German Government Backs Lufthansa’s Non-Refund Policy

Filed Under: Lufthansa

The German government sorta kinda seems to be siding with Lufthansa violating the EU’s policies on flight refunds.

Flight refunds & European airlines

The European Union has among the strictest consumer protection laws in the world, with a policy known as EC261. Just recently it was clarified that airlines subjected to EC261 do need to give passengers the option of a cash refund in the event that a flight is cancelled.

Despite that, most European airlines are violating the policy, and are refusing to issue refunds. Airlines are largely trying to justify this by pretending the option for a refund doesn’t exist, and when they’re pressed on it, they argue that they’re not issuing refunds at this time.

Germany sides with Lufthansa as bailout looms

Germany plans on providing aid to Lufthansa, though the way that plays out depends on whether Lufthansa will be forced to provide cash refunds to passengers or not.

According to Bloomberg:

  • Lufthansa has about 5.1 billion EUR in cash and undrawn credit facilities
  • As of the end of December 2020 (according to an annual report), Lufthansa had about 4 billion EUR in unused ticket money
  • Assuming that number is about the same now, Lufthansa would run out of cash in about 25 days if they had to provide cash refunds for all tickets

Therefore the German government has asked the European Commission to allow Lufthansa to issue vouchers rather than cash for flight cancellations.

The government is already looking at providing hundreds of billions of Euros of aid to all kinds of companies, and Lufthansa having to provide cash refunds would likely cost German taxpayers several billion Euros.

This really is a tough issue

I’ve repeatedly made the point that I think it’s wrong when airlines aren’t providing cash refunds when they cancel flights. It seems to me like theft to sell a product and then not even give people their money back when you don’t deliver. Never mind the fact that in many countries this violates the government regulations.

But I also think it’s important to acknowledge the reality of the situation, which is that many airlines either literally couldn’t afford to refund everyone in cash, and/or would be out of business within days if they did.

So where does that leave us?

  • Some will say “too bad, that’s their problem,” and while I generally agree, the reality is that it’s also going to be our problem (globally), when governments around the world have to bail out airlines
  • For those who don’t support any sort of bailouts, do we really want to potentially be in a situation where virtually no airlines globally are left? If this goes on much longer, that’s a very real possibility

I don’t in any way support airlines holding onto peoples’ money and in many cases violating government regulations. But I also recognize that for some airlines it’s a function of life-or-death, and the alternative is either going out of business or bigger bailouts.

None of which excuses what they’re doing, but… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bottom line

The German government is asking the European Commission to adjust rules so that Lufthansa doesn’t have to issue flight refunds for cancellations. The German government will likely provide aid to Lufthansa, and if the airline does have to issue cash refunds, that money will essentially be coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.

I recognize the challenging position airlines are in, but if they want to force people to keep vouchers, they need to do a better job having less-horrible policies associated with them — make the vouchers valid for several years, make them transferrable, and/or offer a bonus for those who get a voucher when they’d be entitled to a cash refund otherwise.

It will be interesting to see what the European Commission decides…

  1. “The German government will likely provide aid to Lufthansa, and if the airline does have to issue cash refunds, that money will essentially be coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.”



  2. They don’t deliver because they can’t for reasons outside their control

    The EU regulation never took account of significant events such as this.

    If a flight was cancelled, the regulators assumed passengers would be rebooked within 24hrs or so. Then came Eyjafjallajökul in 2010
    People take advantage and see airlines as banks They aren’t there to bail out people either. And €600 compensation is free money

  3. The government generally speaking shouldn’t get involved in private contracts, but I also understand the situation and see why the government would want to keep LH afloat. Why then treat consumers different from other lenders? The unpaid refunds should be treated like a market rate loan and interest paid accordingly.

    Consumers deserve to get the something back for the use of their funds, even if it’s a 20% bonus voucher.

    LH will be running a much smaller network for a long period of time. Everyone will likely try to use their vouchers at once– what bought $500 in flights three months ago might get you next less a year later.

  4. Try calling LH or any carrier that wont issue a cash refund, tell them you want to make a confirmed res for a flight in 12/20 and when they ask for payment tell them they should issue the tkt and call them a year from now for the payment. See how far you get

    SCREW the Greedy Airlines, where they live by if its in our favor we are all for it, if it works against us screw the customer

    Im referring only to flights that a carrier has CXed or changed where it doesnt work for the passenger

  5. These rules were written to protect consumers from a few airlines cancelling a few flights, they were not written for situations where every airline in the world has to cancel 80%-100% of their flights.

    I don’t think companies should be let off paying refunds completely. But I do think they should be able to defer the refund until this situation calms down. People would do well to recognise that this problem is far, far bigger than them as an individual and we’re all in this mess together.

  6. Around 11 million people are directly employed in aviation worldwide. They are responsible for billions upon billions of revenue Another 70 million are in aviation induced jobs and the tourist sector
    Millions of others jobs are indirectly related and add to that those employees families who are dependent on the income
    I would estimate possibly around 2-300 million are effected by the grounding of airlines

  7. It is shocking how the Rule of Law (“Rechtsstaat”) is tried to be disestablished in Germany and also other countries in this situation. One of the principles is that new or changed laws cannot be applied to cases or agreements which have been made before the law has been passed.

    Even if they change the law, at the time when the contracts of carriage have been agreed (talking about the cases they aim to target) the customers relied on the rights that were granted at that time which guarantees refunds! One can only hope that the EU rejects the request from the German government. The Commission has already stated earlier this week that they will not accept such requests.

    And even if the EU would agree, consumer protection boards will open court cases and I’d be very surprised if such a proposed practice is confirmed by the courts.

  8. Has anyone had any success with travel insurance after a cancelled flight ? Not through credit cards but through something like Allianz?

  9. @Icarus
    You are mushing together two separate issues (as is Lucky).

    Pretty much every airline is going to need a bail out. Governments will do that on our behalf, using money they will create for the purpose.

    Individual customers who have tickets for cancelled flights should not be stiffed for offsetting some of the money governments would otherwise have to provide. It’s just luck which of us has tickets and which of us doesn’t.

    Why should those unlucky saps have to provide cash flow for multi-billion dollar corporations?

    And for those like Lucky who seem to think they should, should they have to starve, for want of the cash the airline is holding onto? Should their children?

    I look forward to your justification.

  10. I disagree with most of the points here. This is all getting rather absurd with carriers in the US and Europe, who are increasingly showing they are utterly inept to handle their own finances.

    Let’s be completely honest with ourselves Ben, these companies’ behavior during NORMAL times was reprehensible at best with they way they treated customers. They piled fees upon fees, crammed more and more seats into planes, and cut cut cut everything they could. We all know what they turned around and spent that money on, and it most certainly was not their employees nor the passenger experience. So the fact that they are just tightening screws against customers even more during these unprecedented times…after receiving billions from those SAME CUSTOMERS (governments) as a bailout…they most certainly do deserve to fail. The market will eventually replace them when this all clears up; the world can certainly adjust, much as we already have.

    Stop defending them.

  11. I understand all your reasons for airlines not refunding people’s money and bailouts. I even agree there is some merit to it. But as a consumer and a taxpayer, it a hard pill to swallow. What make it bad is that over the years, airlines have implemented never ending consumer unfriendly policies, numerous new and increasing fees, devaluation of miles, tighter and uncomfortable seats, it is emotionally hard to help and save bullies who have intimated people over the years. But the absolute worst part is that you and I, we all know that after this pandemic is over, nothing is going to change. Airlines are continue to do what they had been doing pre-pandemic.

  12. Try reading some reviews on Airline Quality

    People complain about airline staff over the past weeks

    Of course getting hold of companies is a nightmare presently

    However it’s see comments such as

    “ why don’t they get more staff to answer phones “

    I’ve read about staff being abused and threatened at airports because it’s their fault the passenger can’t get back home ( as the border and airport were closed )

    Most people aren’t working in offices.

    Many airlines’ main call centres are closed or restricted ops with heavily reduced staff due to local restrictions

    I recently read a report about passengers ( who also didn’t pay that airline ) on government repatriation flights, complaining about the quality of the food Catering was obviously restricted due to the circumstances

    Staff who are fearful at losing their jobs being abused and for those that say “ let them fail” ie don’t care if 70 million lose their jobs

  13. EU regulations do not supersede those of the U.S. DOT or U.S. Laws and thus I will continue to push for a full refund for my US-based flight via every avenue I have available to me. If Germany or the EU wants to stiff their own citizens on refunds that’s up to them, but I don’t get a vote in Germany or the EU and thus I’m going to continue to follow US law which is that they cancelled a flight, and I’m entitled to a refund. Good luck to Lufthansa asking the US congress to have US citizens bail them out on their tickets.

    In any case, the stockholders and creditors of Lufthansa are responsible for their current predicament, not me in asking for a refund. Had stockholders demanded that the company be better capitalized, they would be able to better weather this storm. Regardless, its not my problem and frankly, I wasn’t planning on demanding a portion of Lufthansa’s profits because I bought a ticket on the airline, so I shouldn’t be expected to take a loss. I’m a customer, not a stockholder, partner, or owner in the company.

    Lufthansa share holders, the German government, EU and German citizens in my mind all need to take massive losses before I lose one penny to Lufthansa. That airline has permanently lost my business due to their behavior even before this (paying for seats in premium economy class to sit next to my wife is ridiculous) and this just makes it even worse. Bottom line, its just a trash company trying to screw people. I wrote to my Senators to complain, filed a complaint with the DOT, filed a complaint with my state’s attorney general, did a credit card charge back, filed a complaint with Lufthansa and I will take them to small claims court over this money. They can not get away with this kind of BS, regardless of circumstances.

  14. Lufthansa to me always felt like they are still owned by the government. And I start to believe maybe they should be. It seems in the long run an airline just cant be profitable. Look at the legacy airlines which go bankrupt every once in a while or other flag carriers who are basically flying trainwrecks. Maybe intercontinental flying should just be a matter of prestige for any given country and be funded as a necessity through the government. I am tired of all these bailouts and rescues and bridge loans and what have you.

  15. @Lucky – Do you (or anyone else) know if an LH voucher resulting from 3 tickets (3 people on the same reservation) can be used later for a single ticket later, or does it have to be the same number of tickets?

  16. The issuing of vouchers in the place of cash refunds is the equivalent of giving these airlines an UNSECURED loan. Where is our collateral for said loan? Why should we take a voucher on an airline who could very well be defunct by the end of this year?

  17. Lufthansa cancelled all flights to my destination for the day I had booked and also on the following 2 days. They rebooked me for the day before but I couldn’t take that option as I had to go to work. When I eventuallly got to talk to them they claimed a 24 hour schedule change was not significant. I had no choice but to cancel and they have applied the full penalty charge! If airlines want help from taxpayers they will have to behave like honest businesses.

  18. How about the fact that airlines make money from the customers’ money that they receive well in advance of delivering a service?! Nobody takes that into consideration when it doesn’t suit them!

  19. I really understand the bind airlines are in. I also can say that it is somewhat Government controlled because they are banning certain entries.
    I also note that they are taking money for flights that they are not operating. IMHO they must process refunds or offer a deal, such as extra credit added to vouchers. If the airlines truly can not afford this then there are two options.
    1, File for Bankruptcy.
    2, Have the Government bail them out.
    I operate a small business and believe me, the cost sinvolved will never be madeup ny the new loans.

  20. Of course Germany supports this…

    the more vouchers Lufthansa is allowed to issue,
    the less refunds Lufthansa will need to make,
    the cheaper it will be for Germany to save the airline.

    Circle closed.

  21. The Hun supports the strict enforcement of rules (vide Greece and Italy post the last financial crisis) but not when it is against them.
    The E.U. is a bullying club to support Franco-German government interests. I am happy the U.K. saw through it.

  22. As a German and American whose knowledge in aviation/ travel industry is quite impressive, you must realize that Germany has weathered all storms in its history: WWII destruction and defeat, the fall of Berlin wall, the Euro crisis, the COVID 19. The Germans are highly meticulous and a top economic power house in Europe. They now have the lowest number of infected cases and deaths in Europe. Their engineers are superior to their American counterparts in R&D, Research & Development. The German government affords to rescue its national businesses and global corporations. There is no justification for any global enterprise in any country to stiff customers . Or any government enables them in expanding a strangle hold in any industry. These global corporations, banks and airlines, will never learn from their past mistakes and the “too big to fail” monopolies will wipe out the working and middle class. Capitalism is at its peak of evil and must be reformed or disintegrated. Guppies will disappear before the sharks and killer whales die. But we have animal instincts because we will sacrifice the weak and indefensible first before we pull the plug on the wealthy and influential. Yup, the paramedics and the doctors will have to decide who to leave behind and who to save. While the lawmakers, government officials, athletes and entertainers get tested on the spot at their convenience. Shame on those who justify and rationalize corporations’ survival supersedes all else. Especially when they have to work for $$, not $$ works for them by buying access & power.

  23. “ and/or offer a bonus for those who get a voucher when they’d be entitled to a cash refund otherwise.”…I like this. Win-win

  24. @ Icarus said “People take advantage and see airlines as banks They aren’t there to bail out people either. And €600 compensation is free money”

    You’re making a strawman argument and actually making zero sense.

    No one is asking for EU261 compensation and no one is expecting EU261 compensation so please stop with the suggestion that everyone is after €600.

    Passengers are simply asking for their money back on flights that were canceled by the airlines and, per a very recent clarification of the EU law, that’s money they’re entitled to.

    The issue you very conveniently forget is that if the airlines keep the cash they’re not entitled to, it’s very likely that the people owed that cash will not be able to pay their bills (like rent and groceries)…how’s that right? Why should landlords go without rent while the airlines get to keep the cash? Why do the local stores have to do without customers because those customers can’t afford to spend with them because the airlines have their money?

    You’re either not thinking this through or you’re an airline shill because the idea that airlines should be able to circumvent the laws and keep the cash they’re not entitled to is incredibly idiotic.

    Who cares if the airlines need cash? That’s not the problem of the consumer. That’s the problem of the shareholders and the governments around the world. If you want to volunteer your money to the airlines go ahead…but stop suggesting the common man/woman should prop up billion-dollar corporations with interest-free loans.

  25. “many airlines either literally couldn’t afford to refund everyone in cash, and/or would be out of business within days if they did.”

    Let’s bring this into the U.S. context for a moment and forget we’re talking about Lufthansa. If an airline can’t pay its creditors it seeks bankruptcy protection. Shareholders lose their equity first. That seems like what should happen before consumers have their money taken from them.

    American, Delta, and United have all flown through bankruptcy – and so did US Airways (2x), Continental (2x), and Northwest. None of them, in fact, went out of business.

  26. All discussions here are senseless.
    As of yesterday evening the EU made the final decition that the german way of accepting vouchers instead of cash refunds is and will be against european law!!

    This applies to flight tickets…but not to tickets for concerts or any other bookings,because those regulations depends on the laws of the single european country.

    So everbody can still ask the airlines for a cash refund within 7 days since cancellation of the ticket instead of accepting any voucher…

    Every single customer needs cash now…not only airline companies..

  27. Would Lucky feel the same way if he paid for a new car which was supposed to be delivered in two weeks, but the company then announced it was suspending new car deliveries for the duration of the shutdown and offered instead a voucher, good for one year, towards the purchase of a new car at the price to be determined when production resumed — maybe, or maybe not, within that year, and maybe a lot higher price — but refused to give your money back? If that would be wrong, why a special pass for profligate airlines? After all, you can probably get by without the new car for awhile, while your ability to reschedule your vacation within the next 12 months is probably pretty limited, if not impossible. Seems the airlines would morally be on much weaker ground, but I doubt anyone would defend a car dealer withholding your cash and not giving you a car.

  28. This is an extreme situation so I’m personally willing to take vouchers.

    The KEY thing for me if rules get relaxed during the extreme event, there are clear obligations for airlines after the extreme event is over. Lower change fees for one.

    If airlines won’t agree to that deal, then screw them. It needs to be a two way street.

  29. There is no guarantee that any airline will be around when a customer wants to redeem the voucher.
    And with inflation becoming a likely occurrence (as governments are printing money to support the economy) $500 today won’t be worth this much next year
    And maybe I don’t want to fly (or have to fly) on their network next year

  30. Last summer Lufthansa F***** me, providing no assistance as business class passenger (but doing so for other passenger connecting to other destination), then I missed my second flight in FRA for 5 min. (I suspect some overbooking playing also here).

    Then asked for rebooking to one earlier flight than the Lufthansa rebooked, NO. Compensation as EC regulation month later NO.

    So now I need to get a hypothetical voucher for another set of 4 flights with Swiss/Lufthansa ? no way. I want my money back.
    What will be my financial situation in few months with the COVID-19, I really don’t know.
    So give a loan to Lufthansa ? NEVER.

  31. I think I agree with “The nice Paul” if I’m understanding his points correctly. My take is that there are a few separate points here:

    (1) the individual consumer and the airline: the everyday person agreed to a contract by buying the ticket, and should get the refund they are due using the rules in place at time of purchase;

    (2) the airlines and this extraordinary situation: even here there are two things– (a) whether the government should bail them out (if necessary), and (b) if they should, then what other concessions can be made to help them out of the situation.
    For (a), I’m also wondering whether letting them collapse would be a huge problem at all. When the world’s economy begins recovering, surely there would be new startups in place to fill in the gaps where needed? This may be a good opportunity to overhaul the industry. Yes, there are many jobs at risk, but we can’t really use that as an excuse, right? There are many different industries being affected, many people becoming unemployed or underemployed. Everyone who frequents this blog (me included) would come in carrying a certain bias that overestimates the importance of the aviation industry, when, in perspective, probably doesn’t deserve that much emphasis.
    For (b), then the bailouts should come with other things, e.g. tax relief, waiving of fees, temporary easing of some regulatory stuff, given that the planes aren’t even flying…, etc. to help the airlines rather than using the individual consumer as the buffer… Kind of like if a company wanted to acquire another (as it is, without the complicated splitting and stuff), it can’t really choose to only take over all its assets and none of the debt.

  32. I don’t accept the premise that airlines need or have a right to other people’s money (i.e. the ticket money for flights the airlines cancelled). The airlines were not dishonest in taking payment, but are trying to dishonestly appropriate it permanently by not returning payments that passengers may not have paid if they had known the carrier’s would not return it. If carrier’s have the funds then they should be made to return the money, irrespective of the detriment to their business, after all it is not their money, just as the cancellation is not the passengers fault!

  33. Has anyone in the UK received a refund via their credit card? Here if you purchase something valued at over £100 with a credit card your contract is with the credit card company and not the company providing the goods or services. For info I have a flight to Japan in mid May with BA booked via an online flight agency

  34. “The issuing of vouchers in the place of cash refunds is the equivalent of giving these airlines an UNSECURED loan. Where is our collateral for said loan? Why should we take a voucher on an airline who could very well be defunct by the end of this year?”

    Yes so same as al prepayments. Not sure they can give you a refund if it makes them insolvent, court will enforce a repayment back to the airlines bankruptcy.

    Only way is to make use of the service not rendered clauses in your credit card agreement with your issuer in your home country.

  35. For how many generations will a consumer not be prepared to prepay an airline for a family long-haul vacation if they don’t even get a refund when flight is cancelled.

    For how many years will a retirement fund not be prepared to lend money to purchase 100 m aircraft for 5 % return if they lose they’re shirts now in debt write-offs.

  36. It funny the weekly lh (group) bashing but not a word about what Qatar is doing, to their employees, the refunds and the rise in ticket prices. Not even to speak about how they keep spreading the virus by their eager for money.
    Let the Qatar sponsoring continue…

  37. The problem is that when airlines are making money they of course distribute benefits and when an event occurs like this then suddenly the end customers shall pay!! No sorry if we all wanna play the marvelous globalisation and capitalism we pushed for years.. They have either to be bankrupt, distribute shares to the clients instead of cash refund or be nationalised.. Any options like this but sorry for shareholders –
    They need to be diluted and loose part of their holdings.. This is live of the world!! But no way they should be exempted to pay back clients.. Especially when airlines like Lufthansa group cancelled flight, didn’t propose automatically rebooking and then used the same flights to sell rescue flights to people through states rescue.. These people are not honest and can’t be simply doing what they want!!

  38. If they get away with this BS, I have lost my trust in our government and in the Lufthansa group. Not delivering a service that I paid over a thousand Euros (which for me is a significant amount of money) for and then trying to give me a voucher that expires before I can even make alternative travel plans instead of refunding the money is a huge issue. Class action incoming!

  39. @erik a — exactly! The airlines once again prove that they take us and our money for granted. And they don’t seem to understand what the loss of trust means. They cancelled my flight and now don’t want to give me my money back. That is theft. The “I was just borrowing” excuse has landed plenty of people in jail so let’s call it what this is.

    If the airlines where smart they would give incentives (miles or a ticket value boost for example) for people to take vouchers so that they get to choose what to do with their money but instead they just assume they can steal our money rather than provide a service until they feel like it. Are they crazy? Fear of bankruptcy is not a valid excuse.

  40. I had booked through a travel agent for my trip through Lufthansa , Chennai – Dallas – Chennai 27th March 2020 onward n return by 13th May 2020. The flights are cancelled world over due to the pandemic. There is no news on the refunds. Lufthansa says contact your travel agent. Difficult to get through to the travel agent MakeMyTrip. What should poor travelers like me do. It is atrocious the way the responsibilities are shifted from one to other. Ultimately the airline Lufthansa is having my money. It is their duty to refund to me.

  41. First
    EK have converted my 3 cancelled flights into open ended tickets for a year. It so happens I fly this route regularly, so this is absolutely fine for me

    One rule for Germany and another for all other EU countries
    Oh, but also change the rules when it suits Germany

    Situation normal

  42. I try to keep to the subject matter here, and not get involved in others opinions.

    However, @globetrotter, I was stunned by your comments

    First, Germany’s “weathering storms” WWII “destruction and defeat” who started it, and who continued it, wiping out millions. Defeat, yes. Justifiable. yes

    The fall of the Berlin wall: Who engineered that? Bonn. and who has benefited from reunification? Guess?

    The Euro crisis. What currency is it replacing? The non world former currency of the Deutshe Mark. And where is the European Central Bank, custodians of the Euro. Guess. Dont. Frankfurt (Most people think Brussels)

    COVID-19 Exclusively a German problem. Think again. This is worldwide and few countries are exempt. As for low numbers, Germany is now number FOUR behind USA, Italy and Spain, in cases diagnosed.

    Finally “a German and American” Does that mean a German living in America.

    MAY I ask WHY? (It’s rhetorical, by the way)

    With the greatest respect I urge you to put down your aviation papers, and catch up on some history and politics.

    That way you might just be spouting fact instead of ill informed and wildly partisan ru***sh

    Germany has weathered all storms in its history: WWII destruction and defeat, the fall of Berlin wall, the Euro crisis, the COVID 19.

  43. As a front line workers me and my husband has no guarantee for another leave for the foreseeable future, in that situation I would expect Lufthansa to take things in consideration and prioritise sensibly. Lufthansa should either extend voucher validity until 2022 or then refund my money.

  44. If Lufthansa cannot refund they should declare bankruptcy. I think the directors have legal obligation to apply for it if they have more obligations than money.
    Why should consumers loose money and shareholders keep it?

  45. Not surprising – Germany (and France, and Italy) have a disconcerting habit of just ignoring EU regulations when it suits them. This was an underlying issue in the Brexit debate: all EU members are equal but some are more equal than others. (Apologies to Orwell.)

  46. Seriously, we will not win this battle. Big business will always be taken care of at the expense of consumers. My problem is how they lied and I was told with every word recorded in my phone that all of my Lufthansa flights would be refunded, if I was given even the option to get a voucher I would taken it. To be out 4K is too much for me to feed this greedy company.

  47. The airline must give the refund because we the passengers are paying for that. LUFTANSA your the one who cancelled the flight give our money back

  48. Governments might try to ignore EU law but the courts can’t. If airlines attempt to avoid refunds for cancelled flights, which they are obliged to pay, then sue them!

  49. Lufthansa offered to refund a portion which forms about a 6th of the total purchase price of the ticket. The remainder comprises airport taxes. Anybody knows whether those will be refunded by the respective airports and how one claims it?

  50. I have been waiting for a 3.000€ refund from Lufthansa for 2 months. I have called 10 times and every time they have said 2-4 days you will have the money.

    Now I am going to kill myself because I cant afford my rent. I lost my job because of Corona and Lufthansa didnt refund me so I am jumping from the balcony.

  51. @Mike

    Don’t do it. they would have won. Be the person you always were before this. Contact your landlord and tell him that LH will pay you in 2-4 days, (it’s what you have been told) so that’s when he will get his rent.

    Continue to repeat what LH tells you.

    Meantime, if you can contact the media. I’m sure they would like to reveal your sheer desperation.

    I Hope I’m not too late!

    We can all get through this, however impossible it may seem

  52. €600 won’t even start to cover my extra costs that I will have due to getting stuck in Europe, nor can I get a refund to book a different route. Lufthansa told me that they can’t get me home, but won’t refund me either. So I’m losing out multiple times over. Who’s going to bail me out? I’m most likely going to have to close my business due to all this crap too, as no-one is going to be interested in my services for wire some time. FML…

  53. It’s not a tricky situation. Airlines need to refund. Why should they get more consideration than me? I saved up for 10 years to be able to go on my first vacation and now my flight is canceled through nobody’s fault. I no longer have any vacation days coming my way (which I was going to use on said vacation) because I used those days during my quarantine and illness. Now, I need that refund to pay my rent. There is no such thing as rent forgiveness for renters. Why do the airlines think they can just keep money for services not rendered? Why should the airlines get it over me? I can’t reschedule within the year (again, I used my vacation pay for quarantine and have to save up that time all over again before I can even think about traveling again). A voucher screws me over in every way. Even if I get a voucher how am I supposed to afford the hotel at my destination since I’ve been out of work and in lockdown? Completely useless.

    It’s pretty simple. Airlines don’t like that they’ll run out of money but are totally ok if the little guy runs out of money first. And the airlines are upping ticket prices. It’s not as if they are keeping the money and the voucher allows you to swap at any time without additional cost. That’s something they could do but are not.

  54. We have a flight to Spain scheduled in June. Given the fact that everyone has been laid off due to COVID-19 and that some of our travelers are elderly; we sought to cancel the flights so that we can use the funds for mortgage, medications, and food.

    Because Lufthansa and the German gov. obviously have NO consideration for human beings and are only concerned with their bottom line, Lufthansa will only refund $102 out of the $2,250+ charge – or we can hold the ticket but have to rebook in August!?! And then we can only rebook for dates until April 2020, not even a full year!

    Now is the time that companies show their “character.” Yes, they are in business BUT those that show a human consideration for the extraordinary times in which we find ourselves are the ones that deserve your money. Lufthansa does not.

  55. Hi Colleen same here. My question is this. Did LH cancel the flight or did you request a cancellation of the ticket? If LH had not cancelled the flight (yet), will the position be different if they do cancel it closer to June?

  56. I was booked with Lufthansa for 30 April, Barcelona to Hamburg. The cruise ship from New York to Barcelona was cancelled and the cruise ship from Hamburg back to the USA was cancelled. I waited till Lufthansa cancelled my flight but was then told NO only a voucher. Well I won’t be taken this trip ever again. It was a once in a lifetime vacation. I do not want a voucher.

    I thankfully have Allianz travel insurance. I thought “thankfully” but they will not accept my claim either. Since PANDEMIC is now used for the cancellations they do no pay out for pandemics.

  57. Just to be clear, Lufthansa did not change their refund policy. If they cancelled your flight, you are still entitled to a refund. I personally had more than half a dozen bookings with Lufthansa group carriers that have been cancelled and they have offered either a cash refund or a voucher with 50 EUR more than the value of the refund. Personally, I think this is the perfect solution, as passengers are still entitled to a refund, but you have the opportunity to take advantage of the 50 EUR bonus if you prefer the voucher. Several officials from several governments including Netherlands and France have all asked the EU to ignore EU law. However, despite what detractors claim, the EU is a liberal democracy and laws can not merely be ignored because some people want them to be. In order to change this specific law, the parliament would need to pass new legislation and it would need to be retroactive. And it is not even clear that they legally would be permitted to retroactively pass a law like that. So it is extremely unlikely that anybody is going to lose their rights, and if you want a refund, it might take longer than normal given current circumstances, but it will surely come.

  58. Thank you Grey for the re-assurance. Will the refund amount be the total amount paid for the ticket including airport taxes and other fees?

  59. Thank you Grey for your comments. Sadly, I was only offered a voucher + 50 EUR. No cash refund. I am in the USA, so maybe there are different protocols for non- EU customers. My travel agent tried to assist me & got a Lufthansa rep on the phone last week and he was also told NO cash refunds.
    I will still keep trying.

  60. I called Lufthansa around April 5 and their rep told me that refunds were coming. It was a lie.

  61. Is it possible to use Lufthansa’s vouchers for codeshare domestic USA flights only? Is there an easy way find them?

    I most likely can’t/won’t leave the US this year, so the terms of the vouchers make them worthless to me.

  62. You don’t want to have anything to do with Lufthansa. It is purely a thieving airline. Any money paid into Lufthansa does not come out again for any reason. Some other airlines like Delta are great with refunds, and keeping to regulations even when it does not benefit them, but definitely not Lufthansa. Lufthansa will readily seize money paid to them today by the very next day even if your travel date is a month away. Covid 19 only just exposed their mode of operation.

  63. Airline passengers deserves refund for their hard earned $$ and failure to do so will result in a class action lawsuit against the greedy corporation in question period.

  64. Well, I see the problem with full refund — if airlines go bust there is no money left anyway.

    That said: What really p***es me off is their so-called “goodwill rules and gestures”.
    With Lufthansa, you need to decide on a new trip before August 30. Who is able to do that in the current situation?

    My second trip with Etihad just got cancelled, end of May. They too are “flexible”; rebook for free, just pay the price difference. And here it comes: A juicy 50% hike on all fares for the coming months when they resume operations.

    I guess the question if they would refund the fare difference if you found a cheaper trip is entirely academic…

    Airlines’ treatments of customers have always been reprehensible, sadly I don’t think Corona crisis will change anything to that.

  65. I am also involved in a compensation situation with LH. I don’t see what makes them so different to any other airline enterprises, hotels and other travel vendors, booking com, airbnb, etc, who have already refunded customers for cancelled flights and for inability to travel in view of the pandemic!!

    At the same time, while Lufthansa and KLM fail to refund their customers, German and Dutch governments refuse to the EU to proceed issuance of the European Coronabond. SHAME!!!

  66. I see a lot of activity , and negative comments , but can we turn this into action ?
    I can’t see the EU changing its rules to protect the airlines, this would set a precedent in lots of other industries .
    I personally was a frequent flyer and built what i thought was a relationship with lufthansa where they would value my custom .
    Frankly their response has been sure you will get the money (over 5k ) in your bank within 2 weeks this was early in February.
    Late February response was , don’t worry as a valued loyal customer you will be refunded within 2 weeks . Correspondance was frequent in March , with no payment made .
    This week i received a letter saying due to economic circumstances we will offer you a voucher for your flight .
    Lufthansa is in a difficult situation , however they make business only through customer relationships , once you destroy customers trust , you loose business .
    So maybe the only way to get Lufthansa to reimburse your hard earn’t cash is to start a petition naming and shaming then in the media, maybe followed by a class action lawsuit .
    Not sure if you have to do in each country you reside in ?
    Any legal people looking at this website ? how can this be done , as the more i look on line
    The more i see companies like Lufthansa (SWISS /Austrian same group) act outside of the law .

    If Lufthansa start to see this escalate in the media , then they may push the German government to offer loans (bale out )
    To use other peoples money paid in advance for a service they don’t receive is not a sustainable business and shame on the German Government if they think it is .
    Frankly i doubt whether i will use their services again unless they
    honour what they said they would do and reimburse me for the amount of my flight under the contractual terms and conditions i agreed to when my flight was booked .

  67. What is shocking to me is that you have paid in January 2020 for a flight in May 2020. Now your flight is cancelled.

    1. The service that you have paid for has not yet been for-fulled.
    2. How come no refund if you ask one.
    3. How can I use a voucher again if I can’t travel within the next 12 months again. ‘
    (Im 8500km away)
    4. Does airlines use upfront cash to sustain there current cash flow problem.
    5. What if people in the month of may (that you supposed to fly) don’t buy tickets… how can they fly you then… it sounds to me like a snow ball cash flow month to month problem!

    It really breaks my heart that for 12 months saving for an international holiday with family, you actual loose your money… or must I rather say it feels like THEFT!!!!!

  68. I filed a dispute with my chase card. If challenged by Luftansa, I will go to court with this!!!
    I had a ticket booked for 1st April and Lufthansa cancelled it in March 14th. Still no refund

  69. Last week, I filed a dispute with my AMEX credit card company. I paid full fare on 3 Sep 19 for 2 tickets traveling on 30 Apr 20. Lufthansa cancelled and offered only a voucher, no cash refund. The length of time was no issue as AMEX treats airline purchases differently.

    AMEX rep stated that due to so many complaints concerning Lufthansa it will take their fraud & dispute department until at least 1 Jun to let me know if they were reimbursed. Until then, AMEX has refunded all my money.

  70. a voucher could be ok to me, I should fly in august 2020 and I could postpone my travel to 2021, BUT the voucher is for travelling until april 2021!!! AND, the luggage surplus (200€) won’t be refunded..

  71. Aside from the question whether they should have to refund, I’m wondering why they claim that reimbursement processing takes so long due to the heavy workload? Is this a manual process? Reimbursement for a cancelled flight should be completely automatable. How do other airlines handle this?

    If it’s just a lame excuse, they really should be more honest instead of just letting claims dangling.

  72. I don’t care, too!

    What about disaster insurance for Lufthansa? That’s not the first Pandemic in the history of humanity. H1N1 was the last.

    I agree it’s a massive theft cause f.e. IBERIA got my money back in 5 days after 3 cancellation, 3 times in the last months.

    UE Law are law for all countries, but never for Germany and close friends. That’s an abuse of european customer, not german only.

    Dura lex, sed Lex..

  73. Is it the airlines or the passengers? If the flights are not done because it is “higher powers” (as right now, certain/many flights are not happening, but because its Lufthansa fault), then Lufthansa does not have to refund. It is not within the power of Lufthansa.

    If people want 100% refund no matter what, you have to pay a higher price, but of course people dont do because they want to fly for 600 roundtrip Frankfurt New York. None of my friends ever paid tickets incl. 100% refund policy for such cases.

    Personally I think Lufthansa has provided a good solution in the current situation. They are very flexible to rebook flights at any time until May 2021 (booking needs to be done until August) which also includes completely different travel destinations. On top they over a 50% discount.

  74. Well, not true. The discount is 50 euro, not 50%. I have a ticket for august, when prices are high, and they let me rebook to fly at the best in April 2021, winter and April, how many people do you know that have their main vacation in winter? And when tickets have a lesser value. If they cancel the flight there is a European law, and THEY HAVE TO refund. If I decide to change my booking and get their gently offer to get a useless flight it’s my choice, but if they cancel well they could be German but there is a law, and a class action will be their fault

  75. @Jan

    You forgot a very important detail:

    If you want to rebook your flight, you have to pay the possible fare difference.

    In my case:
    4.500 Euro for a maybe flight in August in addition to my paid First Ticket of 2.000 Euro (cheap F Ticket from KBP)….

  76. And tell me, how is it European Law is not reinforced? it is there, just for the sake of it? is there any organization defending people’s rights?
    They don’t own me that big amount of money, it’s just 120 euros, but they are mine and they shouldn’t be retaining it. That’s free money. If they need it, they should knock on bank’s doors.
    This inaction from regulators and governments, backs up companies scamming customers. They shouldn’t be allowed to operate if they are not that strong that has to unduly and unlawful retain money from customers.

  77. ANA
    EU rules are not usually enforced against big companies, particularly big German companies as they have well organized lobbying .

  78. @Peter
    For sure, and the EU parliament is around 83% split between Liberal Democrats (from one member nation) and Christian Democrats (funnily from the same nation).

    These are the two parties forming the German Coalition Government coincidentally.

    Then they have cosy chats behind closed doors (“under four eyes” as Germans would say) and make sure they vote together, blocking all opposition.

    The whole things stinks to high heaven. And now Germany is being revealed to exactly how it behaves with regard to controlling, or ignoring their wonderful EU

    They will fail, just like they failed twice before.

  79. I will never fly Lufthansa again, and will actively dissuade, forever, anyone who will listen not to fly them.

  80. I agree.
    Carsten destroyed a huge reputation of fair play in just 3 months..
    Now, I feel no more sure to book Lufthansa’s ticket.
    Lufthansa has all money to refund all clients but his CEO is playing a game with Angela and other countries on our skin..

  81. @Jimmy
    Good suggestions. I’m flying from DC to Venice (via Brussels) June 15-29th. Italy is enforcing (which I understand completely) a 14 day quarantine for arrivals. That’s our whole vacation. Because I’m not about to sit in a hotel for our vacation I am going to cancel. Can you give me the US statutes and regs that you might have used to argue your point? I could use those in my letters as well.

    To everyone: I don’t want to accept the vouchers (almost $5k we paid for our family) because the ridiculous window of time to rebook and travel. I will do as Jimmy suggest (writing senators, Chase Sapphire, etc) however, should I wait until the last minute to see if they cancel? This seems like a better strategy because their having canceled should be a better argument. If they haven’t canceled 24 hours before our flight I will reluctantly take the voucher and still push for a refund and I will relinquish the voucher. Does this seem a wise strategy? Can’t believe we all have to go through this.

  82. Are your tickets refundable or non-refundable? If you cancel be careful as non-refundable means just that. Now if Lufthansa cancels it won’t matter and you along with the most of us will fight for our money back.
    As of today, my AMEX account has temporarily refunded me my money (see my comments above).
    For us, this was a once in a lifetime trip and can not be duplicated, so a voucher is worthless to us.

  83. Non-refundable tickets becomes refundable tickets once the airline canceled the full booking or just one single flight out of four flights
    (e.g. KBP-FRA-SIN-ZRH-KBP and Lufthansa canceled KBP-FRA without any rebooking).
    As a result I canceled my whole booking and I will get a refund.

  84. Yes, but only when the airline cancels, if you cancelled any party then non-refundable means just that. Our problem is Lufthansa and now will the implied backing of the German government. No cash will be given.
    That was my issue on April 30th. Lufthansa cancelled but only a voucher is offered. No cash at all. If you get a cash refund let us all know how Lufthansa gave you your cash back but will Not give anyone else their cash refund.

  85. In my case the airline canceled the first part flight.
    So I m eligble for a refund – but as all of us I m still waiting for cash refund since 8 weeks now.

    LH told me that they are willing to pay…but not within the 7 days rule due to european law EU VO 206/2004 and not in the near future either.
    So I go to court now….

    I will let the audience know how it goes..

  86. Can anyone please help understand if LH is also playing around refunding flights, which they had cancelled?
    I had my flights 15 April -3 May canceled by LH, and officially they promised a refund, but not earlier than 6 months they say..
    This sounds more like they are waiting, and trying to escape also this..

    Have anyone heard of actual refund already for flights cancelled around end March for example?

  87. I have a trip planned for the end of July, which I saved for for two years. I surprised my husband with a gift to Latvia, the country his family emigrated from. I used Lufthansa because they are financially stable as opposed to an airline like Norwegian air. Initially it looked like if the flight is not cancelled we get nothing. Recently it looks like we can get a voucher but only for travel up to the end of April 2021. We are happy to shift the trip to the summer of 2021. We can’t go this summer and take a chance of getting sick because my husband is high risk should he develop COVID. I understand both sides. I would be happy with a voucher but Lufthansa should be more flexible and extend the time period during which the vouchers can be used. We can only travel in the summer due to work.

  88. I too am holding lufthansa ticket, but I am even in a worst situation because I purchased mine through Liberty Travel. My end May ticket was canceled and what they are offering is same as mentioned by many, rebook by Aug 31 and only good till end of April 2021. I am co nected with a large group to join from another country, which I paid also separately and cod lose that money too. Lufthansa refuses to deal with me and bounces me back to the airline. Liberty claims that it will take Lufthansa up to 10 months to refund. I tried many times to verify if this us true and can’t get a straight answer from lufthansa. I did a CC charge back, so will see if it works, and spoke to FL state Atty office, will file a complaint. I am livid. In short, this is how Germans behave, it’s their history and in their DNA.

  89. too am holding lufthansa ticket, but I am even in a worst situation because I purchased mine through Liberty Travel. My end May ticket was canceled and what they are offering is same as mentioned by many, rebook by Aug 31 and only good till end of April 2021. I am co nected with a large group to join from another country, which I paid also separately and cod lose that money too. Lufthansa refuses to deal with me and bounces me back to the airline. Liberty claims that it will take Lufthansa up to 10 months to refund. I tried many times to verify if this us true and can’t get a straight answer from lufthansa. I did a CC charge back, so will see if it works, and spoke to FL state Atty office, will file a complaint. I am livid. In short, this is how Germans behave, it’s their history and in their DNA.

  90. I as well have a flight booked which will most likely be cancelled 5/25. Really interested in how this works for refunds, as LH rules for a voucher would not even get me to be able to fly in the same time frame. Also with DOT ruling that foreign airlines have to abide but US law and refund for cancelled flight originating in US, EU means nothing. Based on this how is it enforced if LH doesnt follow through and what does time refund mean, since many have said LH is delaying/slow rolling refunds months….if at all?

  91. Disgusting service from Lufthansa. Flight cancelled 7 weeks ago and still no refund (£450 due). Told me on the phone today it might take up to 4 months. Asked for a manager and been on hold for 25 minutes and counting. They clearly have no intention of refunding customers! I know it’s difficult times for Airlines but that’s why they have governments and insurance companies to look after the, WE WANT OUR REFUND!!!!!!

  92. Exactly. How can they keep my money for taxes and fees that were never paid to the governments? And the fuel surcharge for flights that never happeened and at decades low fuel prices?

  93. I cancelled a Miles and More booking 3 weeks ago as Lufthansa were still pretending they would operate the flight. Miles are normally credited in a few minutes. Still nothing appearing on my account today. It seems most of the computer systems in Lufthansa have COVID-19 as well.

  94. My flight was for 3/23/20 and was cancelled by Lufthansa on 3/20/20. I opted for the refund and still have not received it. Keep getting told that it is coming and will take awhile.

  95. Fascinating discussion. In February 2020 booked two business class tickets with Lufthansa to Joburg and have had the same experience as others here of less than helpful response from the airline for a refund. I get it that the refund might be a while coming but like others find it utterly unacceptable that the German government is trying to have the EU Commission suspend the law requiring such refunds to be made. So much for EU solidarity and the much vaunted protection for the consumer’s rights. I don’t think much of the idea that my money should be used by the German government to reduce the costs to it of bailing out Lufthansa. The voucher offer is a joke. Of course, I still have ultimate options to seek a refund under the insurance I took out long before the Covid 9 pandemic was declared or the credit card which I used for payment but either course would require me to demonstrate that I have exhausted every effort to secure the refund from the cowboys holding my money. I just hope I live that long!

  96. This is organized theft, stealing of consumer’s money. The government can’t have strict rules for some and change when is not convenient for them.
    Pay what you owe!

  97. Cancelled 5 tickets on the 28/02, Luftansa are dragging legs saying the “refund in process”, when actually it seems that an organized scam with the German goverment is in process…

  98. Germany should also leave the EU while they are at it, good riddance. Disolve it all.

  99. I am an American who in January 2020 planned and prepaid for a magnificent month long vacation for a family of 5 for May 2020 to visit Germany and spend a week in London.
    A major investment; and no, I am not rich…years of dreaming and saving for this vacation.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with flight cancelations, international travel restrictions, self-quarantine policies, and safe practices of shelter-in-place distancing; American Airlines, hotels in both Germany and London, rental cars, and prepaid tourist excursions and guided tours have been refunded immediately without any questions; except our round trip airfare from Frankfurt Germany to London by Lufthansa Airlines in May 2020.

    Several requests for a refund have been submitted by American Express Travel who made the reservation for me and it was prepaid using my American Express Card in January 2020: which, I was billed and have paid off…as a responsible consumer and customer.

    The problem is a German Government and a major national airline company not meeting the mandate and requirements stipulated by, “The European Union has among the strictest consumer protection laws in the world, with a policy known as EC261. Just recently it was clarified that airlines subjected to EC261 do need to give passengers the option of a cash refund in the event that a flight is cancelled.”

    Bottom-line, Germany PM Merkel and Lufthansa Airlines executives are only hurting their future tourism and customer base. Before a Lufthansa bail-out should be even considered, Lufthansa should be required and made responsible to refund prepaid customers before one EURO of bail-out is proposed and implemented.

    As of today, I will NOT and I recommend to all others who have prepaid for flights with Lufthansa or not as this could be you next time to exercise your right and DO NOT FLY LUFTHANSA until they make good to refund customers their hard earned money; as, LUFTHANSA did not and has not earned it yet.

    As far as I am concerned, at this point Lufthansa has STOLEN hard earned money from good people who trusted a company who services an international community to be honest with integrity of good business practices to its loyal and first-time customers.

    Stop, think, and do the right thing; the world is watching and judging.

  100. I bought a Lufthansa flight from Boston to Shanghai and it was canceled on May 15th, 2020. Called for a refund on the same day. Now it’s been three months and I have been calling to check the status of it every week, still no refund.
    Under the same circumstance, United, Cathay Pacific have both refunded me in full amount within 24 hours. Shame on Lufthansa.
    Even after my third call to expedite my refund, Lufthansa sent me an email telling me that I could “get a voucher with a 50 euro discount”, or if I want my refund, I do nothing (they are too busy to answer the calls?). No, I don’t want your voucher. I spent $2700 dollars for a flight that never took place. When I called, first there is going to be a 30 min waiting time, and when the customer service answers, she/he is going to tell you that your refund is still being processed and can take up to 3 months. After I told them that it has already been three months, they told me that there is nothing they can do since they don’t take care of the refund. The refund department handles it and they are internal therefore don’t take customer calls. I asked to speak with their supervisors and they hung up on me.
    Lufthansa is just hoarding customers’ money while still posting new flights that will be eventually canceled.

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