On the road – a chilly November weekend in Kraków – the finale: Lufthansa on strike

All seems okay and I get ready to leave for Munich -on Monday  with Lufthansa…

On Sunday, I have received my boarding pass for my Monday flight.

Boardingpass

Around 9 pm on Sunday an email confirms my flight with Lufthansa.

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Then: Flight canceled

At 9:17 pm on Sunday I receive this SMS:

“We apologize that your flight LH623 KRK-MUC 01Dec 01:10 PM has been cancelled. Further information is available on https//m.lh.com/MjAzNTk3blFmMQ”.

Wonderful. What now? I find out that the pilots will be on strike from 12:00 PM on Monday until midnight on Tuesday. I also find a link that says “your flight has been rescheduled to 6:35 am.” Wonderful. I pay for my hotel room immediately and order a taxi for 4:30 in the  morning. This will be a morning without breakfast.

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On standby at the gate 7 on Kraków airport

On Monday 1st of December, shortly before five a.m., I stand in front of the Lufthansa check-in desk at the airport. “No,”, the lady at the counter says, “you are not on the list. Please go to the ticket office over there and stand in line to buy another ticket.” I refuse to stand in line and buy another ticket. She walks over angrily and comes back with a standby ticket. She tells me that the flight has been overbooked and my chances are not good to catch the flight, but I could give it a try. Wonderful.

I wait at the gate – I wait for an hour. At six, a friendly clergyman comes and he looks much more optimistic. A few minutes later, check-in has closed. I understand why he was more optimistic – he knew better. He gives me a boarding pass for business class, but without the right to have breakfast. We are about 4 passengers with such standby boarding cards for business class.

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Now in business class

The business class area is half empty – even with the standby passengers that are escaping the Lufthansa strike. The plane takes off. The stewardess serves breakfast. She passes me a tray. “No – thank you”, I say, “I am not allowed to have breakfast.” “Of course, you can have breakfast,” she says. The world brightens up and I enjoy my business class breakfast with a good cup of coffee.

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And then – recovering in Munich

At eight we land in  Munich. Around ten I have a second breakfast in the house of my friends… and then I go to sleep for another hour.

Why are these Lufthansa pilots constantly on strike? I later read in my newspaper NZZ that the business model of Lufthansa will change. They plan to have luxury services with the label “Lufthansa” and cheaper flights with the label “wings” (NZZ 4.12.2014, “Lufthansa setzt weiter auf Hochpreissegment”). I do hope that the label “Lufthansa” has not been damaged too much due to the repeated strikes. I fear that the brand “Lufthansa” does no longer stand for “very reliable” and no one wants to pay a luxury price for flying with them…

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Well, this was a happy end

Great, I have just managed to get to Munich before the great chaos. Kraków, no need to hold me back by asking the Lufthansa pilots to go on strike – I will come back for sure next year!

 

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