How Travelers to Europe Can Deal With the Summer’s Chaos


Adding to the unrest, airline workers in Europe have been on strike in recent weeks, demanding better working conditions and higher salaries to ease the burden of rising inflation. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport has more than canceled 100 flights around $320 on Thursday after his union announced a strike demanding a €300 monthly pay rise for all airport workers. More than 360 flights to and from Italian airports were canceled last week after air traffic controllers and cabin crew staged a 24-hour strike. Scandinavian Airlines pilots have also threatened to leave by the end of June because of salary disputes.

Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, said government changes to coronavirus policy had created a lot of uncertainty and given the travel industry little time to prepare for the resumption of travel after a two-year shutdown.

“It’s no wonder we’re seeing operational delays at some sites,” he said.

Be prepared for long queues, canceled flights and delays even after arriving at the airport to check in, as some airlines change their flight schedules at the last minute to deal with staffing issues. Download your carrier’s app to get the latest changes and make it easier to rebook from your phone.

At many European airports, travel experts are advising passengers to arrive three to four hours before their scheduled flight to avoid long lines. If you’re traveling to Europe from the United States, try to take the most direct route to your destination and make sure you 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 caused delays in baggage claim, with some passengers having to wait up to a week for their baggage to be returned. Some tour operators advise travelers not to check bags, but if traveling light isn’t an option, be sure to pack a carry-on bag with essential items for the first few days of your trip.

Earlier this month, Esra Topaz, 22, an art student, flew from Paris to London on a British Airways flight that was more than five hours late; her checked baggage never arrived. After spending three days chasing the airline, her bag was finally delivered to her home, reeking of cheese and other perishables she’d brought back from her trip.


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