STORY: Baggage chaos, endless queues, canceled flights...
Scenes like these are common at European airports this summer.
(Anne Ryom, Student)
"We are trying to get home to Denmark and our flight was cancelled."
So what’s causing the travel nightmare?
Strikes and staff shortages are forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
Staff are asking for better working conditions and big pay increases after sweeping job cuts and pay cuts during the pandemic.
In Spain, Ryanair workers walked out for several days in July, causing disruption at many airports.
Lufthansa pilots’ union is demanding a 5.5 percent raise this year and automatic inflation compensation going forward.
The German airline was forced to cancel more than 1,000 flights on July 27 when its ground staff went on strike.
In June, Norwegian Air agreed to a 3.7 percent pay rise for pilots among other benefits, in a sign of what other airlines may have to offer to avoid labor strife.
Airlines have cut thousands of flights from their summer schedules to cope with the disruptions.
Major airports including London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol have imposed a cap on passenger traffic.
That’s led to British Airways halting ticket sales on some popular short-haul flights to destinations like Paris, Milan and Amsterdam until mid-August.
Airports and airlines are scrambling to hire more workers from pilots, security, border control staff to baggage handlers after many left during the COVID-19 crisis.
Amsterdam's Schiphol is operating with 10,000 fewer workers than before the pandemic.
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports need to fill 4,000 jobs mainly in security, maintenance and retail.
That's according to airport operator Groupe ADP and the CDG Alliance.
Industry executives say these jobs are tough to fill, since the work is often physically demanding and relatively low paid.
Training new hires and getting them security clearance to work at airports also takes months.