In addition to the unrest, airline workers in Europe have been on strikes in recent weeks, demanding better working conditions and higher salaries to ease the burden of rising inflation. Paris Charles de Gaulle airport canceled more than 100 to flee on Thursday after the union announced a strike demanding a monthly pay increase of 300 euros for all airport staff, about $320. More than 360 flights canceled in and out of Italian airports last week after air traffic controllers and cabin crew organized a 24-hour strike. Scandinavian Airlines pilots also threatened running away at the beginning of June about salary disputes.
Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, a trade group of airlines, said changes in coronavirus policy by governments have created a lot of uncertainty and left the travel industry little time to prepare for the restart of travel after a shutdown of two years.
“It’s no wonder we’re seeing operational delays in some locations,” he said.
I’m already booked. What could I be dealing with?
Be prepared for long queues, canceled flights and delays even after you arrive at the airport for check-in, as some airlines change their flight schedules at the last minute to accommodate staffing issues. Download your carrier’s app for the most current changes and for easier rebooking from your phone.
At many European airports, travel experts advise passengers to arrive three to four hours before their scheduled flights to get through long lines. For those traveling from the United States to Europe, try to take the most direct route to your destination and have multiple flights scheduled to your final destination in case you pass through a busy airport and miss your connection.
Staff shortages at airports have also led to baggage drop-off delays, with some passengers having to wait up to a week to get their baggage back. Some travel companies advise travelers not to check in luggage, but if light travel isn’t an option, make sure to pack a carry-on bag with essential items for the first few days of your trip.
Earlier this month, Esra Topaz, 22, a fine arts student, flew from Paris to London on a British Airways flight that was more than five hours late; her checked luggage never arrived. After three days behind the airline, her bag was finally delivered to her home, a smell that reeked of cheese and other perishable goods she’d brought with her from her trip.