Lufthansa has reached a settlement with a group of Jewish passengers over a denied boarding incident in May that turned into an ugly display of group punishment. Each passenger involved was cut a check for $21,000.
Lufthansa Passengers Receive $21,000 Each After Being Denied Boarding Based On Jewish Appearance
I detailed the May 4, 2022 incident here, but briefly:
- The incident occurred on Lufthansa 401 from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 onboard a Boeing 747-8
- As many as 170 Orthodox Jews were traveling on the flight, with many connecting to Budapest to visit the grave of Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir
- This included a trio of group bookings as well as many individual bookings
- Some Jewish passengers onboard refused to wear masks despite repeated reminders from flight attendants
- These Orthodox passengers also apparently annoyed flight attendants by performing prayer in the galley, leading to a warning from the captain over the PA that the passengers were not to block galley and had to wear masks or else they would “have a problem” with their connecting flight
- Upon landing in Frankfurt, passengers connecting to Budapest were individually paged, with most (but not all) Jewish passengers denied boarding for their onward flight to Budaepest
- The Budapest flight took off with less than 20 passengers, operated by an aircraft that could handle 192 passengers
- A gate agent allegedly told a passenger that this was at the insistence of the captain, who decided he did not want to risk any trouble on the flight to Budapest
- Armed police officers surrounded the gate area and shielded Lufthansa agents from direct questioning over why all passengers who seemingly appeared Jewish were being denied boarding for the mask violations of a few
- One angry passenger called a police officer a Nazi, which is a crime in Germany
- Passengers were rebooked on later flights, with many not being permitted to travel until the following day
Now Lufthansa has issued a $21,000 check to each passenger involved ($20,000 plus $1,000 for expenses). This represents a negotiated settlement and the law firm which represented the passengers will receive an 18% cut, meaning passengers will receive a payment of $17,400.
It is thought that approximately 128 passengers were involved in the settlement, meaning Lufthansa had to pay out $2.7 million.
This was a sad case of the group being punished for the indiscretions of the few – it was simply unacceptable, considering the passengers were not traveling in a group, just visibly Jewish. I commend Lufthansa for recognizing the very poor decision of its ground staff in Frankfurt and making amends.
Finally, Dan from Dan’s Deals offers some important takeaways that are (in some senses) generally applicable. I commend him for his coverage of this as it unfolded and for his role in keeping Lufthansa accountable.
> Read More: