Lufthansa, the German airline known for strictly enforcing rules to its advantage and flouting those to its detriment, has a new way to avoid issuing refunds: leave passenger in limbo.
Limbo is an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition. And I cannot think of a better term to describe what Lufthansa is doing.
As reported by View from the Wing, Lufthansa is not denying refund requests…it’s just also not processing them.
Let’s say your Lufthansa flight is cancelled. Lufthansa will push you hard to accept a flight credit and will even throw a voucher your way if you choose flight credit over refund.
But if you do opt for a refund, Lufthansa will respond by not actually responding. Asked about it, Lufthansa said:
“Refund is allowed but will not be handled/processed until further notice.”
Yes folks, Lufthansa will accept your refund request, it just won’t process a refund on a non-refundable ticket…for now.
It’s not like Lufthansa faces any technical limitations, because it is still quickly processing refunds on refundable tickets.
A couple problems with this approach, beyond just being customer-unfriendly.
For U.S. passengers, the Department of Transportation requires that airlines refund tickets within seven days if your flight is cancelled, even if your ticket is non-refundable.
In the European Union, passengers are also entitled to a refund in the case of a flight cancellation. Last week, the EU even confirmed that airlines are legally required to refund tickets even if they invoke force majeure due to COVID-19.
If your flight is cancelled or severely delayed and Lufthansa (or any other airline) is dragging its feet on a refund, I would invite you to initiate a credit card dispute. And do it now. Up next is a story about how American Express is making airline disputes more difficult.
> Read More: If The Voucher Don’t Suit, You Must Dispute
> Read: More: Forcing Lufthansa into Submission Over Cancelled Flight
For US passengers this is actually a problem with a relatively straightforward solution. Anybody can go to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court and file a Petition against a debtor unable to pay at least 3 trade creditors when their trade debts are due, and seek to have that debtor placed in involuntary bankruptcy. If you have a refund that Lufthansa “will not process at this time” they are a candidate for an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding so that its remaining assets can be distributed fairly among LH’s creditors . . . not just the creditors that LH wants to pay.
Tell me if I’m wrong but isn’t this essentially what UA is doing but instead of limbo they’re telling you 12 months until your money is refunded? Which honestly isn’t any better. Due to how friendly EU laws are for passengers compared to how it is in the US, I’d expect a refund in under 12 months from LH. UA and LH are fighting over who can better stick it to their paying customers during a time of crisis. These companies are pathetic on their best day.
I feel like saying 12 months, while also wholly indefensible, is better than lying to customers and saying/doing nothing. Both should incur the wrath of credit card companies as consumers rightfully engage in chargebacks. But just wait until my next story publishing this hour…Air France and AMEX are colluding.
Hi matthew we had 3 passenger’s due to fly to new delhi from birmingham uk via frankfurt return due to corona india government stopped all flights we still not been refunded am owed travel agency told me to be patient i paid via debit card
Is that question for me?
If people do as you suggested earlier in the week, dispute the charges, problem solved. Further, if carriers like Lufthansa get hit with tens of millions in disputed charges they run the risk of Credit Card companies refusing to process any payments for them until things get remedied over time. Imagine Lufthansa becoming a cash or PayPal airline only?
@Matthew : maybe LH can also keep up with the latest trends in vogue and rename themselves to Luft-hanta
China has decided to conduct racist global policy of banning entry of all foreigners to prevent spread of china ccp virus. Still waiting for reaction from liberals who are in danger of being hypocrites if they don’t condemn this
British Airways is worse. Impossible to contact them at all, I sort of gave up on refund altogether.
I had our JNB-flights refunded on the credit card and it took just a few days ~week ago.
This airline can offer all the PR it want. Won’t change a thing. Lufthansa has NO CUSTOMER Service. They continue to rob customers of refunds even though no flight was ever taken. They are greedy, heartless bastards. NEVER FLY LUFTHANSA!
Jetblue has also told us that we have 12 months to use the credit that’s been deposited in to their Jetblue travel bank.
We cancelled the group tickets a couple of days before Jetblue stopped flying to Haiti .
Lufthansa silence is deafening. I bought a refundable ticket from Lagos to Chicago (March 28th) which I cancelled 10 prior to departure. Would you believe I am yet to receive my refund. All they do is offer 50 Euros discount if I rebook.
The Lufthansa racket is even worse when you try to rebook a postponed ticket d/t COVID. We used the postpone to a later date option, and in our attempt to rebook later this year, Lufthansa attempted to charge us more than what was currently available on their website! (Yes, we know that traveling later in 2020 is a hopeful wish.)
Our original booking was $1774 + seat reservations + upgrade fee. At the time of postponement I requested a refund for the seat reservations and upgrade fee. Customer service agent – no problem. Occurred on 3/13/20.
4/8/20 – This is my experience with a rebooking attempt with the $1774 credit. This must be completed over the phone. I’m on the Lufthansa website viewing the flight I would like to book while telling the agent the flight numbers. It’s $1248. Same destination and airports as original booking. Service agent quoted me an amount for over $1800, and told me with the 50 Euro credit I would still owe $30…..for the EXACT SAME FLIGHT! When I brought this up to the agent, they minimized my concern and stated that I should just request a refund and cancel my original booking and book this separately. They were very noncommittal on when I would receive the refund for my tickets, seat reservations, and upgrade fee, but should check the Lufthansa website for updates. Like an idiot I agreed and may have been better off coughing up the extra $30 because now I may be out the entire original booking amounts.
Long story short, Lufthansa is a joke. Don’t trust their voucher or rebooking promises because they will try to charge you more for the flight when you rebook.
we had a similar issue when trying to rebook, they wanted an extra $500 per person to fly next year, even though they said could rebook without cost. Issue is they have no low fare class fares available at all and so have to go to higher fare class. This put the cost of ticket way higher than CX or SQ.
I have chosen the refund option but don’t know when or even if we will get a refund $1056 by 2 ($2112)
I have cancelled some flights scheduled to undertake in April and May with Lufthansa, adding up over $6,500.00 that I paid for those. They have sent me confirmation emails of the cancelled flights, however, since March 8 – I have not received the refund and that is going to be two months in the coming week. Aftert two complaints I have filed, they have offered me to re-schedule the flights, but I cannot do that since I still hold valid booking for later time of this year. They have had no decency to write me an individually created reply email but used a prefabricated one. As a frequent flyer and Senator status holder I thought that this is by no means to handle old customers, so I concluded that I am done with this airline that I have used since 1975.
I am amazed by the stupidity of the US carriers that they have no direct flights from any of the west-coast states of the USA to Germany while Lufthansa has nine flights from the three Pacific Coast states.
Sorry that Lufthansa has treated you so poorly. United, at least prior to COVID-19, had two daily SFO-FRA flights and one daily SFO-MUC flight.
Yes, you are right, I did miss the SFO flights, I fly almost always from LAX.
Stil – you undertstand my thoughts re. these lucrative routes to FRA and MUC are mostly not serviced by the US carriers.
I bought a Lufthansa ticket for someone coming from Germany and returning from Vancouver BC on March 4 for an April multi-city trip and cancelled the flight March 12 when I realized that COVID-19 was going to impact travel. I called Lufthansa Customer Service multiple times to be told that the refund is delayed. Mind you I had cancelled way before they conveniently changed their policies and now Im also having to deal with nothing in return. Why would I or anybody fly with this untrustworthy airline ever again? This is highway robbery at it’s best, Im thinking of asking my bank to refund the charges since Lufthansa is highly incompetent at refunding people their money.
I have to agree with your conclusion. The paid tickets for future flights entirely used up for the daily operations. This is a financial gamble without the COVID19 and now in part the German, Austrian, Belgian and Swiss taxpayers pay for the mismanagement along with us who’s tickets are not yet refunded and the biggest part is going to be once again – s0 I think – the revenues from new bookings. These issues, the new mileage and status system (postponed until the end of next year) makes me as well to abandon the decades long used airline. Air France?
I booked 2 flights for $6700 in January, cancelled due to covid and travel restrictions on March 19th. Called Lufthansa 10 times, roughly every other week, today June 8th, still no refund. Every time on the phone, after waiting 50+ minutes they say that I’m in the refund queue but I have a feeling I will never get my money back. So Lufthansa taps in to the emergency fund from the German government but does not pass that along, let alone pay customers back their money ….
Just called my cc company and initiated a chargeback…good luck to us all. After Germany has sucked dry the rest of Europe, they are now trying the rest of the world. WW2 happened for a reason.
Good call, I did the same yesterday night and got a pending refund from Chase. Not sure it’s Germanys fault but Lufthansa is an emberassment and I hope there will be consequences for them.
I purchased a ticket to FRA for an April 24th flight for $1544, realized can’t travel due to COVID and attempted to talk to their customer service, and each time the phone would hang up after a 30min hold. I didn’t know when I would be available to travel so I did a refund on their website. After two and a half months I just got a refund for $134! I called to talk to them and they said ” your flight was not affected, you are the one that canceled the flight”. Seriously?!
I purchased non-refundable Business Class tickets for my wife and I for September from Los Angeles to Bilbao, Spain. The tickets cost $5,800. With Covid raging in Spain I called Lufthansa and spoke to an agent who told me that I could not get a refund, which I pretty much figured, but she said I could reschedule with “refund vouchers” provided I rescheduled by August 31, 2020, traveled by April 30, 2021 and paid any fare difference (increase). She also said they were reviewing their refund policies in view of Covid and suggested I monitor the website (my reservations). I logged into my reservations 4 weeks later and noted there was a large yellow “Refund” button. I opted for the refund but received no additional information regarding timing and / or the amount of the refund. When I called I was told that since I had cancelled the reservation that I was only eligible for a refund of the taxes and was not eligible for any refund vouchers. I explained that this was ridiculous.; that no rational person would forego $5,800 for a refund of the ticket taxes. I am working with NBC Consumer Advocates in Los Angeles, who sent an email to Lufthansa 2 weeks ago. No response whatsoever. This is absolute fraud. After reading all these other posts I assume we’re screwed.
Your story sounds very similar to one that I have, which has now been going on for 2 years. Did you ever get anywhere?
I have purchase flight tickets that cost me $3,600 from a travel agency, flying with Lufthansa. I have been on the phone at least once a week for the past 2 months with travel agency. I also called lufthansa, an they told me my travel agency is the one who has to refund my money for the canceled flight and the travel agency has to request the refund from them through their system. LH also said that i am eligible for a full refund. Ive been quite upset at the travel agency when they were telling me a “different” story such as, Lufthansa is not refunding the money yet. After reading all of this, im starting to believe that LH is the issue here and not the travel agency. I am beyond frustrated that they take so long to return the money they were so quick to take in 2 seconds. How is this even legal?? If they told me, ok you need to wait 5 months and you will get your money back. But no, noone knows anything, all i hear is, you just need to wait. I will never use Lufthansa again.
I also forgot to add, i submitted a claim for a dispute at my Bank of America, and after 2 months, they closed the claim without refunding my money saying, that the reason is, that I CANCELED THE FLIGHT. Ridiculous! Im also very disappointed at BOA that they did not ask me at all for any information, they just straight up believed them! I called Lufthansa and asked for a letter that states i should be getting a refund and the flight was canceled by the airline which i was supposed to get in the email, but nothing came. Just a computer generated email that states that that flight was canceled. Beyond frustrated with everything.