These are the air and rail disruptions expected for summer 2023 in Europe

Industrial action and delays can often occur with very little warning – be sure to regularly check with airlines and airports on potential hold-ups.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 30.06.2023 15:58:00 (updated on 30.06.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

With the summer season underway, people in Czechia will be planning to jet off for a well-deserved break, wherever that may be. 

To ensure a seamless start to a holiday, keeping an eye out for potential delays and strikes during the peak travel months of July and August is imperative. Here is our overview of what to expect this summer.


Euronews reports that ground staff at Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, and Amerigo Vespucci airports will strike on July 7, leading to expected delays. Travelers looking to use public transport after landing at an Italian airport may need to make alternative plans: July 7 will public transport staff across the country will strike for 24 hours.

On July 15, staff at ENAV, Italy’s main air traffic control operator, will take part in a national 24-hour strike. This will affect all the country’s main airports.


Momondo is a detailed travel metasearch engine, similar to the well-known Skyscanner but more informative and visual-based. It offers real-time updates on price changes, a price tracker, and shows "mix and match fares" (two, one-way tickets from different airlines bundled together to get the best deal).


The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) began in June a third round of strikes against Air Europa, Spain’s third-largest airline. It will last until July 2 and will disrupt Air Europa services.

Sepla has also launched a "daily indefinite strike" against Air Nostrum, a regional airline run by Iberia Airlines. The strike triggered the cancellation of 20 percent of the airlines' flights and also delayed others.

The industrial action is taking place between Monday and Friday every week and there are no signs of talks ending thus far. 


Over 2,000 security officers at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 had been due to go on strike for a total of 31 days over the summer. However, a last-minute deal reached last week canceled the planned industrial action. Passengers should look out for any changes, though, as UK airports have recently been prone to strikes.

Scotland’s Glasgow Airport will see some of its staff stage 24-hour walkouts on July 6 and July 11. Extra preparation time is advised if traveling to or from the airport on these days. 

Culumlative numbers of flights delayed at large European airports in the first half of 2022 (Source: Hopper)
Culumlative numbers of flights delayed at large European airports in the first half of 2022 (Source: Hopper)

Birmingham Airport in the Midlands could also face summer travel disruption as around 100 key airport workers are currently voting on strike action.

Security officers, technicians, and aircraft re-fuelers could stage walkouts from July over pay, potentially leading to "significant delays and canceled flights", Unite says.

British trains will also be affected this summer. The National Railway Workers' Union in the UK has announced strikes that will impact rail networks across the country on July 20, 22, and 29. As a result of the strikes, 17 train operating companies in the UK will be affected. 

Prague Airport on its website says you should arrive at the airport "at least two hours before your scheduled departure time to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted journey." Last summer, the airport handled almost 4 million people.


No air-travel-related industrial action is planned in Germany. Lufthansa pilots, who went on strike last year, in September agreed on a deal to not strike until June 2023. This opens up the possibility of walkouts in July and August, especially if any pay demands are not met.

National rail services are likely to be disrupted. Germany's EVG trade union, comprised of railway and transport workers, is in talks with rail carrier Deutsche Bahn on pay increases. Dates are yet to be announced, but strikes are possible from mid-July.


Workers at Geneva Airport are threatening strike action in July due to pay issues. According to the  Swiss Public Service Union, a strike may lead to no flights landing or taking off from Geneva on a given day.


  • 1.Austrian Airlines (81 percent on-time flights)
  • 2.ITA Airways (79.5 percent)
  • 3.Norwegian Air Shuttle (79.1 percent)
  • 4.Finnair (77.3 percent)
  • 5.Pegasus Airlines (75 percent)

    Source: OAG Aviation

Geneva Airport is expecting disruption and has advised passengers in the coming days to arrive two and a half hours before their scheduled departure.


An ongoing dispute between Danish trade unions and Naviair, the state-owned company that controls the management of Denmark’s air traffic controllers, may cause minor disruption over the summer. No strike dates have been set.


FlightStats is a handy application that tracks, and automatically notifies you of (if you subscribe to alerts), airline and/or airport delays. FlightAware is a website that does similar.


Continued unreset due to France’s pension reform has put the country’s airports and “strike alert.” While no industrial action has not yet been announced, passengers are encouraged to check regularly for any potential walkouts in July and August. 

June 6, for example, saw a nationwide strike that caused around 20 percent of all flights to be canceled. 


Although no airline or airport disruptions are expected in Portugal, workers of Portuguese Railways have announced a strike that will impact all rail services in the country until July 5.


Many U.S. expats living in Prague take the opportunity to visit friends and family across the Atlantic Ocean in the summer. 

Travelers, however, should take heed of the fact that the U.S. Allied Pilots Association (APA) announced it had approved a strike mandate (set for this summer) for pilots flying American Airlines. Over 99 percent of APA members approved of the strike. No dates have been confirmed.

Pilots at Southwest Airlines in May also voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, but no concrete plans have been announced.

Passengers on EU flights with delayed or canceled flights can receive up to:

  • EUR 250 for flights up to 1,500 kilometers.
  • EUR 400 for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers.
  • EUR 600 for flights beyond 3,500 kilometers.

EU airlines are legally required to provide passengers with a meal and refreshments if there is:

  • A delay of two-plus hours for flights up to 1,500 kilometers.
  • A delay over three hours for intra-EU flights between 1,500 and 3,000 kilometers.
  • A delay of four or more hours for all other flights.

According to the EU's passenger rights directive, travelers are not entitled to compensation for canceled flights – even with less than 14 days' notice – "if the airline offers a new flight that departs and arrives within a sufficiently similar timeframe." A two to four-hour delay after an airline reroute will mean that you will get 50 percent less compensation.

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