RTL travel expert Ralph Pinko explains the most important questions

Lufthansa and Eurowings are canceling more than 1,000 flights in the coming period – and with it many vacationers dream of a carefree vacation. RTL travel expert Ralph Pinko clarifies the most important questions here: What rights do vacationers have? How do you get an alternative flight?

You can see why there are currently long queues at airports in the video.

Why are so many flights canceled?

“What we have been seeing for several weeks now is that there are long queues at airports because there are not enough staff at security checkpoints,” Pinko explains. Although there are other reasons for massive cancellations, the travel expert sees the central problem in dealing with security checks at airports and a shortage of ground service providers. “For example, there are companies that bring baggage onto the plane,” says Pinko.

During the Corona period, air traffic was drastically reduced, and as a result, staff were laid off. Now the demand for air travel is increasing by leaps and bounds again, but the right staff at many airports cannot be hired again so quickly.

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How should vacationers prepare for delays at airports?

Regarding current flight cancellations, Ralph Pinko says, “This is kind of a forewarning and you as a vacationer should take it seriously because you’re getting ready: This summer can’t go smoothly.”

Even if your flight is not cancelled, vacationers should prepare for longer wait times at airports. “You have to be there early enough,” warns Pinko. “And even if the flight location has not changed, as is currently the case with Lufthansa, you should keep a close eye on it.”

Your opinion matters:

Flight cancellations at Lufthansa, Eurowings and Swiss: Are other airlines affected too?

It is not yet possible to determine whether other airlines will also cancel flights to this extent. The aviation expert sees the sharp cancellation as a kind of safety measure: “They realize it’s likely to be tight and that’s why they’re reducing flights.” RTL’s travel expert recommends that anyone who can switch to a car or train should think about it early.

The biggest problem at the moment is the lack of staff at the airports. Therefore, there is a high risk that other airlines will be severely affected by delays on the ground and will have to adjust their flight schedule as a result. “It is to be expected that there is still something to come,” warns Pinko.

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What do I do if my flight is cancelled?

Anyone booking their vacation package can breathe easy at first. “With package tours, you have a tour operator and he is in charge of the trip,” Benko explains. “We still have some time until summer and after that the tour operator will have to take care of other airlines.”

For everyone else, the following applies: “If I can’t simply rebook another flight, I should call the airline and explain my particular issue,” the travel expert recommends. It is important to set a deadline so you can decide when you have to get an answer.

“You shouldn’t give up too quickly, even if it isn’t easy to file compensation claims,” ​​Benko says.

Tips from Travel Pro:

  • Use the pre-check-in
  • If you have the opportunity, you can check-in your luggage the evening before
  • Instead of two hours as before, it is currently better to be at the airport three or four hours before departure
  • Go to security ASAP – this takes the most time
  • Prepare yourself: empty drinks in line, prepare your handbag for security check and not only when you are in front of officials
  • Bring as little baggage as possible for security

What rights do vacationers have if their flight is cancelled?

“In any case, you are entitled to a refund of the fare,” attorney Michael Beach explains in an interview with RTL. Depending on the period prior to the canceled planned flight and the duration of the flight itself, passengers are entitled to compensation under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation.

How useful is insurance?

Here, the attorney differentiates what insurance should help him with. “Insurance brings in relatively little to carry out the trip,” Beach explains. “But it makes sense if you later want to assert claims under travel law. Then you have the opportunity to assert your claims against the airline at low cost risk.”

Do I have to accept a rebooking from the airline?

In some cases, airlines automatically rebook vacationers from canceled flights to other flights. “If it works for you, you can of course accept it,” says Attorney Petsch. “But you are under no obligation to accept this if the flight is rebooked.”

In this case, passengers are entitled to claim a refund of the ticket price.

Who is responsible if I miss my flight because of the safety queue?

“You may have claims against the responsible body that has to implement the corresponding controls,” Michael Pietsch explains. In this case, the federal police are to blame – although they do delegate security checks to private companies.

If you can prove that this is the reason for the loss of the flight, you can also confirm your compensation claims here. (Lara)

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