Avoid Summer Airline Strikes by Planning Your European Trip Around These Dates

Here's how to prepare for—or avoid—major flight delays and cancellations

Hundred Of Flights Cancelled At Lisbon Airport Due To A Strike By Groundforce Handling Company Workers
Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

If you're traveling to Europe this summer, get ready for even more flight delays and cancellations. With inflation at a 40-year high and airports across the globe severely understaffed in the aftermath of the pandemic, airline and airport workers throughout Europe have begun protesting for better pay and better working conditions.

"British Airways used the cover of [COVID-19] to brutally cut members' pay," said Sharon Graham, general secretary of the U.K.'s leading union, Unite. "B.A. has now reversed the pay cuts imposed on management but refuses to do this for our members. This is disgraceful. Unite will not allow our members to be treated as a second-class workforce."

Already, staff at European airlines, including Ryanair and Brussels Airlines, have gone on strike recently, with the latter canceling approximately 315 flights for nearly 40,000 travelers from June 23 to 25.

"Our first priority right now are our passengers. We sincerely regret the impact these actions have on our customers," said Maaike Andries, a spokesperson for Brussels Airlines.

While there's nothing any of us can do about rising fuel prices, you can minimize the risk of one major travel headache—flight cancellations—by planning your trip around strikes and walk-outs. Here are the proposed union strikes (and other big travel disruptors) that are expected to take place at every European airline and airport this summer, according to The Points Guy:

  • June 29: SAS pilot strike in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
  • June 30–July 2: Ryanair staff strike in Spain (Started June 24)
  • July 1–Aug. 31: London Gatwick flight cap (daily flights will be capped at 825 in July and 850 in August)
  • July 1–30: Lufthansa Airline slashing up to 1,000 flights
  • July 1–3: EasyJet staff strike in Spain (Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, and Palma de Mallorca Airport)
  • July 15–17: EasyJet staff strike in Spain
  • July 29–31: EasyJet staff strike in Spain
  • End of July–August: British Airways check-in staff strike at London Heathrow

Of course, there's always the potential for the strikes to be called off if trade unions successfully negotiate. "We're working with all pilot unions," said Air France Chief Executive Officer Anne Rigail in a statement earlier this month. "I think the strategy of making this summer a success is well understood by our pilots, so we're not anticipating a problem."

However, it's best to prepare for the worst and have an alternative way of getting from point A to point B should your travels be impacted. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination—especially if you're traveling for a special event like a wedding—and consider purchasing travel insurance if you don't make it to your hotel or pre-booked tour in time. Try to book flexible fares directly with your preferred airline, and opt for an earlier flight if you can.

Article Sources
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  1. NYTimes. "Inflation's 40-Year High." April 13, 2022.

  2. Unite House. "British Airways' Passengers Warned of Major Delays As Workers Ballot for Pay Strikes." May 30, 2022.

  3. Brussels Airlines. "Strike Brussels Airlines – 23, 24, & 25 June 2022." June 21, 2022.

  4. Brussels Airlines. "Strike Brussels Airlines – 23, 24, & 25 June 2022." June 21, 2022.

  5. American Journal of Transportation. "Air France Pilots Call for Strike as Labor Strife Escalates." June 16, 2022.

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