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A departure hall at Schiphol airport during a KLM luggage handlers strike in April.

A departure hall at Schiphol airport during a KLM luggage handlers strike in April.

 Photographer: Ramon van Flymen/AFP/Getty Images

Pursuits
The Big Take

How Europe Became the Epicenter for This Summer’s Travel Chaos

The rapid recovery in air travel has come up against a massive shortage in staffing at airports and airlines.

Travelers in Europe are paying ever more for a plane ticket and yet have less chance of actually making it to their destination.

From London to Amsterdam to Berlin, chaotic scenes are playing out at airports as the fine-tuned interplay between check-in desks, security personnel and baggage handlers unravels. While Asia’s travel industry is still navigating Covid-19 and the US suffers from a shortage of pilots, ticket pricing and cancellation data show Europe is where the turmoil has converged to inflict maximum pain on consumers.