft or to cater aircraft, and the capacity to train flight attendants has been cut back, so staffing issues can’t be easily fixed.
At the same time, burnt-out flight attendants who are desperate to go part-time are having their requests rejected. During the summer getaway, Lufthansa had to offer crew members big bonuses to work on their days off and sell back their annual leave to prevent an operational meltdown.
The collective agreement is set to expire in December, although the union intends to give notice on the contract next month, and negotiations will then be able to begin.
Last July, the airline was brought to a standstill after ground workers carried out a damaging ‘warning’ strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. Flight attendants haven’t, however, carried out strike action since 2019.
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.