I received a call from Lufthansa on Friday concerning my EU261/2004 compliant I filed in late June. It bordered on hilarious.
If you recall, in June my Frankfurt to Munich flight was delayed due to a late-arriving crew, causing an unplanned (and unwanted) extra night in Germany. I shared the details here. This flight is virtually a textbook definition of an EU261 delay, as European courts have determined that one metric of measuring delay length is how late arrival is to your final destination.
John and I ended up arriving in Los Angeles a day late. We noted our expenses (hotel, taxi, meals) and put everything together in a spreadsheet for Lufthansa along with scanned receipts and banking details. In other words, we made it super easy.
A month went by and I finally received an email from Lufthansa stating we were not eligible for EU261 compensation because our flight from Milan to Frankfurt was delayed due to weather.
I wrote back and explained to the Lufthansa agent that he was looking at the wrong flight. Yes indeed, we were delayed on the Milan to Frankfurt flight the night before, arriving into Frankfurt about two hours late. But that wasn’t the issue. I never brought it up in my letter and frankly wasn’t requesting compensation due to that delay because we still made our dinner plans in Frankfurt.
The issue was the delayed Frankfurt to Munich flight the next day. A few weeks passed and I never heard back from Lufthansa. Last week, I started emailing Lufthansa on a daily basis asking for an update.
The Incredulous Telephone Call
Last Friday, I received a call from Thea in the Philippines, calling for Lufthansa. She explained to me that John and I were not eligible for EU261/2004 compensation, but Lufthansa would pay for our hotels and meal costs due to the Milan to Frankfurt delay.
She didn’t get it either…
I explained to her that the full itinerary: Milan to Frankfurt / overnight / Frankfurt to Munich to Los Angeles was booked with a deliberate overnight in Frankfurt. We intentionally scheduled in the overnight in Frankfurt! Again, I explained my complaint was not about the Milan to Frankfurt flight and the two delays were not related.
Then she said this:
AGENT: I understand what you are saying, sir, but we can only compensate for the Milan to Frankfurt flight because that was the first delay on the itinerary.
I was totally taken aback.
ME: What do you mean? The delay in Milan did not cause the delay in Frankfurt the next day.
AGENT: Yes, but the agent rebooked you to LA.
ME: That’s not true and you’re clearly not understanding the situation. What does one delay have to do with the other? The original overnight in Frankfurt was voluntary and our flights to Los Angeles were not rebooked due to the delay.
AGENT: Sir, I understand but we cannot compensate you, but will pay for your hotel expenses.
ME: Can I speak to your supervisor?
AGENT: Sorry sir, I am the supervisor in charge.
ME: So you’re telling me, just so I am 100% clear, that Lufthansa will not pay EU261/2004 compensation because I was also delayed the night before on Lufthansa, just not as long?
AGENT: That’s correct sir. We can only compensate the first flight.
ME: Thank you, you’ll hear from me in writing.
Unless I am missing something, Lufthansa is acting like a shady insurance company, whose first response on a claim is automatic denial.
The delay from Milan to Frankfurt had nothing to do with the delay the next day. The first overnight in Frankfurt was deliberate and intentional. Lufthansa’s current position is incredulous and absurd. I’m now escalating to my executive e-mail chain. As always, I will keep you updated.
Have you had trouble collecting EU261/2004 compensation from Lufthansa?