Lufthansa Looks to Sue Passenger Who Deliberately Missed Travel Leg

Mein gutness! Never skip leg day.

"German airline Lufthansa is trying to sue a passenger it says wilfully booked a cheaper ticket with no intention of making the final leg of their journey, it is claimed.

The airline say that the passenger exploited the airline ticketing system which places a premium on non-stop flights and got a bargain by buying a multiple-stop ticket.

The man was said to have not used all the legs of a journey from Seattle to Oslo and taken a separate flight from Frankfurt, where he was due to catch a connecting flight, to Berlin back in April 2016. "

"The defendant reportedly booked a business class ticket from Oslo to Seattle via Frankfurt for 6224NOK (€657).

On the return flight, however, the passenger flew from Frankfurt to Berlin on a separate ticket. Lufthansa says that he should have paid €2769, and demanded €2112 plus interest."


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  • Lufthansa has been granted permission to appeal after an original ruling found in the passenger's favour, it has been reported.

    So Lufthansa has already lost once in court? That doesn't bode well for them. Plus:

    The defendant reportedly booked a business class ticket from Oslo to Seattle via Frankfurt for 6224NOK (€657).

    On the return flight, however, the passenger flew from Frankfurt to Berlin on a separate ticket. Lufthansa says that he should have paid €2769, and demanded €2112 plus interest.

    According to German court documents, the case was thrown out because the airline failed to fully explain how it had arrived at the compensation figure of €2112.

    They're going to run into the exact same problem - gonna be a bit hard to explain why a flight from A - B - C costs less than just A - B, or why the passenger leaving a seat empty on the last leg cost the airline anything in terms of damages compared to taking up that seat. It'd be hilarious if the higher court found in favour of Lufthansa that the client breached their contract, but assessed the damages at $0.

    • Reminds me of the Luna Park case in law school (was around the 1930's) where Luna Park paid for advertising, something happened, and they sued for breach of contract. They won but were only awarded something like 1 pound as they couldn't quantify their losses.

    • but assessed the damages at $0.

      More like -$100. Reduced fuel requirements, less labour for baggage handling, in air services etc :).

  • Stupid that a company would want to sue a small guy for finding a cheaper fare.

    Whats it to them if he is a no-show on the flight? The flight is not delayed or grounded due to the guy leaving his luggage on board. No shows are common on flights.

    • Wait can luggage fly without a passenger? Thought I saw/read something this is a no no.

      • I think tsunamisurfer is saying if the passenger never checks in, there wouldn't be any unaccompanied luggage holding up the flight.

  • Careful, Colies may start suing us for only buying items that are on special and picking the rest of our groceries from Aldi.

    Or Gerry for that manner.

  • I like the term 'tariff abusers' for the simple act of bargain hunting.

  • Zerquetschen Sie den Passagier, der ungehorsam ist, und beleidigen Sie seine kleine Wurst

  • Some more info from the Lufthansa T&Cs:

    Cancellation of onward flight and return flight reservations by the carrier, service charge when seat is not occupied

    5.6. A service charge may be payable by any passenger who:

    5.6.1. fails to arrive for departure at the airport or any other point of departure by the time we have specified (or if no time has actually been specified, with insufficient time to permit completion of official formalities and departure procedures) and, as a consequence, does not use the seat for which a reservation has been made, or

    5.6.2. appears without the necessary documents, is consequently not ready for travel, and, for this reason, does not use the seat for which a reservation has been made, or

    5.6.3. cancels their reservation after the time specified by the carrier. You will not be made to pay the service charge if you have cancelled your reservation due to a delayed flight, a cancellation, an omission of a scheduled stop, or failure to provide a seat on the flight in question, or if you have failed to arrive in time for departure for one of these reasons.

    • Well, it would appear that they may be contractually entitled to the 'service charge' - but this charge would not necessarily equal the price differential between the two tickets. Best guess it would be the airline's actual costs of the empty seat on the missed leg.
      However, the Europeans have a pretty generous charter of rights for airline passengers and this might change things.

  • They reserve the right to overbook flights:

    Denied boarding in the event of overbooking

    14.5.1. In the allocation of available seats, we will give priority to unaccompanied children and sick and disabled passengers. Otherwise, passengers will be received in the order they arrived with due consideration given to their reasons for travelling.

    14.5.2. If it is foreseeable that some passengers will have to be refused the right to travel, we will attempt in advance to find passengers who are happy to volunteer not to travel on this occasion.

    • Can someone spell "double standards"? Yeah, airlines want to eat their cake and have it too.

      Good thing - the EU has a pretty robust consumer protection regime so I very much doubt companies there can charge actual penalties any more than companies here can. I.e. - they can charge only up to their actual losses, no matter what their contract may say.

  • I'm confused.

    1) at which leg he skipped and
    2) that the airline even cares

    • +1 vote

      He went Oslo->Frankfurt->Seattle->Frankfurt then missed Frankfurt->Oslo and went to Berlin instead

  • While it took me a while to wrap my head around exactly what was going on with all the legs and destinations involved, I must say this man deserves some kind of OzBargain trophy for his bargain hunting effort.

    The response by the airline seems very..German.

  • I once tried to cancel the return leg of flight with Jetstar that had myself and my girlfriend booked on it. I didn't need this leg of the journey but she did. I explained that I didn't expect any money back but that I was just trying to do the right thing so they could resell that seat. They said they couldn't amend the booking in that way and advised me just not to turn up…

    • I was in an opposite scenario.

      I once turned up to the airport to catch a connecting flight from KL to Tullamarine.

      I was told I cancelled my flight. I called a day earlier to try and move my flight. They said the dates I requested wasn't available so I said don't worry, I'll keep my flight. Apparently that constitutes a cancellation.

      So… my last leg was removed when I actually want to board :(

      • That's the rather less fortunate option… did they manage to fit you on that or a not-too-much-later flight? (Are you still there? Do you need help?!)

        • Funny story, I skipped my brekky to catch that flight (running late). They stuffed me around at check-in and being flustered, I put my wallet into my check-in (check in had my passport). They were going to send me to Singapore and then to Melbourne. I was meant to only be 2 hours later than expected.

          They put my on a flight through Singapore but it didn't make the connecting. I had to wait 13 hours for the next. Went to the food court and whadayaknow - no wallet.

          I was still to young and self conscious to eat scraps (I wouldn't give a crap today). I lived off a drinking fountain for what seemed like forever.

          Best airline meal I ever had.

          • @tshow: I guess hunger is the best seasoning? (or however that saying goes…) Though at least you were in Singapore Changi airport - there far worse places to be starving (if there are such things as good and bad places to starve…)

            • @HighAndDry: I think being in Changi made it worse. I could see the food but yuppie pretentious douche I was, I cannot bring myself to scavange.

              Changi has seriously decent (paradox) airport food though (the qualifier airport is important).

              I don't even know what I ate on the plane but it's the only time I've ever wished I was diabetic - I wanted to be served first.

    • That's because Jetstar, like all LCCs, do point to point only. While you might book a 'return' flight the cost is the same as if you paid for it under 2 different bookings.

  • I’ve booked on return flights in Europe with no intention of taking the return leg. I believe I’ve done this with Lufthansa in the past.

    If they don’t make the single section/s cheaper, why wouldn’t people look to do this?

      • Yeah the flights I used to book as return are no longer cheaper like that, but are maybe offering €10 off per flight if you book return. Those flights that I had booked were all internal within Europe, though. I’m not sure about other areas.

  • Lufthansa will lose a lot of business from this insignificant claim.
    How stupid of them to even pursue this.

    • "For example, if you want to fly one-way from Los Angeles to London with American Airlines, departing on April 10, the cheapest ticket is $2906. If you were to book a return ticket departing that same date, the cheapest return ticket would cost $814.40, so why wouldn't you? A business class return ticket LAX-LHR departing April 10 and returning two weeks later would set you back $8863, but a one-way ticket departing April 10 – a whopping $15,593."

      No, airlines, it's you, not us. If a hotel was cheaper for a month than for a day, I'd book the month, stay a day and put the do not disturb sign up.

  • So how do the airlines know if you are deliberately missing that last leg, or if you got caught up somewhere in the airport and accidentally missed the connecting flight? I get that in this case it was clear given the passenger had booked another flight departing Frankfurt already, but not all cases are like that.

  • i don't see the problem.

    you buy something, your entitled to use it or not.

    if one burger costs $5, but two cost $4, i will buy two and throw one out (or give to a homeless)

    • Normally, yes.

      But If you agreed to T&Cs that said you would eat both burgers yourself, or pay a service charge, then it is not so clear.

      • The airline cannot charge a penalty.

        Lufthansa can only claim damages. I highly doubt they will be awarded anything. They are probably trying (poorly) to "scare off" any other bargain hunters.