June 12, 2022 – 12:05 watch
Lufthansa and Eurowings are canceling more than 1,000 flights in the coming period – and with it the dream of a carefree holiday for many holidaymakers. RTL travel expert Ralf Benkö clarifies the most important questions here: What rights do holidaymakers have? How do you get a replacement flight?
You can see why there are currently long queues in the airports in the video.
Why are so many flights cancelled?
“What we’ve been seeing for several weeks now is that there are long queues at the airports because there aren’t enough staff at the security checkpoints,” explains Benko. Although there are other reasons for the massive cancellations, the travel expert sees the central problem in the handling of security checks at the airports and the lack of ground service providers. “For example, there are companies that bring the luggage to the plane, for example,” says Benkö.
During the Corona period, air traffic was massively reduced and, as a result, staff were also made redundant. Now the demand for air travel is increasing by leaps and bounds again, but the right staff at the many airports cannot be hired again that quickly.
Reading tip: KLM chaos continues – passengers with nerves at the end
How do vacationers have to prepare for the delays at airports?
Regarding the current flight cancellations, Ralf Benkö says: “This is a kind of advance warning and as a holidaymaker you should take it seriously in that you prepare: This summer could not go smoothly.”
Even if your own flight is not cancelled, holidaymakers should be prepared for significantly longer waiting times at the airports. “You should be there early enough,” warns Benko. “And even if the flight is not relocated, as is currently the case with Lufthansa, you should keep a close eye on it.”
Your opinion matters:
Flight cancellations at Lufthansa, Eurowings and Swiss: Are other airlines also affected?
It is not yet possible to say whether other airlines will also cancel flights to this extent. The aviation expert sees the acute cancellation as a kind of safety measure: “They realize that it will probably be tight and that’s why they are reducing flights.” The RTL travel expert recommends that anyone who can switch to a car or train should think about it early on.
The biggest problem at the moment is the lack of staff at airports. There is therefore a great risk that other airlines will also be severely affected by the delays on the ground and will have to adjust their flight schedule as a result. “It is to be expected that there is still something to come,” warns Benkö.
Reading tip: Travel chaos during the holiday season? How to avoid horror scenarios!
What can I do if my flight has been cancelled?
Anyone who has booked their own vacation package can breathe easy at first. “With package tours you have a tour operator and he is responsible for the journey,” explains Benko. “We still have some time until the summer and the tour operator will then have to take care of other airlines.”
For everyone else, the following applies: “If I can’t simply rebook on another flight, I should contact the airline and describe my own problem,” recommends the travel expert. It is important to set a deadline so that you can specify exactly when you have to get an answer.
“You shouldn’t give up too quickly,” says Benko, “even if it’s not easy to make claims for damages.”
Tips from the travel pro:
- Use advance check-in
- If you have the opportunity, you can check in your luggage the evening before
- Instead of two hours as before, it is currently better to be at the airport three or four hours before departure
- Go to security as soon as possible – this takes the most time
- Prepare yourself: empty drinks in line, prepare your hand luggage for the security check and not only when you are in front of the officials
- Bring as little luggage as possible to security
What rights do holidaymakers have if their flight is cancelled?
“In any case, you have the right to have your airfare reimbursed,” explains lawyer Michael Pietsch in an interview with RTL. Depending on how long before the planned flight it was canceled and how long the flight itself was, travelers are entitled to compensation under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation.
How useful is insurance?
Here, the lawyer differentiates between what the insurance should help with. “Insurance brings relatively little for the implementation of the trip,” explains Pietsch. “But they make sense if you later want to assert claims under travel law. Then you have the opportunity to assert your claims against the airline with a low cost risk.”
Do I have to accept an airline rebooking?
In some cases, airlines automatically rebook holidaymakers from canceled flights onto other flights. “If that’s okay with you, you can of course accept it,” says attorney Pietsch. “But you are not obliged to accept this if the flight has been rebooked.”
In this case, travelers are entitled to claim back the ticket price.
Who is liable if I miss my flight because of the security queue?
“You may have claims against the responsible body that has to carry out the corresponding controls,” explains Michael Pietsch. In this case, it is the federal police who are liable – although they delegate the security checks to private companies.
If you can prove that this is the reason for the missed flight, you can also assert claims for damages here. (lra)