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Travel Apps Blog.

How Strikes Affect Business Travel In 2023

A plane taking flight to show how strikes have affected business travel in 2023

In some parts of the world, business travel has been problematic in 2023 so far as airline and airport employees have repeatedly gone on strike. Many of these strike actions are the result of layoffs during the pandemic, with workers now demanding higher wages and improved benefits. Moreover, business travel has also been affected in parts of Europe, notably the UK and France, due to public sector strike action affecting the railways – generally linked to cost of living-related disputes.


Does this mean that you shouldn’t plan business travel domestically or abroad in 2023? No, but it does mean you should be aware of planned industrial action in the regions you or your travelers are visiting, and have the appropriate plans in place to ensure that they are not delayed or stranded.

Notable Strikes In The First Half Of 2023

The first quarter of 2023 saw several notable strikes in major European airports, making business travel more challenging.

For example, on January 27, much of Italy came to a standstill due to strikes that caused delays, especially at Milan Linate Airport. Ground staff, including baggage handlers, ticket agents, and cargo staff, walked out. Flights were canceled, and long lines formed.

At Dusseldorf Airport meanwhile, on the same day, up to 700 handling company employees who serve 75% of the airport went on a warning strike. Nearly half of all flights that day were canceled, which affected many travelers as Dusseldorf is Germany's third busiest airport.

Impact on Business Travel

As a business traveler, you frequently get the short end of the stick when strikes occur. Some of the issues you may experience include the following:

  • Canceled meetings: You may end up having to miss important client meetings, negotiations, and conferences because of delayed or canceled flights.

  • Long lines and airport chaos: You're also likely to experience quite a bit of frustration and wait times at the airport due to the lack of security screeners, baggage handlers, and customer service agents during a strike.

  • Difficulty changing reservations: If you were originally planning to leave from an affected airport, reorganizing your travel plans will likely be challenging because you won't be the only one in this situation.

  • Limited compensation: Airlines often only provide the minimum required compensation or assistance during events they deem "outside their control." And yes, they consider strikes beyond their control.

Preparing for Potential Travel Disruptions

With so many strikes taking place in the first two quarters of 2023 (continuing a global trend from 2022), they will likely continue throughout the year, especially considering the current state of the global economy. Some strategies you can adopt to reduce the impact of these strikes on your travel plans include:

  • Develop contingency plans: Create backup options for critical meetings and flights. Schedule alternative times or means of communication in case your travel plans change.
  • Build buffers into schedules: Allow more time between connections to account for longer TSA lines, delayed flights, and rescheduling. Plan to arrive at the airport early.
  • Communicate with teams: Inform relevant colleagues, clients, and suppliers about potential travel disruptions. Ensure everyone is prepared for any issues that may arise.
  • Solve problems promptly: Act quickly to rebook flights, reroute trips, or change plans when disruptions occur. The sooner you adapt, the less damage these events will cause your business.
  • Consider all options: Evaluate options like rental cars, rideshares, or trains as a backup if many flights are canceled at your departure or destination airport.
  • Purchase comprehensive insurance: Travel insurance that reimburses expenses due to flight cancellations and strikes can help cover costs and reduce financial risks.
  • Leverage travel management software: A comprehensive business travel app, such as Tripscape from Mantic Point, can help you adapt plans, rebook reservations, and claim expenses more efficiently when disruptions occur.

Next Steps

While airline and airport worker strikes create hurdles for business travel in 2023, you can minimize disruptions through contingency planning, flexibility, and diligent trip preparation. With patience and persistence, you'll get where you need to go, even if your journey takes a different path than you initially planned. To find out more about our travel management solutions, please call +44 113 394 4564 today.

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Image Source: Canva

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