The union representing airline pilots at German airline Lufthansa voted overwhelmingly on Sunday in favor of industrial action that could become an official strike.
Such a move, if the Vereinigung Cockpit union goes ahead, threatens to complicate what has already been a disrupted summer travel season.
Lufthansa serves at least 20 US airports, carrying passengers to Frankfurt and Munich.
The pilots want to negotiate a new contract that would include salary increases in a context of skyrocketing inflation. Early Monday, Reuters reported that Lufthansa was working to resolve the dispute before a strike could take place.
The risk to U.S. travelers likely to be booked on Lufthansa is significant, Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, said in an email. If a strike occurs before mid-September, he said, it could have a substantial impact on summer recreational airmen. If this were to happen after September or later in the fall, business travelers would be more affected.
“American travelers shouldn’t press the panic button just yet, but they better know where it is,” he said.
Lufthansa will likely try to prioritize its flights between the United States and Europe over its other long-haul routes and flights within Europe, Harteveldt said.
On routes where Lufthansa will not be able to operate all of its own flights or operate flights, it will attempt to reroute passengers to other airlines with which it has partnerships, such as United Airlines and Air Canada, did he declare.
“But no matter how hard he tries, I doubt he can operate all flights on all routes between Germany and the United States,” Harteveldt said.