Skip to Content

Here’s Why You’ll Want to Avoid Flying on Oct. 2

If you’re planning to hit the road, try to avoid flying next Tuesday. Workers at 40 airports in 13 countries are planning demonstrations to demand higher pay and better working conditions, which could impact service.

Domestically, protests will be held at airports in Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, and Baltimore. Affected airports impact 36% of the world’s daily travel, according to Airport Workers United, which is organizing the demonstrations.

The group, which Open Secrets says is run by the powerful lobbying group Service Employees International Union (SEIU), hopes to mobilize wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, security officers, cabin cleaners, and other people who handle low-skill positions at airports. Officials say the movement was inspired by the New York Port Authority’s decision to raise worker salaries at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports to $19 per hour. It’s asking other airports to duplicate that rate.

Other affected airports will include Charles De Gaulle in Paris, Amsterdam’s Schipol, and Frankfurt’s Flughafen. Organizers did not say the protests would be aimed at a specific carrier, but United Airlines was mentioned unfavorably several times in the announcement.

The demonstrations come at what is typically a slow time of the year for airlines. Schools are in session, limiting family travel. And no major holidays are in the time frame window. The union, however, hinted that this might not be the only disruption it has planned.

“We won’t stop until all working people—white, black and brown—can join together in unions for the power in numbers to win higher wages, affordable healthcare and a better life for their families,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU, in a statement.