Travel Agents to the Rescue! Crisis Averted During Lufthansa Strike

by Alyssa Daniells

They don’t wear capes and tights. They may not stand out on the morning subway commute or move objects with superhuman strength or telepathy. But for many Lufthansa customers, their travel agents are superheroes.

A week-long cabin crew strike against the German carrier has resulted in hundreds of Lufthansa flights across Europe being cancelled and travellers left stranded.

Those lucky enough to get on different flights were the people who booked with travel agents. Meanwhile, their online booking counterparts tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of airline representatives, inundated with calls and emails.

Travel agencies that offer 24/7 access to consultants, like Flight Centre does, were able to contact Lufthansa during off hours. Their customers resumed their journeys as seamlessly as possible. Also, during difficult situations like these, airlines often prefer to deal with professional agents directly, rather than potentially incensed travellers.

Frustrated flyers hit social media and the Lufthansa website to voice their disapproval. Attempts to re-route themselves proved both fruitless and frustrating.

As Flight Centre customer Karine Hajje said in response to the Lufthansa strike, “This is an example of why I always use travel agents. You go to a finance or real estate agent for the same reason– their expertise. I’m too busy so I love to delegate to a trustworthy agent who knows the business.”

The strike, staged by the Independent Flight Attendant’s Organization (UFO), began on Friday and has affected tens of thousands of travellers to date.

Arranging airfares isn’t always easy with an Online Travel Agency (OTA), far less re-arranging them. Especially if you’re booking a family or group, or a journey with stopovers, as many of the Lufthansa flights were.

As of Tuesday night, the strike continues. To stay up to the minute on Lufthansa flights, contact a Flight Centre Airfare Expert or the Lufthansa flight status page.

So next time you’re considering booking with an OTA, you may wish to spare yourself the headaches and missed flights that could ensue.

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