Canceled flights, hours of waiting at security checkpoints, mountains of suitcases: a few days before the start of the summer holidays in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is apparently sinking into holiday chaos. Who is to blame? The tour operators have now primarily targeted the airlines and accuse them of poor management. The video shows the consequences of canceled flights for passengers. Also: RTL reporters apply for advertised positions at airports. What are the pay and working conditions like?
Tour operators see airport operators and airlines as having an obligation
The German tour operators are angry about the foreseeable chaos in air traffic. Flight cancellations, delays and rebookings are due to negligent mismanagement, several high-ranking industry representatives told the business magazine Capital. (Issue 7/2022, from June 23, 2022). You are faced with a situation “that we have never seen before,” says Dirk Inger, general manager of the German Travel Association (DRV).
Airlines and airports complain about understaffing and have announced that they will cancel thousands of flights in the summer. On the other hand, Ralph Schiller, head of the third largest German tour operator FTI, insists that the “flights made available for sale are also served and processed”. In addition, the airport operators and airlines should “do everything possible to solve the problems for arrivals and departures as quickly as possible.”
After the Corona break, millions of Germans were looking forward to their first major vacation trip, and bookings increased significantly. Tour operators and airlines were confident that in 2022 at least 70 percent of the flight passengers of the pre-Corona year 2019 would be carried again – at that time there were 250 million passengers. But now there is a lack of personnel on the ground and in the air. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Eurowings and Easyjet have therefore canceled thousands of flights for the coming weeks at short notice. Hundreds of passengers were only stranded in Düsseldorf at the weekend because Eurowings flights were cancelled. Shortly before the start of the summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, complete chaos seems to have broken out.
For emergencies: TUI provides two reserve machines
The tour operators are therefore sounding the alarm. “It is not yet clear which routes will be specifically affected,” complains DRV man Inger, organizers and travel agencies were once again “in distress”. Any flight cancellation causes stress and more effort on all sides – for the travelers but also for the tour operators and travel agencies. “That’s not a good sign for the summer,” said Inger.
Negotiations between tour operators and airlines are in full swing behind the scenes: Which connections will remain in place, which customers will be rebooked on which planes and who will be responsible for the additional costs and compensation?
For example, market leader TUI wants to provide two additional reserve machines during the peak travel season. “We are not canceling any flights. We have our 22 aircraft in full use and are additionally protecting ourselves by providing two reserve aircraft in addition to the planned replacement aircraft during the peak travel period. We use them to help our customers get to their destination in the event of chaos and delays bring,” said TUI manager Stefan Baumert.
Competitor DER Touristik wants to ensure that its own customers are better guided through the airports on arrival and departure. “We have massively increased our service staff both internally and externally and trained them for telephone consultations,” says Ingo Burmester, head of Central Europe at Germany’s second largest tour operator, DER Touristik.
For many families, the start of their vacation could be a real stress test. (capital/aze)
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