Lufthansa strike cancels 1,300 flights, stranding thousands

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A cabin crew strike at German airline Lufthansa has led to the cancellation of around 1 300 flights hitting 180 000 passengers over the next two days, the company said on Wednesday.

The UFO union, which represents Lufthansa flight attendants, said that its members would walk off the job for 48 hours starting at midnight on Thursday.

Swiss, Austrian, Edelweiss and Brussels Airlines are not affected despite being owned by Lufthansa, but German subsidiaries such as Eurowings could eventually be affected.

"Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience for the passengers, " it said.

"Passengers can use the Deutsche Bahn in exchange for flights on domestic routes, regardless of whether or not their flight has been canceled, " it said.

Lufthansa is promising to release a "special flight schedule" to reduce the impact on passengers and is offering free rebooking even for passengers whose flights have not been cancelled.

The court said that its decision could still be legally challenged.

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On Thursday, 700 of 3 000 planned flights are to be cancelled, with 600 axed on Friday.

UFO planned the warning strike to press Lufthansa for additional allowances at wage negotiations, citing what it claimed was management's "ongoing refusal" to negotiate.

A Frankfurt court on Wednesday rejected an effort by the airline to block the strike.

The union had on Monday called on Lufthansa cabin crew to prepare for the strike, demanding better pay and conditions.

Thursday's nonstop flight from Frankfurt to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José has been cancelled, according to the airline.

Months of infighting have cost the union members and support among cabin crew, some of whom have now turned to other representative organisations.

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