Even airline staff are having a hard time finding a seat from Europe this summer

International passengers walk through the pick-up area at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on November 26, 2021 in London, England.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

Airlines want people to go on vacation to Europe this summer – as long as it’s not their employees.

Service providers discourage their employees from using employee privileges to travel to and from some of Europe’s biggest airports, warning that finding a seat home will be difficult .

The moves come as labor shortages at the airport and industry strikes have made summer European travel challenging, as well as airlines hoping to capitalize on bookings. higher after Covid pandemic decline for more than two years.

American Airlines banned employees from using their flight benefits only for personal travel from London Heathrow Airport until “at least” 11 September and has temporarily banned the use of such privileges from Amsterdam, until July 31. United Airlines banned the use of buddy cards – deeply discounted flights for friends and family – on trips through London Heathrow at least until the end of August.

United is also telling employees about challenges with overseas travel this summer and prioritizing customers, a spokesman said.

Those decisions come after Britain’s busiest airport set up departures to ease congestion this summer.

Free tickets and deep discounts are a selling point for airlines as they look to ramp up staff to accommodate skyrocketing bookings. But carriers also want to fill as many seats as possible with paying customers. The employee’s use of travel privileges as a so-called no-fee or no-revenue passenger means flying in standby, relative to a single traveler’s claimed space. pay.

While getting a free or discounted seat is often a gamble during peak times, this summer has proved especially difficult for airline workers dreaming of a European vacation. Cheap Europe.

“Many European airports are experiencing significant overcrowding, delays, and significantly limited passenger numbers,” American Airlines said in a notice to staff on Aug.

The notice says that only a “small number” of travelers who have recently attempted to use the buddy pass for flights back to the US have been met, and that those trying to use the pass may end up stranded in Europe. in a long time.

Tensions at some European airports may continue after the peak summer travel season. Earlier this month, Amsterdam Schiphol said it would limit passenger departures to October.

“The purpose of setting the maximum is to ensure the safety of passengers and staff and to create a reliable process at the airport,” the airport said in a statement.

The problems are not limited to Europe. JetBlue Airways According to an announcement by CNBC, travel with a waiting pass, including for employees, between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin De Olmedo Airport due to “the flight was too heavy and the baggage was too heavy.” overload” into the Ecuadorian airport.

Correction: American Airlines banned employees from using their flight benefits only for personal travel from London Heathrow Airport until “at least” September 11. An earlier version misrepresented the provisions. provision of the suspension.

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