German airport strikes: almost as many strikes in 2024 as in the whole of last year

German airport strikes: almost as many strikes in 2024 as in the whole of last year

Last updated on 5 April 2024
  • AirHelp analyses the number of strikes in 2023 compared to 2024

  • There were twelve walkouts last year - almost as many as this year already

  • In 2023, none of the strikes were caused by the airlines themselves, so passengers were not entitled to compensation

Berlin, 5 April 2024 — The wave of strikes in Germany is coming to a head: whether by train or plane, travellers will have to show strong nerves this year. To give passengers a better overview, the travel tech company AirHelp has compared the work stoppages from last year with those in 2024. In the first eleven weeks of 2024, there have already been ten strikes - almost as many as in the whole of last year, when there were twelve waves of strikes.

The ver.di union was responsible for the most strikes in 2023

Of the twelve strikes last year, eleven were organised by the ver.di union: Employees in aviation security, passenger, personnel and goods control as well as employees in the service areas of airports repeatedly walked off the job. The reason for this was the ongoing wage negotiations. In addition, the Last Generation climate activists called for a climate strike at the airports in Hamburg and Düsseldorf in July.

Hamburg Airport saw the most strikes

Passengers departing from Hamburg had to deal with six strikes - no other airport saw more strikes last year than Hamburg Airport. The airports in Düsseldorf and Cologne share second place with five strikes each. Munich and Stuttgart airports came third with four strikes each, followed by Bremen and Berlin with three. There were two strikes in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Karlsruhe, Hanover and Dortmund, and only one in Nuremberg and Dresden.

The ver.di strike had the greatest impact in March 2023

On 27 March 2023, the trade union ver.di called on employees of the airport operating company and aviation security, passenger handling and security checks to go on strike across Germany - staff at ten airports stopped working for 24 hours. More than 3,700 flights and around 460,000 passengers were affected by the strike. The second largest strike took place just one month earlier on 17 February 2023: Strikes at eight airports meant that more than 2,300 flights and therefore around 300,000 passengers were affected by the work stoppage. The third largest strike took place on 20 April 2023: Airport staff struck at five airports, affecting more than 1,300 flights and around 100,000 passengers. 

Already ten strikes in 2024

Passengers have already had to deal with ten strikes this year: Pilots at Lufthansa subsidiary Discover Airlines walked off the job in January and February. Ver.di called on employees in the aviation security sector on the one hand and Lufthansa ground staff on the other to strike several times. The trade union Ufo, on the other hand, called on Lufthansa cabin crew to go on strike. 

Passengers have these rights during strikes

"Many travellers from Germany were unable to take their booked flights as planned last year and this year. What rights they then have depends on the type of strike: as only aviation security staff and climate activists went on strike last year, affected passengers in 2023 were not entitled to compensation payments. However, if airline employees go on strike, as has already been the case several times this year at Discover Airlines or Lufthansa, those affected are entitled to a compensation payment of up to 600 euros in the event of delays of more than three hours or cancellations," explains Nina Staub, legal expert at AirHelp. 

Staub adds: "Passengers affected by flight cancellations are always entitled to alternative transport or a full refund of the flight price - regardless of who is responsible for the cancellations. As a rule, airlines offer rebooking to an alternative flight. Domestic flights can optionally be rebooked onto a train ticket. If the airline does not act on its own initiative or is unable to offer suitable alternative transport, the passengers affected can look for an alternative themselves and charge the airline for the costs. However, in order to ensure that their costs are reimbursed, affected passengers should never rebook to a bus, train or other flight without consulting the airline. 

The airline is also obliged to refund the full ticket price in the event of a delay of more than five hours or if carriage is at a later time. In the event of delays of more than two hours, the operating airline must provide passengers with meals and drinks at the airport. In addition, two telephone calls or the sending of two e-mails must be made possible. If necessary, the airlines must also provide accommodation and transport to it. In any case, it is advisable to request this service from the airline. We advise all passengers to keep every receipt in order to be able to claim reimbursement from the airlines for food, refreshments, alternative travel and accommodation."

Read the full report (in German)

About AirHelp

AirHelp is the world's largest travel tech company dedicated to air travel disruption. Founded in 2013, the company has been helping travellers claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights and denied boarding. AirHelp also takes legal and political action to further strengthen the rights of air travellers worldwide. The company has already helped more than two million people receive compensation payments, is active in 30 countries and employs over 400 people. Since 2019, AirHelp has been cooperating with Consumer Protection Germany ( and helps to enforce the air passenger rights of consumers who have turned to Consumer Protection Germany. You can find more information about AirHelp at:

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