LOT Polish’s Beijing Denied Boarding & Fraud Fiasco

LOT Polish’s Beijing Denied Boarding & Fraud Fiasco

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Note: See this post for an update, as LOT Polish Airlines will be making the reader whole, and reimbursing him for his Korean Air ticket.

An OMAAT reader shared with me a frustrating situation he’s currently dealing with, and has asked for help. I feel like in my nearly 20 years of being obsessed with miles & points, I’ve seen just about everything, and don’t have to think much about what advice to give. However, this one is a little more complicated.

LOT Polish denying boarding to passengers in Beijing

A reader booked a business class award ticket for travel on March 29, 2023, from Beijing to Warsaw to Frankfurt to New York, with the first two flights on LOT Polish. He booked this using his own Air Canada Aeroplan points, which he transfered from his own Capital One mileage account (for what it’s worth, he shared screenshots with me proving the miles came out of his Capital One account, and that the ticket was booked out of his Aeroplan account).

When he got to Beijing Airport he was involuntarily denied boarding by the local ground crew. According to the reader:

  • First they claimed that the flight was booked illegally, as one can’t use credit card points for these flights
  • Later they claimed that only Miles & More miles can be used for LOT Polish flights, and not miles belonging to partner programs
  • He tried to calmly explain that this wasn’t accurate, but they refused to listen and intimidated him by threatening to call the police
  • He called LOT Polish customer service in Poland, and the representative agreed that his booking was valid; the phone representative called the office in Beijing, but they refused to change their stance

The passenger needed to get back to New York, and LOT Polish refused to offer any alternatives. As a result, he booked a Korean Air business class ticket, which cost over $5,800. Following all of this, he reached out to LOT Polish, but hasn’t heard back in months.

Some people might say “well it seems risky to buy a $5,800 ticket.” That’s totally true, though keep in mind that business class airfare out of China continues to be really, really expensive, given the huge capacity constraints. That was probably the cheapest business class option back to the United States at that point, and often there’s not any last minute award availability out of Beijing.

For what it’s worth, the reader also shared his experience on FlyerTalk, and there are several other reports of people specifically being denied boarding on LOT Polish flights out of Beijing when booked with Air Canada Aeroplan points and Avianca LifeMiles.

LOT Polish is denying some passengers boarding in Beijing

Why is LOT Polish denying boarding to passengers?

This is speculation on my part, but here’s my best guess as to what’s going on. As I’ve written about before, there’s a lot of fraud when it comes to frequent flyer programs. There are mileage brokers who will sell people tickets that they book using miles. The three biggest markets for this kind of behavior are China, India, and the United States.

Currently international capacity out of mainland China is incredibly limited, and as a result, fares are expensive. LOT Polish has released a lot of award availability on its route between Warsaw and Beijing. So this has not only proven popular with those looking to redeem their own miles, but has also proven to be a lucrative opportunity for mileage brokers.

Specific to this exact situation, I was recently shown some screenshots of how flights on this exact route were being sold on a Chinese forum for cheap premium tickets. Obviously someone at LOT Polish figured this out — I’m not sure if this was someone in the Beijing office, or what. And it seems that their solution to combat fraud has been to just cancel Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles tickets originating in Beijing.

Now, obviously this poses a major issue, and is completely unreasonable:

  • Not everyone who books an award ticket originating in Beijing is committing fraud
  • While airlines can punish people they suspect of fraud by closing their frequent flyer accounts, they can’t just baselessly and unilaterally cancel a confirmed ticket, without any proof of wrongdoing
  • Even worse is that the airline isn’t providing any advance notice of a ticket being canceled, and is just letting people show up at the airport

As far as I can tell, Air Canada Aeroplan has no fault here, as the ticket was correctly issued. It’s not even clear at what level the decisions are being made here at LOT Polish — was this a management decision, or is the LOT Polish Beijing station manager just going rogue and taking the initiative to cancel tickets?

What recourse does the passenger have?

It seems pretty clear to me that someone at LOT Polish has just been overzealous with denying boarding in Beijing. I’m doing what I can to help the reader, though full disclosure, I don’t have any contacts at LOT Polish. So I’ll do what I can, and I think part of that is amplifying this story.

How would I otherwise reasonably handle this situation? My first thought is that EU261 covers air passenger rights for European Union travel. Unfortunately in 2022, an Austrian court ruled that EU261 doesn’t apply when you’re simply connecting in the European Union between other regions.

If the reader isn’t getting a response from LOT Polish customer relations, what options are left? It seems to me that he would have to pursue legal action. Unfortunately the best way to pursue legal action is beyond my area of expertise.

As an American, how do you go after a Polish airline that denied you boarding in China, for a ticket issued by a Canadian airline? This obviously isn’t simple, and I’m sure there are OMAAT readers that are much more knowledgable than I am.

If you ask me, LOT Polish should be on the hook for reimbursing this traveler for his Korean Air ticket, which he had to purchase due to incorrectly being denied boarding. How one actually gets that resolution, though, is something I don’t know. But there are a lot of really smart OMAAT readers, so I hope y’all can chime in with your thoughts.

Someone at LOT Polish thinks award tickets are fraudulent

Bottom line

LOT Polish is denying some passengers boarding when booked on partner award tickets out of Beijing. There does seem to be quite a bit of fraud with award tickets originating on this flight out of Beijing, though obviously not all tickets are fraudulent.

Suffice it to say that this is completely unacceptable. Award ticket fraud is a serious issue, but you can’t just baselessly assume that everyone with an award ticket issued through a partner program is committing fraud. LOT Polish needs to be held accountable here… I’m just not exactly sure what that should look like.

How would you handle this LOT Polish denied boarding situation?

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  1. Chuang Guest

    I was at Budapest (BUD) airport on July 22, holding a LOT business-class award ticket issued by ANA flying to Seoul (ICN). At checkin counter, I was informed that I either had to transfer at Istanbul (IST) and wait for 8 hours for the next flight or had to be downgraded to economy class voluntarily due to malfunction of the seat I was assigned to. I had no choice but to be downgraded since my...

    I was at Budapest (BUD) airport on July 22, holding a LOT business-class award ticket issued by ANA flying to Seoul (ICN). At checkin counter, I was informed that I either had to transfer at Istanbul (IST) and wait for 8 hours for the next flight or had to be downgraded to economy class voluntarily due to malfunction of the seat I was assigned to. I had no choice but to be downgraded since my hotel in Seoul cannot be canceled. It is absolutely an awful experience, and I am sharing it just to let the readers know it’s better to avoid LOT. You never know what would happen to you when you try to check in at the airport.

  2. John Guest

    https://www.flightright.co.uk/ They’ll take a 15-25% cut of the settlement, but your problem will be solved tote de suite.

  3. David Guest

    Luckily this flight includes a stop in Germany.

    There is a very good German EU261 lawyer, Dr. Böse. That’s the person I’d contact. He is very well known as he is the lawyer behind several consumer friendly court orders.

    For example he made Air France honour my first class ticket on a rather cheap fare :)

    Very cheap and fair prices.

    1. Mike Guest

      That was my thought as well. He also won against LH quite a few times. And as a bonus his name literally translates to “Dr. Evil”.

  4. iamhere Guest

    If he had a Polish LOT confirmation number and a ticket number then it was probably issued correctly. One thing you did not point out is that the grounds crew is probably not working for the airline. The grounds crew is probably either local airport staff or works for a partner airline which Polish LOT cooperates with. I think he needs to prove that he was denied boarding and this was the reason, which unless...

    If he had a Polish LOT confirmation number and a ticket number then it was probably issued correctly. One thing you did not point out is that the grounds crew is probably not working for the airline. The grounds crew is probably either local airport staff or works for a partner airline which Polish LOT cooperates with. I think he needs to prove that he was denied boarding and this was the reason, which unless he recorded the situation would be tough to do. This also proves the benefits of checking in online as then he would already have the boarding card in advance. I also wonder what these people all had in common.

    1. ny110010001 Guest

      hi iamhere. I'm the reader to reached out to Ben.

      I did have a ticket number (as a frequent flyer, that's one of the first thing I check) so its a valid ticket. I also recorded a call with LOT in Poland so there are ways to substantiate that I am not making this up (in addition to the other people posting on Flyertalk having the same issue). What's interesting is that I was able...

      hi iamhere. I'm the reader to reached out to Ben.

      I did have a ticket number (as a frequent flyer, that's one of the first thing I check) so its a valid ticket. I also recorded a call with LOT in Poland so there are ways to substantiate that I am not making this up (in addition to the other people posting on Flyertalk having the same issue). What's interesting is that I was able to select seats and got a boarding pass before the local crew rescinded the boarding pass by the time I got to the airport so there is no way I could have foresee this ordeal before hand.

      There might be some developments with my case. I'll be sure to share in due time once I have something more concrete.

  5. robbo Guest

    Another China-Virus. Do these people have no bounds as to how low they will stoop. Do what I do, boycott the Commie bastards.

    1. Icarus Guest

      I can hear the banjo duel playing as I read your message.

    2. VM Guest

      Wow, 1 problem with a specific airline and ground handling crews, and you already play the racist card.
      Care to do the same with Ben's posts on American Airlines denying compensation claims? :)

    3. SF Guest

      I am not sure why this kind of racist comment is allowed here... Very disgraceful.

    4. Brian Guest

      Only reason it's here is because Ben allowed it to be, which shows what a racist Ben himself is.

  6. Kevin Guest

    Sure, he was denied boarding but to say he needs a business class flight for a tremendous amount of money shouldn't be at the fault of LOT. Look, if you need to get from point A to B, get what you can, don't try to weasel your way to a high fare and expect the airline to reimburse you.

    1. Mh Diamond

      ...Except it's equally fair to book like for like. And we don't know his situation - maybe he has a condition that requires BC travel as well. But regardless, he had a ticketed, confirmed BC booking, so that is a suitable replacement. He didn't book FC as a substitute.

    2. Samo Guest

      If you have a business class ticket and you're denied boarding, it's natural to expect the replacement flight to be in business class too.

    3. TA Guest

      This is a much lower fare than what's "normal" for China-US routes in J. The OP in the FT thread said that Y fares on LOT were also $5k.

    4. ny110010001 Guest

      hi Kevin, the original ticket was booked in business so naturally the replacement flight should be in business also.

      You wouldn't want to pay for a higher class of service but only got a lower class in return, would you? Looking at historical successful claims against airlines, people have been reimbursed for the class of service they are originally booked so even the airlines that paid out find this acceptable. There is no "weasel" one's way to a high fare.

  7. Kelley P Diamond

    This person should contact Chris Elliott at https://www.elliott.org/

    This is a Consumer Advocate for travel and they may be able to offer more help than you can Lucky.

    Good luck.

  8. Fed UP Guest

    1. Why would anyone book such a convoluted itinerary
    2. Why would anyone use LOT
    3. Why would anyone be in Bejing at the moment

    China doesn't play by any rules, they don't like anyone who speaks up, you are supposed to do what you are told. He is lucky he isn't in an interment camp somewhere.

    There I said it.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      I’m in China and so glad hasn’t seen any non sense such as insurrection, lgbtq+ madness, mass shooting, coke in white house, and more. Only white americans would call China don’t play by any rules… Please learn your own history and the dirty things you did during cold war or even further. You invaded other countries for fake reasons. So glad someone is standing up to the US bullshit. They’re master of propaganda and brainwashing...

      I’m in China and so glad hasn’t seen any non sense such as insurrection, lgbtq+ madness, mass shooting, coke in white house, and more. Only white americans would call China don’t play by any rules… Please learn your own history and the dirty things you did during cold war or even further. You invaded other countries for fake reasons. So glad someone is standing up to the US bullshit. They’re master of propaganda and brainwashing and yet you will probably call me brainwashed one…
      You’ve probably never been to China because.
      I can say whatever I want. I just can’t start a revolution or commit January 6 or HK terrorism (what do you call disrupting flight operations when these people demonstrate the airport and hight to the airport? If I, someone from largest muslim country would do this in US, i would be in black site somewhere due to PATRIOT ACT despite being a US person protected by the bill of rights) without any repercussions and gladly so…

    2. SF Guest

      This is the most ridiculous comment ever, but I don't blame you because you certainly haven't been to China and you are heavily brainwashed by the western media.

  9. isaac Guest

    Yea shame on LOT, although I sort of understand why they did what they did but they could have contacted AC well in advance(assuming it wasnt a last min tkt to see if its legit). But if I learnt 1 thing from many decades of flying is when you hit a wall and go out on your own w/o getting approval from the carrier.hotel, car rental company then I assume It will be a dent...

    Yea shame on LOT, although I sort of understand why they did what they did but they could have contacted AC well in advance(assuming it wasnt a last min tkt to see if its legit). But if I learnt 1 thing from many decades of flying is when you hit a wall and go out on your own w/o getting approval from the carrier.hotel, car rental company then I assume It will be a dent in my pocket and thereby Id try to min the cost. In this case if I didnt want to be out $5800+ I would have purchased the cheapest fare in any cabin to get to where I was heading

    1. Samo Guest

      The bizarre element of this is that this doesn't seem to be LOT's decision. If it would, they would cancel the ticket but that has not been the case, as confirmed by LOT customer service agents.

      This seems like local handling company going rouge. It doesn't make any sense.

  10. DenB Diamond

    I'm a wee bit skeptical of Ben's view that Aeroplan is off the hook because the "ticket was issued correctly". It looks to me like Air Canada sold something and took payment for it (points+$). If Ben's advice is not to pursue AC, I respectfully disagree. Having said that, I'm not predicting they'll answer "OMG so sorry, here's full compensation for your KE tix". AC are thieves and rogues, so YMMV. Ground staff going rogue...

    I'm a wee bit skeptical of Ben's view that Aeroplan is off the hook because the "ticket was issued correctly". It looks to me like Air Canada sold something and took payment for it (points+$). If Ben's advice is not to pursue AC, I respectfully disagree. Having said that, I'm not predicting they'll answer "OMG so sorry, here's full compensation for your KE tix". AC are thieves and rogues, so YMMV. Ground staff going rogue is an ugly, frightening prospect. It was worse during the pandemic, when "rules" changed daily and least-trained staff were the enforcement. But this is next-level. Ew. Just, ew.

  11. James R Guest

    You have to notice, though, that the problem was with the ground team in China, not the Polish Airlines themselves. Headquarters in Poland called China and ordered them to board the passenger, but they refused. Chinese are never in sync with the rest of the world, so it’s better to avoid that place and people altogether.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      I agree! The Chinese ground team were never going to backtrack, even having been instructed by WAW HQ to do so.
      Probably all about not ' losing face' , despite being a disasterous decision with real consequences.
      I recall meeting some lovely locals there, but officialdom is something else. Overall my approach to China is ' been there done that, plenty of other places yet to visit' .

  12. Nelson Diamond

    Like many mentioned, I'm affraid the best, fastest and most sure way is through the court. This case have too many "companies" involved to solve it by your own.
    I've had several years ago a similar situation, I called and wrote the (EU) Airline and they told me there was nothing they could do, which is a standard response in my opinion.
    We were 4 PAX, I explained my lawyer the case and...

    Like many mentioned, I'm affraid the best, fastest and most sure way is through the court. This case have too many "companies" involved to solve it by your own.
    I've had several years ago a similar situation, I called and wrote the (EU) Airline and they told me there was nothing they could do, which is a standard response in my opinion.
    We were 4 PAX, I explained my lawyer the case and give him all the paperwork. Within less than 6 months I got everything solved, EU261, all expenses we did (there was no night involved) plus the intrest up till the day I got my money.
    Don't know how this works in the US but here I have a kind of insurance that almost everyone have that covers all kind of things, but like in my case you have to include "Judicial Expenses." This insurance costs me under 200€ a year. And if one of the people living (officialy) under my roof and he "accidentally" throws a stone on a passing car, well, my insurance covers the cost. I believe the first 150€ is for me. But still, I had almost no worries and it costs me I remember 100€ back in time.
    Good luck on that! I don't think I would have had a laugh on that back in time at WAW.

  13. Chilangoflyer Guest

    First of all, in my opinion the Austian court is wrong. However, where is the client from? He should sue LOT in his home country, if possible.

  14. Mak Guest

    Anybody wanting to know what your potential remedies are, where you can sue, and whom you can sue, should refer to the Montreal Convention. That document represents the sum total of your remedies against the airlines for this sort of thing (at least for US residents). You can sue where you live, where the ticket was issued, against the actual carrier and the issuer of the ticket.

    1. Dave Guest

      Incorrect. Based on that Convention, you can sue the carrier in the country it registreren (Poland) or in the destination country (USA). Not in the country a passenger lives or starts a journey.

  15. Omar Guest

    Even if this was issued by a broker, it's none of Lot's business. It's not their ticket stock and they were duly compensated by the plated carrier as contractually agreed. If the compensation received from aeroplan isn't sufficient for them they should stop releasing seats for award redemption.

    1. Icarus Guest

      The contract is with the operating or marketing carrier irrespective of the plating carrier. Any refund is by the plating carrier. Eg Air Canada ticket, LOT flight number Beijing - Warsaw, contract with LOT.

  16. Felix Guest

    @Ben

    The linked and recent article about the EU261 compensation contains a widespread misunderstanding.

    The threshold for a delay is always 3 hours unrelated to the distance.

    The differentiation between 2,3 and 4 hours for the corresponding distance only relates to the question when a carrier is required to support you with water, food, and telephone calls.

    I kindly ask you to do some further research because I was also confused until recently and thought...

    @Ben

    The linked and recent article about the EU261 compensation contains a widespread misunderstanding.

    The threshold for a delay is always 3 hours unrelated to the distance.

    The differentiation between 2,3 and 4 hours for the corresponding distance only relates to the question when a carrier is required to support you with water, food, and telephone calls.

    I kindly ask you to do some further research because I was also confused until recently and thought the same as you.

  17. VY Guest

    AC is usually pretty good about rebooking passengers onto its own metals when partner airline cancels (obviously the passenger here may not have had enough time, and the aeroplan call center hours can be notoriously long and limited in open hours, also AC flights out of Asia right now are always sold out). But doesn’t AC as the ticketing airline here still have the responsibility to get the passenger to NYC?

  18. Felix02 Guest

    EU261 covers this case as LOT is a European airline.

    Denied boarding is basically a cancelled flight for the person, so LOT must pay 600€ as well as reimbursing the costs for “the next available flight”. In practice there should not be an issue when the customer decides to take a later flight at a cheaper price.

    Be prepared to bring this to court. However, each EU country should have a (governmental) organization to enforce...

    EU261 covers this case as LOT is a European airline.

    Denied boarding is basically a cancelled flight for the person, so LOT must pay 600€ as well as reimbursing the costs for “the next available flight”. In practice there should not be an issue when the customer decides to take a later flight at a cheaper price.

    Be prepared to bring this to court. However, each EU country should have a (governmental) organization to enforce the EU261 rights with a carrier.

    I am confident it works out well for the person affected.

    1. Icarus Guest

      Eu261 applies if the journey terminates in the EU/EEA/U.K. Should you transit and fly eg PEK WAW JFK it does not. However you can refer to the Montreal convention if you have proven damages.

    2. Sq00 Guest

      How about it BCN-PVG (transit)-CDG. Does EC261 applies?

  19. Punamo Guest

    I don’t have any thoughts on how to help this traveler but I am appreciative of what you have done here to help this traveler to get his story heard. Kudos!

  20. Eli Guest

    Is it possible that they just do a lot of overbooking's on this route?

    1. Dave Guest

      I was thinking this possibility too since the demands were high this past year and maybe some powerful people need seats.

  21. Samo Guest

    It's almost as bad as when people call that airline "LOT Polish". Please, stop it.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Samo -- I'm curious what your issue is with that? The carrier's formal name is LOT Polish Airlines. Generally it's appropriate to refer to an airline by its name minus the "Airlines," "Airline," or "Airways," in the same way I'd refer to American Airlines as American, or Etihad Airways as Etihad, or Emirates Airline as Emirates.

      So please help me understand what's wrong with LOT Polish?

    2. Samo Guest

      That's the origin of the issue. The name of the airline is LOT, with "Polish Airlines" only being sort of a "description" of what it is. It's not really part of the brand name. Imagine if Coca Cola was formally called Coca Cola Soft Drink and someone would shorten it to Coca Cola Soft :)

      Thus the short version is LOT (equivalent of American, Etihad, Emirates) and the long version is LOT Polish Airlines...

      That's the origin of the issue. The name of the airline is LOT, with "Polish Airlines" only being sort of a "description" of what it is. It's not really part of the brand name. Imagine if Coca Cola was formally called Coca Cola Soft Drink and someone would shorten it to Coca Cola Soft :)

      Thus the short version is LOT (equivalent of American, Etihad, Emirates) and the long version is LOT Polish Airlines (equivalent of American Airlines. Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline). LOT Polish is never used by the airline itself either. It wouldn't make sense, because there's no point in adding description "Polish" to the name LOT without specifying Polish what it is :)

      It may not sound like a problem to native English speaker but it totally doesn't make sense in the context of the name origin. We've had a debate about this a while ago at Flyertalk, there are some more arguments there.

    3. Jacek Guest

      TOTALY AGREE. You either call it LOT or LOT Polish Airlines. In Poland it’s always referred to as LOT, in spite of its official name “Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT”. So Ben, stop calling it LOT Polish!

    4. Jay Guest

      You literally have to go to their website to see that their official name is 'LOT Polish Airlines' or 'Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A' legally in Poland. Now obviously that legal name doesn't translate in English, so they've officially gone as LOT Polish Airlines. Not Lot. The other issue is that even if they may be known as Lot in Poland, unfortunately lot is a common English word that won't translate. "I'm flying lot". "Flying...

      You literally have to go to their website to see that their official name is 'LOT Polish Airlines' or 'Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A' legally in Poland. Now obviously that legal name doesn't translate in English, so they've officially gone as LOT Polish Airlines. Not Lot. The other issue is that even if they may be known as Lot in Poland, unfortunately lot is a common English word that won't translate. "I'm flying lot". "Flying lot of what? Flying lots?" etc.

      You only have to see their planes to see they go by LOT Polish Airlines as well. Simply google LOT airlines and see that Google, their website, wikipedia, Star Alliance all refer to it as LOT Polish Airlines.

      We can only go by what they officially state.

    5. CPH-Flyer Gold

      @Ben
      You don't call British Airways for 'British', or Japan Airlines for 'Japan', while that under your logic would be generally appropriate. Nor do you call JAL Japan. KLM only gets KLM, not some selection from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. There are some generally accepted ways calling the various airlines, and they might not always follow logic or reason. Cue your post where you mused on whether it was S-A-S or the one word...

      @Ben
      You don't call British Airways for 'British', or Japan Airlines for 'Japan', while that under your logic would be generally appropriate. Nor do you call JAL Japan. KLM only gets KLM, not some selection from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. There are some generally accepted ways calling the various airlines, and they might not always follow logic or reason. Cue your post where you mused on whether it was S-A-S or the one word SAS that was right. You could also discuss whether it is A-N-A or the single word pronunciation ANA. Please don't use the wrong one if you go to the ANA headquarters.
      Trust the local knowledge more than general rules here, and stick with LOT or Lot Polish Airlines.

    6. Icarus Guest

      It literally says LOT Polish airlines on their aircraft.

    7. Ari Guest

      We'll call them "The Polish Airline" from now on. Does that translate okay for you?

  22. BC Guest

    I would consider going through the Star Alliance (albeit limited) administrative entity. Surely not randomly and unilaterally canceling fellow-carrier’s award tickets is a minimum requirement for continued membership.

    1. Anonymous Guest

      Hi BC,
      I am a Star Alliance Top1000 and I had an issue where a MileagePlus Ticket was not honored by Air India (because it was incorrectly issued according to Air India) and I booked new flights worth 2500€.

      Long story short: I contacted my Star Alliance contacts in frankfurt and they excused themselves that they are basically a marketing initiative and that they cannot help but they’ll forward my request. That did not help.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Anonymous -- I'm curious, if I may ask, have you "requalified" for Star Alliance Top1000 in the past few years? It appears most references to this online are back in 2018-2019, so I'm curious if this program is still active. Thanks for any insights!

    3. Anonymous Guest

      Hi Ben,

      no. I think its still the same members from years ago.

  23. DT Guest

    I thought if flying a EU carrier, from any where in the world, EU261 would always apply? Poland is a part of the EU.

    Yet, EU261 assumes that the passenger does hold a valid ticket. Which the Shanghai LOT staff claimed they did not.

    Proving that they did hold a valid ticket will be easy for the passenger. The question is what kind of documentation do they have of their denied boarding by Shanghai ground...

    I thought if flying a EU carrier, from any where in the world, EU261 would always apply? Poland is a part of the EU.

    Yet, EU261 assumes that the passenger does hold a valid ticket. Which the Shanghai LOT staff claimed they did not.

    Proving that they did hold a valid ticket will be easy for the passenger. The question is what kind of documentation do they have of their denied boarding by Shanghai ground staff (representing LOT)? Did the hotline personnel annotate his ticket and confirm the phone call?

    I think I would go through small claims court in NYC as well, rather than making this a EU261 thing.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DT -- I had assumed so as well, but often EU261 rules evolve based on specific court rulings. And it would seem that a 2022 court ruling decided that it doesn't apply when simply transiting the EU between other regions.

    2. Samo Guest

      It does apply "from anywhere in the world" but only for flights to the EU. The law explicitly states that it's applicable to:
      a) All flights from the EU, irrespective of who operates them, and
      b) Flights to the EU operated by EU carriers
      (* EEA counts as EU for these purposes)

      The idea is that European carries should not be at disadvantage when operating flights completely outside the EU.

      This is...

      It does apply "from anywhere in the world" but only for flights to the EU. The law explicitly states that it's applicable to:
      a) All flights from the EU, irrespective of who operates them, and
      b) Flights to the EU operated by EU carriers
      (* EEA counts as EU for these purposes)

      The idea is that European carries should not be at disadvantage when operating flights completely outside the EU.

      This is not the case of the law "evolving", those conditions always were part of the law. The court ruling that Ben is referring to dealt with the question of whether the law applies on itineraries that are between two points outside the EU but connect via the EU - in other words, whether we should be looking on individual flights or overal itineraries when determining whether the law is applicable.

      The European Court of Justice ruled that overal itinerary should be taken into the account (which is in line with previous rulings where completely non-EU flights were deemed to be covered by the regulation if the overall itinerary originates in the EU), thus itinerary from China to the US is not covered by the law, even if it involves transfer in the EU.

  24. Kendrick Guest

    LOT Polish flies to JFK, so a New York small claims court would probably have jurisdiction over them as they have a nexus of business in NY. I wonder what NY deceptive business practices law has to say about this situation. In addition, Christopher Elliott or the travel consumer rights advocate at the NY Times might be worth reaching out to as well.

    1. DanG-DEN Member

      Doesn't the buck usually stop with the ticketing carrier? My concern is that if dragged to court LOT would just say " We are not the ticketing carrier and the ticketing carrier issued these incorrectly."

      That said I'm a big fan of small claims court, I once successfully brought suit against a foreign airline in Denver small claims court.

    2. HoKo Guest

      That’s very interesting. Can you elaborate on your situation that led to bringing the small claims suit, and what was the ultimate outcome?

    3. DanG-DEN Member

      (sure, I signed an NDA when we settled so I'll be non specific)

      I was flying Hong Kong to Denver with a connection at the foreign airlines hub. A week before my trip they voluntarily cancelled my 2nd leg and I had to overnight at their hub before continuing home the next day.

      I sent the airline a bill (allowed under Montreal Convention) for my meals and extra day of PTO (including timesheet...

      (sure, I signed an NDA when we settled so I'll be non specific)

      I was flying Hong Kong to Denver with a connection at the foreign airlines hub. A week before my trip they voluntarily cancelled my 2nd leg and I had to overnight at their hub before continuing home the next day.

      I sent the airline a bill (allowed under Montreal Convention) for my meals and extra day of PTO (including timesheet and pay stub documentation) . The airline refused so I filed suit in Denver since the airline rents real estate here, sells tickets here, and employs people here - that's the criteria for if they're eligible to be sued here. I paid a process server $50 to deliver the paper to their registered agent in DC.

      The airlines lawyer called me and we settled in a satisfactory manner.

    4. Courcoison Guest

      Good Day. I believe you are correct. I am not an attorney but in this case since the "trip" was booked via Air Canada I would think any issues related to "the ticket" should be handled through the Air Canada frequent flyer program "entity". The basis for my assumption is my long experience with changing my dates of travel with tickets issued by a frequent flyer program on a different carrier (ie: American Airlines /Air...

      Good Day. I believe you are correct. I am not an attorney but in this case since the "trip" was booked via Air Canada I would think any issues related to "the ticket" should be handled through the Air Canada frequent flyer program "entity". The basis for my assumption is my long experience with changing my dates of travel with tickets issued by a frequent flyer program on a different carrier (ie: American Airlines /Air Tahiti Nui, United Airlines/Lufthansa, Delta/Air France). In order to make any date change one has to get back to "the original ticket issuer"; an unsubstantiated boarding denial is a "break of contract" and should be brought to the original ticket issuer's attention for remedy. In this case Aeroplan/Air Canada.

  25. DanG-DEN Member

    If Aeroplan miles were used wouldn't that make Air Canada the entity issuing the tickets?

    And the passenger would likely have rights under the Montreal Convention.

  26. Icarus Guest

    Something is amiss and of course LOT won’t discuss with you. Nor do you know the full picture and only the passenger’s side. Always hearsay. He said / she said etc etc.

    If it’s proven LOT is wrong he can still claim damages under the Montreal convention for additional costs. If they don’t respond then he could take them to a small claims court then it would be up to LOT to submit evidence....

    Something is amiss and of course LOT won’t discuss with you. Nor do you know the full picture and only the passenger’s side. Always hearsay. He said / she said etc etc.

    If it’s proven LOT is wrong he can still claim damages under the Montreal convention for additional costs. If they don’t respond then he could take them to a small claims court then it would be up to LOT to submit evidence.

    Airlines usually suspend tickets if there’s apparent fraud rendering it impossible to travel.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Icarus -- For what it's worth, I do often have people who ask me for help in these situations, and then when I ask for proof of things, they go quiet, because they're trying to pull a fast one on me (and airlines). In this case, the reader shared screenshots of his Capital One and Aeroplan accounts showing that transfers were made in his name. I feel pretty confident that this situation is as presented.

    2. Icarus Guest

      I was alluding to GDPR assuming you have formal power of attorney to represent them and then it’s ok.

    3. ny110010001 Guest

      Hi Icarus. I'm the reader who reached out to Ben.

      I understand your position where one shouldn't make judgment on reading one side of the story. If you kindly refer to the Flyertalk page, you'll see that others shared the same ordeal so it's not only my story but a few (and the story is pretty consistent).

      What is weird to me is that no airline "suspended" my ticket. I had a ticket number, was...

      Hi Icarus. I'm the reader who reached out to Ben.

      I understand your position where one shouldn't make judgment on reading one side of the story. If you kindly refer to the Flyertalk page, you'll see that others shared the same ordeal so it's not only my story but a few (and the story is pretty consistent).

      What is weird to me is that no airline "suspended" my ticket. I had a ticket number, was able to select seats and even got a boarding pass the night before. The local crew physically prevented me to board at the airport. The local crew told me to "give up" as their decision is final. LOT Polish in Poland and Air Canada Aeroplan had no problems with my booking. To this day, I still don't know exactly what was in my booking that caused the local crew concern other than it was booked under miles.

    4. Icarus Guest

      Hi. If LOT fails to respond contact their CEO with a final demand for an explanation and resolution, otherwise file in a small claims court for damages under the Montreal Convention. Strange they didn’t even bother to respond even if with something you disagree with. Also ask for the ticket to be refunded in full.

    5. Ty Guest

      Are they selling the seat to a 'friend' and boarding someone else entirely?

  27. Jan Guest

    As Frankfurt was involved into the route (Germany) he can go to court in Germany which is the cheapest and best way to do.

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Samo Guest

That's the origin of the issue. The name of the airline is LOT, with "Polish Airlines" only being sort of a "description" of what it is. It's not really part of the brand name. Imagine if Coca Cola was formally called Coca Cola Soft Drink and someone would shorten it to Coca Cola Soft :) Thus the short version is LOT (equivalent of American, Etihad, Emirates) and the long version is LOT Polish Airlines (equivalent of American Airlines. Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline). LOT Polish is never used by the airline itself either. It wouldn't make sense, because there's no point in adding description "Polish" to the name LOT without specifying Polish what it is :) It may not sound like a problem to native English speaker but it totally doesn't make sense in the context of the name origin. We've had a debate about this a while ago at Flyertalk, there are some more arguments there.

6
Fed UP Guest

1. Why would anyone book such a convoluted itinerary 2. Why would anyone use LOT 3. Why would anyone be in Bejing at the moment China doesn't play by any rules, they don't like anyone who speaks up, you are supposed to do what you are told. He is lucky he isn't in an interment camp somewhere. There I said it.

4
Omar Guest

Even if this was issued by a broker, it's none of Lot's business. It's not their ticket stock and they were duly compensated by the plated carrier as contractually agreed. If the compensation received from aeroplan isn't sufficient for them they should stop releasing seats for award redemption.

4
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