It’s day 4 of the LAN Express Crew Labor Union Strike and the airline has faced over 600 canceled domestic flights and international connections. The airport more chaotic than usual, people vacations are being delayed or even canceled, and it seems that the flight crew is not budging until the company meets there demands.
So the two big questions that need to ask are: What is the strike about? What can I do if my flight is affected? Let’s get into it.
What is the Strike about?
In a public statement, the president of the LATAM Crew Labor Union, Silka Seitz, announced that a total of 940 crew members operating LAN Express, which covers domestic and regional markets of LATAM, will paralyze their work in order to have more fair working conditions. Union Treasurer Javier Brinzo said that generally, Lan Express needs around 250 to 400 cabin crew members during the days of the strike to operate normally. Currently, there are about 100 crew members working.
The Union is asking LATAM to reduce the sequence of working days versus days of rest to 6 working days for every 4 rest days, which is currently 10 working days for every 4 rest days. They have been trying to work out a deal for the past 8 months so LATAM knew that this strike was a strong option. “This is like covering a wall, they said they did not want to continue talking, which caught our attention because it is like they are forcing the union to carry out the strike,” concluded Brinzo.
So you think that LATAM would have prepared properly to reduce the number of inconveniences for its travelers? Well, they did. They hired close to 100 new crew members to cover during the time of the strike but that ended up backfiring on them when those new crew members also joined the union and also went on strike. Those new hires would not have completely covered the quota of the 250-400 cabin crew needed but it would have softened the blow on the number of canceled flights.
What Can I do If my flight is affected?
Travel Blogger Fran Norero from PasaporteSinDestino shared her experience with us about her flight that was delayed for over 5 hours from Lima to Santiago one day before the strike officially began. “It is assumed that they were relocating people because they knew that flights would also be canceled in South America,” said Norero. So in other words, they were trying to get as many people to their destinations which resulted in delays for everyone. Norero received a food voucher for her delay and was later told that passengers who have their flights delayed or canceled during the strike will not receive food nor hotel vouchers as compensation. She also didn’t know whether her flight was a LAN Express flight because it wasn’t clearly marked.
Did that cause more frustrations for an unnecessary amount of travelers or was LATAM trying to find solutions for the inevitable? Is LATAM doing the bare minimum just to say that they are trying to give you solutions? Does it seem fair that during the strike, travelers will not receive any type of compensation for their delays or cancelations? Should LATAM be more transparent to the traveler to help them understand if they have a LAN Express flight?
LATAM doesn’t completely leave you no alternatives. You do have options. You can choose one of the following if your flight has been delayed or canceled during the strike:
Option 1: Change your Flight date
- Tickets that were purchased in any country except Brazil
- Fly same day (different time) or up to 30 days from the original fly date subject to flight availability.
- If you would like to travel past the 30 days from the original fly date, you will be subject to pay fare difference in airfare.
- Tickets that were purchased in Brazil
- Fly up until the validity of the ticket. So depending which category you purchased your ticket, you have a different time frame from which you can change your flights. All changes are subject to flight availability
Option 2: Change your destination
- No fee to change your destination but you are subject to pay a fare difference and of course, all changes are subject to flight availability
Option 3: Ask for a Refund
- LATAM has waived the cancellation fee and your money will be returned within 7 business days.
- If you purchased with miles, those miles will be returned to your account within 4 business days
If your flight has not been affected yet and you are traveling during the dates of the strike, you also have options:
- Fly today or up to 30 days from the original fly date, all changes subject to flight availability.
- If you would like to travel past the 30 days from the original fly date, you will be subject to pay a fare difference in airfare.
- Get your money back with no cancellation fee. Funds will return to your account within 7 business days and miles will return within 4 business days.
We will have to see how this story develops in the coming days so just stay tuned to our facebook for updates. If you want to share your experience flying, or not flying, with LATAM during the strike please feel free to email us or us the hashtag #todayinChile.