Lufthansa Apologizes For Denying Jewish Passengers Boarding

Lufthansa Apologizes For Denying Jewish Passengers Boarding

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On Monday I wrote about the awful story of how Lufthansa allegedly denied many passengers boarding on account of being Jewish.

Long story story, there were lots of Orthodox Jewish passengers traveling from New York to Budapest via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. Some passengers allegedly didn’t comply with Lufthansa’s mask rules, and then all Orthodox Jewish passengers on the connecting flight ended up being denied boarding. As a Lufthansa agent explained, “everyone has to pay for a couple.”

There’s a bit more to the story, so I’d recommend checking out the original story. In this post I wanted to provide an update. While Lufthansa first issued an apology on Tuesday, the carrier’s CEO has now gotten involved, and we’ve also learned that some employees have been suspended.

Lufthansa apologizes to passengers denied boarding

On Tuesday (the business day after this story went viral), Lufthansa issued a statement, apologizing for what happened with the above incident. Here’s the statement from Lufthansa:

On May 4, a large number of booked passengers were denied boarding on their onward flight with LH 1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest. Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.

While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the non-compliant guests.

We apologize to all the passengers unable to travel on this flight, not only for the inconvenience, but also for the offense caused and personal impact.

Lufthansa and its employees stand behind the goal of connecting people and cultures worldwide. Diversity and equal opportunity are core values for our company and our corporate culture. What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any type.

We will be engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service.

Lufthansa CEO apologizes to Rabbi, suspends employees

Given how much media attention this story has received, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has personally gotten involved, as reported by DansDeals. This week Spohr had a roughly 30 minute video chat with Yehuda Teichtal, who is a Rabbi in Berlin. It’s not entirely clear why Spohr chose to speak with him rather than another Rabbi (I guess Berlin is Germany’s capital, but that’s the only connection that has to this incident).

Below is a short clip of Spohr speaking with the Rabbi. While the full contents of the call aren’t known, Spohr has confirmed that employees have been suspended as a result of this incident, though it’s not clear which employees have been suspended (is it those communicating with passengers, the captain who made the decision to not allow Jewish passengers onboard, or…?).

Spohr also emphasized that the airline is working on better training to ensure that something like this never happens again.

My take on Lufthansa’s apology & response

I’m pleased to see Lufthansa taking this situation seriously:

  • Realistically I imagine this case only got the attention of higher ups at the company on Monday, so it makes sense that on Tuesday the airline couldn’t provide a definitive explanation of everything that unfolded, since it takes time to investigate
  • I appreciate that Lufthansa acknowledges that an unnecessary number of people were denied boarding, rather than just non-compliant guests (which confirms that this was as we suspected)
  • Nonetheless there’s an issue with even referring to these passengers as a “group,” since they had booked through various means, and many weren’t traveling together; it would be like denying all Black people boarding on a flight (even if they don’t know one another), and then saying a “large group” was denied boarding
  • I appreciate that Lufthansa acknowledges that what transpired isn’t consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values, and that the airline plans to openly discuss this situation with passengers

Only time will tell how this evolves, though it seems like Lufthansa is taking this seriously. In fairness, that may very well be because the airline realizes it has no choice but to do so.

Bottom line

Lufthansa has issued an apology for a recent incident where dozens and dozens of passengers were denied boarding due to the actions of some passengers. While there’s obviously still a full investigation that needs to be completed, I’m pleased to see how quickly Lufthansa has acknowledged what happened (that people were incorrectly denied boarding), and that this doesn’t reflect the company’s values.

Furthermore, Lufthansa’s CEO is now even personally involved, and has confirmed that employees have been suspended. Once a full investigation is performed, hopefully further action is taken to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s apology and response so far?

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  1. Filip De Schouwer Guest

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I will not go into the details of this particular case, but I just wanted to point out to you, Ben, that you, almost infallibly, take a balanced, fair and courteous approach. You always do your homework, and you carefully examin and consider the pros and cons, the maybe, the perhaps. It is a tall order before you trust anything to paper. You may not always be right. But...

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I will not go into the details of this particular case, but I just wanted to point out to you, Ben, that you, almost infallibly, take a balanced, fair and courteous approach. You always do your homework, and you carefully examin and consider the pros and cons, the maybe, the perhaps. It is a tall order before you trust anything to paper. You may not always be right. But none of us ever are. But you have the gift of honesty, wrapped in a box of sincerity. That is rare. You should treasure it.

  2. Pragmatic Guest

    Seems like they misbehaved and their actions got consequences. Sorry, but that's it, plain and simple. Stop playing the race/religion/gender card, it's getting old...

  3. STEFFL Member

    a LOT of speculations here, RIGHT???? :-o
    Who got suspended, Why that Rabbi and not teh Holy Father . . .
    All because of some religious Passangers NOT following the rules of Government and Ailrine rules, simple as that.
    Result:
    Denied Boarding.
    EASY . . . could happen to ANYBODY, even Soccer Teams if they are too drunk or nude people who think they need special attention.

    It's a SPECIAL...

    a LOT of speculations here, RIGHT???? :-o
    Who got suspended, Why that Rabbi and not teh Holy Father . . .
    All because of some religious Passangers NOT following the rules of Government and Ailrine rules, simple as that.
    Result:
    Denied Boarding.
    EASY . . . could happen to ANYBODY, even Soccer Teams if they are too drunk or nude people who think they need special attention.

    It's a SPECIAL Story here i guess . . . because it's Jewish People!!

    SORRY, YOU ARE ALL on this page . . . going way OVER the limit!

    . . . . or did i ever hear update after update of any denied boarding passenger who peed on the aircraft floor?
    or
    a toddler that was breast fed on a US airline . . .

    SORRY! THIS IS TOO MUCH!!

    Don't get too RELIGIOUS HERE, as we all know, those damn religious belivers and strange people start wars and love to get attention WORLDWIDE! so stop that here!
    It's disgusting!

  4. Lee Guest

    Do little too late. Won’t fly them
    Any more

    1. RDulles Guest

      Fine, good luck. I'm sure they're missing you already

  5. Petri Diamond

    If it was a "group" of soccer fans dressed similarly with each other not abiding the crew instructions and misbehaving, everyone would be clapping their hands, that justice is served, had they been denied boarding to the connecting flight. We would all agree that justice was served.

  6. Alan Gold

    While it is sad that a number of people were banned from boarding, it is even sadder that in all likelihood none of those that were refusing to abide by the rules will be prosecuted in any way. There are a number of Americans who are now banned from certain airlines for refusing to wear a mask.

  7. Icarus Guest

    The problem was the handling on the ground and some of the staff saying things they should clearly have not.

    Rather than saying “a number of customers”, they made reference to their religion.

    Then again it was around 130 and there simply weren’t enough ground staff to handle it and they may have not been fully briefed.

    There are, however, almost always two sides to a story. My understanding is that...

    The problem was the handling on the ground and some of the staff saying things they should clearly have not.

    Rather than saying “a number of customers”, they made reference to their religion.

    Then again it was around 130 and there simply weren’t enough ground staff to handle it and they may have not been fully briefed.

    There are, however, almost always two sides to a story. My understanding is that it wasn’t just 2 or 3 on the flight from New York, it was a very large number of them not complying with instructions. This isn’t the first time. This community, however, are unfortunately very litigious.

    1. Moe Guest

      Other than your bias, do you have any basis for the statement that this community is litigious?

      I have seen published photos ostensibly showing Jews praying on the flight. The photos do indeed show a few Jews near a rear door, they also show Non Jewish dressed pax with chin masks.

    2. Dude26 Guest

      @Moe - Don't bother with loser-user 'Icarus'. As a very long time reader of OMAAT I can tell you I've noticed this user a couple of years ago.
      They almost exclusively post comments on Jew-related / Israel-related blog posts. They're one of those nouvelle-antisemites who spew their filth on "zionists" (LOL) when they really mean jews. And they are jew-haters and obsessed as clearly visible from their nasty comment.

    3. Moe Guest

      I have been here a while as well and there are a couple more of their ilk. nevertheless, I feel obligated to call out untrue statements.
      I live part of the year in NYC and I actually saw one of their ilk criticize NY Jews for having a volunteer ambulance service, VAC. This was begun when NYC was unable to respond in a timely manner and never have i seen any criticism of a VAC, except here.

  8. Eskimo Guest

    While @Dan and Rabbi Teichtal will make good points to address how Lufthansa mishandled the situation. They should also pass along something that wasn't addressed to their community. Which is the behavior of not respecting the social setting and complying with rules and regulations. Especially the mask issue and blocking aisles.

    To be fair, El Al runs into these problems too. Even they handled the situation much much better, but it is still a problem...

    While @Dan and Rabbi Teichtal will make good points to address how Lufthansa mishandled the situation. They should also pass along something that wasn't addressed to their community. Which is the behavior of not respecting the social setting and complying with rules and regulations. Especially the mask issue and blocking aisles.

    To be fair, El Al runs into these problems too. Even they handled the situation much much better, but it is still a problem of respecting the social setting.

    1. John Guest

      @Eskimoo
      No reference to Winnie the Commie Poo??
      No rationalizing warfare and murder???
      No jokes at the expense of dead people????
      You're losing your touch, gurl......

    2. Moe Guest

      Two disparate issues. legitimate but disparate.
      Those that honestly break the rules should suffer the consequences.
      It is a personal decision and it is not the responsibility or job of a Rabbi to address. To think otherwise is to lump all people of similar appearance together, wrong again.
      Do you likewise suggest a priest speak with those that broke German law and discriminated?
      Do you ask a Leader of color to...

      Two disparate issues. legitimate but disparate.
      Those that honestly break the rules should suffer the consequences.
      It is a personal decision and it is not the responsibility or job of a Rabbi to address. To think otherwise is to lump all people of similar appearance together, wrong again.
      Do you likewise suggest a priest speak with those that broke German law and discriminated?
      Do you ask a Leader of color to speak to people of color about criminal acts they might be involved in?
      By the way, after decades of using LH for TATL travel I began to feel discrimination about 5 years ago. There was an incident when I was told my rollon was too big, despite meeting all published rules. The final test was fitting in the measuring frame which it did, I thought I won but the gate agent had a temper tantrum and told me I check it or I will have Police already on the way. I told him to study history and he taunted me to get me to say the "N' word, which I did not.

  9. Max Guest

    I think CEO Spohr spoke to Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal because he was born in New York and has connections to the US Jewish community, some of whose members where on the flight. Also, he is in charge of the largest Jewish education / community centre in Europe, so also quite important as representative of Europe's Jewish community, to which LH also caters with its flights.

  10. Hank Tarn Guest

    I do not usually support the Europeans, especially with how they keep disrespecting Boeing and America.

    But on this I support the Germans. They think they are above everyone else following the rules as chosen people, that is the problem.

    1. Max Guest

      We don't disrespect Boeing, in fact we would welcome some healthy competition. This would also push Airbus to stay on top of their game. The original 747 was a milestone of air travel.

      Unfortunately it looks more like Boeing's HQ in Chicago (soon likely to be moved to DC) is disrespecting their own engineers in Everett.
      All recent Boeing products (777X, 787, 737MAX, KC-46) have unfortunately become a disaster.

    2. EBWaa Guest

      It’s weird how fixated you are on some abstract notion of Boeing being “disrespected” by European carriers. I don’t recall a single post from you about anything else and to be honest it makes you sound jingoistic and simple minded.

  11. James Guest

    Shouldn't German police at Lufthansa also be investigated? The German constitution clearly states that a person cannot be favored or unfavored based on their race or religion. Instead of executing the constitution, they choose to support discrimination of a private organization. Shouldn't they be defunded?

    1. Max Guest

      Police is not there to judge, they just executed the no fly list given by Lufthansa.

      If any of the affected persons or bystanders would have talked to police in a calm factual manner, to bring attention to the alleged 'discrimination', police would have investigated. But shouting 'Nazi' at police officers in an insulting way instead just confirms Lufthansa for banning these persons.

    2. Moe Guest

      One person seems to have used the N term. many others tried to reason. Any living person would understand that something nefarious was going on. In the USA I am, as part of my license, a mandated reporter if I observe certain situations. The Police should have done so.

  12. Lucas James Guest

    It's horrible that this happened to anyone, but at least LH is actually taking responsibility. Though it's the bare minimum, it's unfortunately more than most would do. Thanks for the update. Keep us posted please.

  13. Stop the Whitewash Guest

    Ben - I realize you have German roots but maybe you should include the thoughts of the Anti-Defamation League before trying to white-wash this racist incident with Lufthansa's "non-apology":

    "This non-apology fails to admit fault or identify the banned passengers as Jews. It also refers to them as a group, even though many were strangers. They had one commonality—being visibly Jewish.

    In addition to investigating, ensuring accountability, and taking steps to repair the harm, including...

    Ben - I realize you have German roots but maybe you should include the thoughts of the Anti-Defamation League before trying to white-wash this racist incident with Lufthansa's "non-apology":

    "This non-apology fails to admit fault or identify the banned passengers as Jews. It also refers to them as a group, even though many were strangers. They had one commonality—being visibly Jewish.

    In addition to investigating, ensuring accountability, and taking steps to repair the harm, including compensating the victims to the extent possible, @Lufthansa, as a German company, has a special responsibility to educate its staff."

    Lufthansa should be firing senior executives who failed to educate staff and approved this offensive, non-apology statement.

    1. Mh Diamond

      It can easily be seen that "group" refers to the group of passengers denied boarding. The shared characteristic of the group is boarding denial.

      Further being Jewish as you state would be incorrect as it was already noted that some Jewish passengers were able to board.

  14. Andy Diamond

    In my view the wording is the usual legal department slang. They just want to avoid paying any compensation to those who were compliant and still were denied boarding. They will not even compensate them for outlays such as hotel or alternative travel.

  15. Harold Rosenholtz Guest

    Their prompt and clear apology
    should be viewed as a resolution of the matter.

  16. Timothy Guest

    I was aboard LH401 from JFK to FRA just a couple days before this particular flight. It too was packed with passengers in traditional Orthodox Jewish attire. It too had serious problems with so many passengers violating Lufthansa's mask wearing requirements. I obviously didn't conduct a scientific survey, but it's fair to say a large percentage of the traditionally attired passengers were noncompliant while the other passengers had a much lower rate of noncompliance. Cabin...

    I was aboard LH401 from JFK to FRA just a couple days before this particular flight. It too was packed with passengers in traditional Orthodox Jewish attire. It too had serious problems with so many passengers violating Lufthansa's mask wearing requirements. I obviously didn't conduct a scientific survey, but it's fair to say a large percentage of the traditionally attired passengers were noncompliant while the other passengers had a much lower rate of noncompliance. Cabin crew were clearly frustrated but remained professional. The purser (I believe) announced that passengers who failed to comply with mask requirements might be denied boarding if they had connecting flights. That warning didn't seem to deter the individuals who ignored the mask requirement. I was quite unhappy because a normal connection in Frankfurt turned into a miraculous one for me and an impossible one for my baggage due in part to mask-related operational delays. (For example, we couldn't/wouldn't push back until everybody was properly masked. Of course that took an eternity with so many passengers determined not to wear masks.) Passengers also left an unusually large amount of trash on the floors -- quite a mess for Frankfurt's cleaning crew.

    While it appears Lufthansa mishandled the situation in Frankfurt after this story's edition of LH401 (a couple days after my LH401), my experience suggests Lufthansa faced flagrant and repeated mask violations peculiar to this particular route. There were probably *days* of LH401 horror stories among Lufthansa's crew. It doesn't make the airline's behavior right. Individuals should be treated as individuals, without prejudice. But...wow. :-(

    1. ArnoldB Guest

      This, so much. I wish people would think for a second and question what actually happened instead of immediatly jumping on an outrage bandwagon.

    2. WP Guest

      Me and my friend were on that flight from JFK to Frankfurt that is now all over the news. I can only agree, you are describing exactly what happened on that flight too. It wasn’t a single passenger or a few that did not comply to the mask mandate, it was a majority of traditionally dressed people. And that wasn’t the only problem. They were standing in the isle in large groups, even though the...

      Me and my friend were on that flight from JFK to Frankfurt that is now all over the news. I can only agree, you are describing exactly what happened on that flight too. It wasn’t a single passenger or a few that did not comply to the mask mandate, it was a majority of traditionally dressed people. And that wasn’t the only problem. They were standing in the isle in large groups, even though the crew and pilots made announcements that it was not allowed. A few attacked me verbally because I asked them to put on their mask. I was told to shut up and it’s not their problem. They started discussions because they didn’t order kosher food and were upset cause the flight attendants didn’t have any. I have never seen so much trash everywhere after the plane landed.
      It wasn’t right from Lufthansa to deny everyone that was dressed in the traditional attire their connecting flight. But it wasnt a “single person” or “a few” that didn’t wear a mask & didn’t comply with the rules (and yes there were a few other people who did not wear the mask correct too, but the percentage was super low and they had no connecting flights) . It was the majority and a lot of people that were on that flight and are now complaining about what Lufthansa did should not leave out their absolut selfish and disrespectful behavior on the flight that caused all of this.

    3. Barry Guest

      Just take the report and switch over every time it says 'Jews' to 'blacks' would've loved to see the media and individuals' reactions.

      If George Floyd was a convicted criminal but the story still managed to elicit mass hysteria from every corner of the globe (rightfully so) whilst nobody dared focus on the criminality part and why the police were looking for him in the first place, that's how non-biased you're supposed to be this...

      Just take the report and switch over every time it says 'Jews' to 'blacks' would've loved to see the media and individuals' reactions.

      If George Floyd was a convicted criminal but the story still managed to elicit mass hysteria from every corner of the globe (rightfully so) whilst nobody dared focus on the criminality part and why the police were looking for him in the first place, that's how non-biased you're supposed to be this incident.

      Blatant anti-Semitism occurred and mass hysteria has to follow regardless of the wrongs a few people committed.

      Wishful thinking I know, but I did practice my spelling.

    4. Sean Guest

      Timothy's side of the story is EXACTLY what we all have been waiting for. I have personally experienced this type of behavior by those people much in the same way as the Lufthansa crew.

  17. jsm Guest

    I think it is a little premature to call Lufthansa's statement a presently surprising apology. Perhaps when Lufthansa announces that the agent who made the following statements: "Passenger: So Jewish people on the plane made a problem, so all Jews are banned from Lufthansa for the day?
    Lufthansa agent: Just for this flight." has been permanently terminated from working for Lufthansa, Swiss, or Austrian Airlines can one start to believe that the company fully...

    I think it is a little premature to call Lufthansa's statement a presently surprising apology. Perhaps when Lufthansa announces that the agent who made the following statements: "Passenger: So Jewish people on the plane made a problem, so all Jews are banned from Lufthansa for the day?
    Lufthansa agent: Just for this flight." has been permanently terminated from working for Lufthansa, Swiss, or Austrian Airlines can one start to believe that the company fully understands the error that it made.

    Also, since the flight left from New York, I'm sure that Lufthansa's lawyers are already preparing for the litigation that is coming in New York. A sure bet it that those will be jury trials.

    1. reddargon Diamond

      You think it's a "sure bet" those will be jury trials? I'd happily take that bet, given that jury trials are exceedingly rare and there will almost certainly be a settlement here (as there are in almost all cases).

    2. jsm Guest

      A settlement can happen only when both parties agree to its terms. For this type of incident, that would involve a payment of money, a confidentiality provision, and a clause stating that Lufthansa can claim not to have violated any laws.

      Considering that this incident happened between the German national carrier Luftwaffe (oh, I meant to say Lufthansa) and memers of the Orthodox Jewish community, the community practically erased by Germany, I could see that...

      A settlement can happen only when both parties agree to its terms. For this type of incident, that would involve a payment of money, a confidentiality provision, and a clause stating that Lufthansa can claim not to have violated any laws.

      Considering that this incident happened between the German national carrier Luftwaffe (oh, I meant to say Lufthansa) and memers of the Orthodox Jewish community, the community practically erased by Germany, I could see that the second and third points I listed above would be unacceptable (counter offer - admit that you racially profiled). Get Lufthansa in front of a New York City jury and you'll really see the fur fly,

    3. snic Diamond

      And what law was broken, exactly? And/or which terms of the contract of carriage? Please be specific.

  18. [email protected] New Member

    I thought yesterday’s comments were spot-on…especially the one by the Jewish man horrified by fellow Jews’ behavior (or lack of). I applaud Lufthansa for taking a tough stance. I fly to London all the time…and there are always a lot of Orthodox jews….they frequently do not wear masks or wear them on their chin. Their entitlement and lack of thought for other people is horrifying. They think they can do whatever they want and if...

    I thought yesterday’s comments were spot-on…especially the one by the Jewish man horrified by fellow Jews’ behavior (or lack of). I applaud Lufthansa for taking a tough stance. I fly to London all the time…and there are always a lot of Orthodox jews….they frequently do not wear masks or wear them on their chin. Their entitlement and lack of thought for other people is horrifying. They think they can do whatever they want and if they don’t like it, they accuse you of “anti-semitism”. I don’t care what religion you are, you are not exempt from the rules. Frankly I do not think anyone unvaccinated should be able to fly. Period.

    1. Moe Guest

      You missed the issue. Clearly those that do not follow rules should suffer repercussions.
      The issue here is that a decision was made to punish all Jews since some did not follow rules. This is massive. Happening in Germany, under the gaze of dozens of Police holding machine guns does not make it any better. paging passengers to approach the desk for consideration smacks of selection, the daily Nazi selection of live or die.

  19. Steven E Guest

    It would be interesting to hear from some actual passengers onboard the flight

    1. WP Guest

      Well I was on the flight and I did share my experience as a reply to the another comment.

    2. Faron Key Guest

      @WP, this is what I suspected all along. I've witnessed this kind of behavior (in similiar situations) by them just like you described.

      We all remember the mass gatherings in NYC during the peak of Covid. The rules seem to never apply to them.

    3. Ralph4878 Guest

      @Faron Key - and what about all the white, evangelical Christian Americans in their mega churches who refused to wear masks and stop congregating? Were you equally upset about them?

    4. Todd Guest

      Annnnd there it is...good old whataboutism: The technique or practise of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counteraccusation or raising a different issue.

    5. Moe Guest

      Are you referring to the BLM protests in NYC where all health rules were ignored?

  20. Richard Guest

    Well, I'm Jewish and this apology doesn't fill me with confidence. What I want in an airline is an agreement that they will treat me with a minimum of respect. That means not discriminating against me because of actual or perceived race, religion, gender or sexuality.
    I certainly don't think I will be flying with them again. I wouldn't want to run the risk of some prima donna staff member deciding that everyone they...

    Well, I'm Jewish and this apology doesn't fill me with confidence. What I want in an airline is an agreement that they will treat me with a minimum of respect. That means not discriminating against me because of actual or perceived race, religion, gender or sexuality.
    I certainly don't think I will be flying with them again. I wouldn't want to run the risk of some prima donna staff member deciding that everyone they perceive to be of a certain group aren't allowed to board because they got the hump over some passengers they perceived to be from that same group.

  21. Rod Becerra Guest

    I think Lufthansa as an airline lacks in every way. I was in a business class from Frankfurt to Mexico City and the crew absolutely sucked. Bad product and bad crew, it seems to be the norm these days. So yes, nice apology, but they still screwed the people trying to board. So not using them again.

  22. Karl May Guest

    Everybody just calm down. As terrible as this sounds, it was likely that the ground personnel had to make some quick decisions which resulted in some unintended consequences. You can’t blame the underpaid ground personnel for making the assumption that a group of people who wear the same clothes, have the same haircut, and wear the same hat might be traveling together. What if they had been 20 nuns? Or a sports team? I was...

    Everybody just calm down. As terrible as this sounds, it was likely that the ground personnel had to make some quick decisions which resulted in some unintended consequences. You can’t blame the underpaid ground personnel for making the assumption that a group of people who wear the same clothes, have the same haircut, and wear the same hat might be traveling together. What if they had been 20 nuns? Or a sports team? I was on a plane once where the whole sports team was kicked off because a few were loud and obnoxious. This has nothing to do with discrimination. Let’s not be victims here. And I resent the insinuation that LH, being a German airline, somehow targeted the affected passengers. If you comply with the rules nothing will happen to you.

    1. Moe Guest

      In your words, "If you comply with the rules nothing will happen to you." That is unless you dress or appear like others that did not obey rules. And yes, it did happen with LH and German police waving machine guns. Have you seen the clip where the German Police was yelling at the Jews?

    2. snic Diamond

      That's an interesting assumption, that there were some Haredi on that flight who complied with the mask rule. What if there weren't, and the flight crew noted and documented that?

  23. Brian Guest

    I wonder how the statement reads to a German. This reads pretty poorly in English. It might not be so bad in German.

    The first paragraph is a standard non apology. “Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision” and is apologizing for those circumstances - not the decision itself. And they “regret that the large group” was denied boarding rather than individuals who engaged in misconduct.

    This is all stated in the passive voice...

    I wonder how the statement reads to a German. This reads pretty poorly in English. It might not be so bad in German.

    The first paragraph is a standard non apology. “Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision” and is apologizing for those circumstances - not the decision itself. And they “regret that the large group” was denied boarding rather than individuals who engaged in misconduct.

    This is all stated in the passive voice as if they weren’t the one who denied boarding. Moreover, the use of group here seems insensitive to English speaking ears especially (and this might not be fair) from Germans to people denied boarding because they looked like Jews.

    This distancing is even there when they say “what transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa policies or values.” It was their decision and not what transpired that was the problem.

    Finally, a true apology must include a statement on how you will try to make amends to the aggrieved. The last paragraph doesn’t quite get there. A promise to engage isn’t enough.

    They never say, they are sorry that they did this to these passengers. They don’t even say that they were wrong. I’ve seen worse corporate double speak but that doesn’t make this good. Too much wishy washy language. Perhaps it’s better in German and they can add the translator to the list of folks they need to fire.

  24. John Guest

    Can we finally do away with the pretence LH is a 5* airline?

    1. Max Guest

      Lufthansa is 5* - a 5* customer of Skytrax consulting business.

  25. Ivan X Guest

    I'm Jewish (observant but not Orthodox), and I was horrified by the incident. I find this apology perfectly acceptable. It doesn't equivocate, and it doesn't skirt responsibility. It is frankly better than 99% of corporate waffles. It says individual passengers will be contacted, and it says it's not done with its investigation (and are thus not likely to use strong language, especially if it might put them in legal jeopardy, in a preliminary statement like...

    I'm Jewish (observant but not Orthodox), and I was horrified by the incident. I find this apology perfectly acceptable. It doesn't equivocate, and it doesn't skirt responsibility. It is frankly better than 99% of corporate waffles. It says individual passengers will be contacted, and it says it's not done with its investigation (and are thus not likely to use strong language, especially if it might put them in legal jeopardy, in a preliminary statement like this).

    It sounds as though LH are taking the issue seriously, and I'm frankly surprised that it's not a perfunctory "we're sorry you feel this way, now let's move on" kind of statement.

    While the statement doesn't explicitly address the fact that people were singled out based on Jewish appearance, it implicitly acknowledges it by mentioning "offense caused" (presumably from discrimination based on religion) and "personal impact" (presumably the experience of a Jew being told by a German authority they can't do something because they're a Jew). And also by specifically mentioning anti-Semitism as counter to their values.

    As for the "large group," yeah, I think the language could have been chosen more thoughtfully, but it seems very clear to me that it is referring to the "large number of booked passengers" mentiioned in the first paragraph, rather than a "large group of Jews." I mean, sure, they might have meant the latter, and they should have said it better, but I'd be unhappier about it if it didn't seem to obviously refer to the group of booked passengers previously referenced.

    1. Watson Gold

      This might just be the only reasonable take in the thread.

  26. Nini Guest

    They were prevented from boarding by more than a dozen armed police. That deserves an apology too.

  27. Boycott Lufthansa Guest

    Someone needs to make Lufthansa pay and i hope to see the State of Israel cancel all Frankfurt to Tel Aviv lufthansa flights.

    1. Sylvain Guest

      A little bit overshooting

    2. Oliver Guest

      The biggest losers would be vast number the orthodox Jews who permanently fill all the LH flights in and out of Tel Aviv. Most of them fly with LH because of the security - they dont trust their own ELAL or Turkish which like Lufthansa are the only airlines that operate multiple flights per day in and out of Tel Aviv. I can assure you the ultra religious Jews will continue valuing Lufthansa in spite...

      The biggest losers would be vast number the orthodox Jews who permanently fill all the LH flights in and out of Tel Aviv. Most of them fly with LH because of the security - they dont trust their own ELAL or Turkish which like Lufthansa are the only airlines that operate multiple flights per day in and out of Tel Aviv. I can assure you the ultra religious Jews will continue valuing Lufthansa in spite of this incident - most of them only care about their own safety and couldnt be bothered with an incident like this!

  28. Rob Guest

    This is a garbage statement

    "we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the non-compliant guests"

    No.... they didn't deny a "large group". They denied people who looked like they belonged to a certain religion. Even if that person bought their own ticket with cash and miles and was traveling completely independently of every other person on that flight

    That they *continue* even in their apology statement to...

    This is a garbage statement

    "we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the non-compliant guests"

    No.... they didn't deny a "large group". They denied people who looked like they belonged to a certain religion. Even if that person bought their own ticket with cash and miles and was traveling completely independently of every other person on that flight

    That they *continue* even in their apology statement to lump all orthodox jews on that flight into one group for the purposes of what happened is pretty much doubling down on what made it so anti-semitic in the first place.

    1. snic Diamond

      I was once booked on a United Airlines flight that was scheduled to be operated by a 777, and it was downgauged it to a 757. Some people got to board and the rest of us didn't. It would be pretty innocuous to refer "the group of passengers who was denied boarding." I do not see why this is any different.

    2. Nini Guest

      This situation is different. They paged some passengers one by one to the gate, looked them up and down, and if they appeared visibly Jewish, would not let them board. The plane departed mostly empty with a few non-Jews aboard, plus two Jews who could "pass" for non-Jews by their appearance. The plane had over 100 empty seats. Horrifying.

    3. Rob Guest

      Because using "group of passengers" in the context of "group of people who had to be denied boarding due to capacity issues" is different than using it in the context of "group of passengers who were denied boarding due to the fact that they looked Jewish"

    4. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      @snic It’s different because (a) this wasn’t an operational issue which prevented LH from fulfilling their contracts of carriage, and (b) in the example you mentioned, they didn’t determine who couldn’t travel based on whether or not they looked like a Jewish person.

    5. snic Diamond

      Of course I understand why the two situations are different, and I wasn't asserting that they aren't. I was asserting that the term "group" in both cases is completely neutral. No one has yet explained why the word is somehow offensive in the LH case but not the UA case.

  29. beerandcheese Guest

    Ben - Is this the actual press release from LH or a translation from German. As others have mentioned, referring to all Jews on the flight as a "group" is inappropriate.

    1. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      In the LH statement, it was “Gruppe”

    2. Rafa Guest

      Where was the Guppen Fuhrer?
      Seriously, I was once on LH flight with similar group. They were an anarchistic nightmare. I promised myself never to fly on ELAL and now that will include LH too. There is a limit to what one unruly group can do to the rest of the pax and the crew. Since they all wear the same outfits and hair style I don’t how u distinguish individual members short of restraining the offenders. Shame on LH for caving in to PC BS

    3. Moe Guest

      Rafa, you are probably not German and have your own biases to deal with, clearly.
      I have travelled many Weekend TATL flights with loads of drunk German men in economy, returning from vacation. Same can be said for many groups.
      The issue here was that they then refused boarding to unrelated parties based solely on mode of dress and religion. A spokesperson for LH is on video stating that Jews caused this so...

      Rafa, you are probably not German and have your own biases to deal with, clearly.
      I have travelled many Weekend TATL flights with loads of drunk German men in economy, returning from vacation. Same can be said for many groups.
      The issue here was that they then refused boarding to unrelated parties based solely on mode of dress and religion. A spokesperson for LH is on video stating that Jews caused this so all Jews may not fly today.
      In reality, there will likely be major repercussions with possible removal of LH to fly to the USA or at least JFK/EWR which are governed together.

    4. Aaron Guest

      Removal of LH to fly to the US or at least JFK/EWR?

      What nonsense.

    5. Moe Guest

      Nonsense but I can assure you upper management at LH has lawyers preparing for any interest from the FAA or the Attorney general. It is very hard to wipe away an incident like this.

  30. Daniel from Finland Guest

    This must be the most epic-fail apology of the century. Do they really think that this statement will somehow let them off the hook? Lufthansa will be sued so badly.

    1. snic Diamond

      Really? On what basis?

      After 9/11, there were numerous cases of Arab-Americans being denied boarding by overzealous flight crews based solely on their appearance and names. They sued and got nowhere. And that was in the US. Germany is far less litigious and unless it's clear that LH broke some law, a judge would laugh the lawsuit out of court.

    2. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      @snic On the basis that (a) there is video evidence of LH staff saying that “Jewish people” are banned, and (b) the EU (and Germany itself) having laws against discriminating against race and/or religion. Clear cut.

  31. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

    It will be interesting to see if the “upper management” who banned “Jewish people” from flying are considered more valuable than Lufthansa’s “values”, or whether they are fired for gross misconduct…

    …and interesting to see what financial valuation Lufthansa puts on a breach of its “values”. If it’s a large payout, will they expect the German government to bail them out and pay the compensation? After all, surely all Germans must pay for this, because...

    It will be interesting to see if the “upper management” who banned “Jewish people” from flying are considered more valuable than Lufthansa’s “values”, or whether they are fired for gross misconduct…

    …and interesting to see what financial valuation Lufthansa puts on a breach of its “values”. If it’s a large payout, will they expect the German government to bail them out and pay the compensation? After all, surely all Germans must pay for this, because they are one “group”?!?

  32. Too little too late Guest

    That was a terrible apology. No mention of the object discrimination of Jews. Or the trauma they softened being surrounded by German officers with funds for hours. Shame on you LA. I hope the victims get $$ and the horrible captain fired. I hope the airline pays big time. I will never fly them again, I made that mistake 7 years ago and the anti-Semitic behavior they displayed then was appalling.

  33. Poly poly Guest

    Now caucasians can understand when Black people cry out about racism. I dont see any white person asking for all the facts or why the people identified as Jewish did not simply comply with the authorities…smh

    Till it happens to you…

    1. Mantis Guest

      Tribalism (aka racism, xenophobia, etc...i.e. viewing those different from you as somehow lower, suspicious, evil, etc.) is a feature of humanity, it is not limited to a single race. So get off your high horse, you, like all humans, do it too. In fact, I'd say you're doing it now...as you are lumping all white people together.

      Also, complying with police when you just committed a violent crime and are in the process of being...

      Tribalism (aka racism, xenophobia, etc...i.e. viewing those different from you as somehow lower, suspicious, evil, etc.) is a feature of humanity, it is not limited to a single race. So get off your high horse, you, like all humans, do it too. In fact, I'd say you're doing it now...as you are lumping all white people together.

      Also, complying with police when you just committed a violent crime and are in the process of being arrested is just a little different than complying with a mask requirement on a plane, wouldn't you say? It's one thing to not comply with a FA, but if the police meet you at the gate and you are still noncompliant, it doesn't matter what race you are, you are creating the dangerous situation for yourself that might get you killed, just like trying to grab a cops weapon while getting arrested might get you killed. This is basic Darwins Law stuff.

  34. Don't want to fly Lufthansa Guest

    To me, this apology is worse than the incident itself. The entire reason why this story was so horrendous was because of how all people who looked like Jews were banned from flying. The issue was direct and clear racism - not denying a group of people from boarding. Making this about “denying a large group” completely misses the point and sweeps the real issue under the rug.
    This is especially bothersome after Lufthansa...

    To me, this apology is worse than the incident itself. The entire reason why this story was so horrendous was because of how all people who looked like Jews were banned from flying. The issue was direct and clear racism - not denying a group of people from boarding. Making this about “denying a large group” completely misses the point and sweeps the real issue under the rug.
    This is especially bothersome after Lufthansa responded earlier that claims of racism are entirely baseless. From the clear video evidence, those claims are far from baseless and are actually right on target.

    1. Icarus Guest

      You should realise they admitted an error and are contacting the customers. This is a general statement they put out. That’s sufficient. Now how they compensate the passengers is none of my own or your business. In reality you may never know. At the minimum it should be eur600 based on their departure from the US.

    2. Don't want to fly Lufthansa Guest

      My point wasn't about compensation - it was about focusing on the real issue and not pretending that the problem was about banning a group.

    3. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      EUR 600 is the compensation owed for a flight delay of more than three hours. It does not include compensation for being racially profiled, discriminated against on the grounds of race or religion, causing alarm and distress, or unfairly treating a human being for any reason.

      Additionally, it is not “sufficient” to put out a statement which repeats the original wrongdoing, by continuing to refer to people who don’t otherwise know each other as a...

      EUR 600 is the compensation owed for a flight delay of more than three hours. It does not include compensation for being racially profiled, discriminated against on the grounds of race or religion, causing alarm and distress, or unfairly treating a human being for any reason.

      Additionally, it is not “sufficient” to put out a statement which repeats the original wrongdoing, by continuing to refer to people who don’t otherwise know each other as a single “group”, based only on their shared race or religion. There are specific laws against this; it is not in any way “sufficient” to repeatedly break these laws.

  35. SG Guest

    I hope someone tells them this

    "Nonetheless there’s an issue with even referring to these passengers as a “group,” since they had booked through various means, and many weren’t traveling together; it would be like denying all Black people boarding on a flight (even if they don’t know one another), and then saying a “large group” was denied boarding"

    1. Icarus Guest

      Group can mean a number of individuals similarly affected. It has nothing to do with how they booked.

    2. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      Yep. This is why all Germans must pay compensation for Lufthansa’s discriminatory treatment of their Jewish passengers, because all Germans are one “group”

    3. Max Guest

      Just fly El Al all the time if Lufthansa is not suiting your special emotional needs.

    4. flying100 Member

      @Max absolutely no. I wont fly El Al as they are much worse for orthodox Jews.

      Just refer to https://onemileatatime.com/el-al-shabbat-lawsuit/ and to https://onemileatatime.com/el-al-captain-tricked-passengers/

    5. Max Guest

      Well if a Jewish non-profit state-sponsored airline from Israel is not capable of suiting the emotional needs of Jews, than how Jews expect any other countries Airline to do so?

    6. Rob Guest

      @Max

      I have no idea what "suiting the emotional needs of Jews" is supposed to mean but LH's actions have nothing to do with anything emotional.

      It has to do with denying people who paid for tickets boarding their planes, even if they didn't break a single rule, due to the fact that they dress similarly to someone else who might've broken the rule. Even if they had absolutely no connection to that person.

      .......

      @Max

      I have no idea what "suiting the emotional needs of Jews" is supposed to mean but LH's actions have nothing to do with anything emotional.

      It has to do with denying people who paid for tickets boarding their planes, even if they didn't break a single rule, due to the fact that they dress similarly to someone else who might've broken the rule. Even if they had absolutely no connection to that person.

      .... and then continuing to lump these 2 people together as part of a "group" even though the only distinguishing feature of the people in this "group" is how they dress.

    7. flying100 Member

      @Max I see you don't understand. I don't consider El Al as a Jewish airline, neither do I consider Israel as a Jewish state. If you consider yourself Jewish but you are anti the Jews who keep the Jewish rule, at least in my opinion you are not Jewish.

      I live in the UK and I never, and I say again NEVER had experienced any PERSONAL anti Jewish behaviour, from non Jews, while from those...

      @Max I see you don't understand. I don't consider El Al as a Jewish airline, neither do I consider Israel as a Jewish state. If you consider yourself Jewish but you are anti the Jews who keep the Jewish rule, at least in my opinion you are not Jewish.

      I live in the UK and I never, and I say again NEVER had experienced any PERSONAL anti Jewish behaviour, from non Jews, while from those so called non observant or non Charaidy Jews I did.

      I'm flying BA, Virgin, Easy jet, Wizz, and more, they always allowed to pray. While on other European airlines, it's not the first time of anti-Semitic behaviour just refer to this story https://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2021/08/18-orthodox-jewish-girls-booted-off-klm-flight-for-reportedly-eating-outside-prescribed-mealtimes/ and https://liveandletsfly.com/jewish-girls-kicked-off-delta/.

    8. Rob Guest

      *facepalm*

      That's the point.

      That they are using the term "large group" to mean "Jews" instead of how they booked is precisely what makes the incident.... and LH's response..... so anti-semitic.

    9. snic Diamond

      @Icarus: Exactly. "Group" is a pretty neutral term.

    10. tda Guest

      Sure. Just like "you people" is a neutral term...

    11. snic Diamond

      I do not see how "we regret that the large group was denied boarding" implies anything close to what "you people" implies when it's used in a derogatory context, e.g., "You people always make trouble", in which there is an implied racial adjective (black, brown, Muslim, Jewish, etc etc) between "you" and "people".

    12. tda Guest

      Well, the context here is that Lufthansa's mistake in the first place was treating differently situated individuals as a "large group" [of Jews]. The only thing that made them a "group" was Lufthansa's decision to inappropriately treat them as such.

    13. snic Diamond

      Sure, what LH did made them a group. LH denied them boarding. If 10 passengers were denied boarding due to oversold seats, the airline could say exactly the same thing, "we regret that the large group was denied boarding". In that case it's clearly not meant as anything like "you people", so why assume that it is in LH's statement?

    14. tda Guest

      Didn't you just answer your own question? Context matters.

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Ivan X Guest

I'm Jewish (observant but not Orthodox), and I was horrified by the incident. I find this apology perfectly acceptable. It doesn't equivocate, and it doesn't skirt responsibility. It is frankly better than 99% of corporate waffles. It says individual passengers will be contacted, and it says it's not done with its investigation (and are thus not likely to use strong language, especially if it might put them in legal jeopardy, in a preliminary statement like this). It sounds as though LH are taking the issue seriously, and I'm frankly surprised that it's not a perfunctory "we're sorry you feel this way, now let's move on" kind of statement. While the statement doesn't explicitly address the fact that people were singled out based on Jewish appearance, it implicitly acknowledges it by mentioning "offense caused" (presumably from discrimination based on religion) and "personal impact" (presumably the experience of a Jew being told by a German authority they can't do something because they're a Jew). And also by specifically mentioning anti-Semitism as counter to their values. As for the "large group," yeah, I think the language could have been chosen more thoughtfully, but it seems very clear to me that it is referring to the "large number of booked passengers" mentiioned in the first paragraph, rather than a "large group of Jews." I mean, sure, they might have meant the latter, and they should have said it better, but I'd be unhappier about it if it didn't seem to obviously refer to the group of booked passengers previously referenced.

9
WP Guest

Me and my friend were on that flight from JFK to Frankfurt that is now all over the news. I can only agree, you are describing exactly what happened on that flight too. It wasn’t a single passenger or a few that did not comply to the mask mandate, it was a majority of traditionally dressed people. And that wasn’t the only problem. They were standing in the isle in large groups, even though the crew and pilots made announcements that it was not allowed. A few attacked me verbally because I asked them to put on their mask. I was told to shut up and it’s not their problem. They started discussions because they didn’t order kosher food and were upset cause the flight attendants didn’t have any. I have never seen so much trash everywhere after the plane landed. It wasn’t right from Lufthansa to deny everyone that was dressed in the traditional attire their connecting flight. But it wasnt a “single person” or “a few” that didn’t wear a mask & didn’t comply with the rules (and yes there were a few other people who did not wear the mask correct too, but the percentage was super low and they had no connecting flights) . It was the majority and a lot of people that were on that flight and are now complaining about what Lufthansa did should not leave out their absolut selfish and disrespectful behavior on the flight that caused all of this.

3
Icarus Guest

Group can mean a number of individuals similarly affected. It has nothing to do with how they booked.

3
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