Lufthansa cancels my return flight.Is this legal?

Travel Forums North America Lufthansa cancels my return flight.Is this legal?

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1. Posted by Bigsmallboy (Budding Member 4 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

Can you sue Lufthansa ,
In small claims Court in Fort Worth, Texas for expenses you incurred du to LH?
Story:My wife gets a round trip ticket with LH Dallas Fort Worth(DFW) to Oslo(OSL)(>$2000).Main purpose is to escort my Dad on a LH flight from OSL to DFW a week later.Pay extra so they can sit together on return flight.On day of departure highway is shut down due to accident so we get delayed and we check in at DFW 30 min before departure with United and told we are too late.This flight was booked online with flying United to Washington then LH to Frankfurt and OSL.
We call LH and told we just have to buy a new ticket.We buy new ticket with other airline next day.
Now the interesting part. A week later trying to check my wife in on the OSL-DFW flight I get massage flight cancelled. I can check in my Dad,no flight cancelled message.Strange since they are on the same flights?
Calling LH they tell me Lufthansa has removed her from the flight because she was a no show from DFW.The only thing they can do is to transfer me to Service Center.When they do so I listen to a recording saying they are closed in the week end.
My wife has to by a new return ticket(>$1100 something)to get on the same plane as my Dad.Seat reservation for her also gone.
LH told me this is written in small print somewhere. On the documentation I printed out when ordering and checking in I cant find it.And at no point were we told(when calling)or sent an email about this.
Our extra expenses due to LH removing her from the return ticket:$1100 for new ticket an $2.56 for phone calls.So we were gonna sue them in FTW small claims court for $1102.56
I feel LH behaved very badly in this situation. Warning to all traveling with them, they will take your paid for ticket away from you,so they can make an extra buck!Emails to them are left unanswered.
Anybody tried this?

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1205 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

This is not unusual. If you buy a return ticket with an airline and don't show for the outward journey, you lose both outward and return legs.

In 2003 on the way to Heathrow, there was a motorway accident and several lines were closed for hours. We turned up half an hour after departure. We had to check into a hotel overnight but BA put us on a flight to the US business class the next day at no charge. And we kept the returns four weeks later. Perhaps we were fortunate.

3. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1424 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

It's long been standard practice among traditional airlines to cancel all segments of a booking if one leg is missed. I agree it is a pain. But it will be in the terms and conditions you agreed to when booking your tickets (but do check your paperwork to check this), so I imagine trying to sue the airline is throwing good money after bad.

As far as I am aware any airline would do this (with the exception of budget carriers who are in some ways worse in that they insist that all flights are singles with no guaranteed connections or through-routing of luggage).

I think the way to get somewhere in this situation is by looking to the airline for a goodwill gesture rather than going legal on them. At the time of the missed first flight a staffmember could have intervened to reinstate your onward segments. As it is clearly too late for that, I suggest you ask their customer services if they could share some of your pain as a goodwill gesture (if you are a regular loyal customer, now is the time to say so, ideally giving them your loyalty scheme details). I would think that more likely to take the form of credit for future flights than them handing out cash.

4. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 579 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

>Warning to all traveling with them, they will take your paid for ticket away from you,so they can make an extra buck!

That is absolutely not the case at all. It is standard practice (for obvious reasons) that a no-show for one leg of an outward journey always results in cancellation of the return flight.

Lufthansa is an EU-based airline so passengers have EU passenger rights, regardless of citizenship, as they do with all EU-based airlines and with non-EU-based airlines flying within or departing from the EU. Norway is not in the EU but, as an EEA country, it is included in these rights.

Is this legal?

Absolutely. Lufthansa is a long-established and reputable airline. It operates under EU regulations and would not have cancelled the return flight without legal justification.

In common with other airlines, every single bit of 'small print' is not physically attached to your booking confirmation. Lufthansa's full terms and conditions are displayed on their website and accessible via a link in booking confirmations:

You will find information relevant to your situation in section 3.3 and, most importantly, in 5.6:

> 5.6. Please be advised that if you do not show up for any flight without advising us in advance, we may cancel your return or onward reservation.


> (a passenger who..) 5.7.1 fails to arrive at Carrier's check-in-location at the airport or other point of departure by the time fixed by Carrier (or if no time fixed, sufficiently in advance of flight departure to permit completion of government formalities and departure procedures) and therefore, does not use space for which a reservation has been made for him,

> Can you sue Lufthansa in small claims Court in Fort Worth, Texas for expenses you incurred du to LH?

You can try, of course, but I think your chances of success are miniscule. Lufthansa's terms and conditions of carriage are clearly laid out on the website and are not in any way unusual in this regard.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jun-2018, at 01:13 by leics2 ]

5. Posted by Bigsmallboy (Budding Member 4 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your input.
I still think it is not fair.
Sometimes doing something even though it's legal doesn't make it the right thing to do.

Lh had a 2.36 billion of those euros in profit in 2017,we live pay check to pay check.
They got over $3000 from us to fly my wife one way OSL-DFW .
Isn't a reputable airline like Lufthansa required to answer emails according to EU regulations?

The problem here is Communication.When we missed the first flight and called LH there was no mention of this.Why could LH not simply emailed us this information when we missed the flight?

Are sections 3.3 and 5.6 posted on the initiary and/or boarding card you get emailed?
Guess my conclusion is I WILL NEVER TRAVEL WITH LH AGAIN.

6. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 579 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

>I still think it is not fair.

Life isn't fair, I'm afraid....and businesses practices rarely are. That's why laws have been required to regulate them.

> Are sections 3.3 and 5.6 posted on the initiary and/or boarding card you get emailed?

Of course not...posting all the terms & conditions would take up far too much space! Nor are they posted by other airlines on those particular documents. But there is a link to 'terms and conditions' and it is the passenger's responsibility to ensure that he/she has read those terms and conditions, just as it is in any other sort of contract to which one signs up.

> When we missed the first flight and called LH there was no mention of this.

When you contacted Lufthansa you were told you'd have to buy a new ticket (i.e. rearrange the flight with LH) but you chose to buy a ticket with another airline. You were thus a 'no-show' and your return flight was cancelled in accordance with standard practice and the terms & conditions.


You will find that the vast, vast majority of airlines have exactly the same rules as Lufthansa. E.g


> If you fail to appear for any flight in your itinerary without giving Delta notice in advance of the departure of the flight, Delta may cancel your reservation for all remaining flights in your itinerary.

United Airlines:

> If a Passenger fails to occupy space which has been reserved for him/her on a flight of UA and UA fails to receive notice of the cancellation of the reservation before the departure, or if any carrier cancels the reservation of any Passenger, UA may cancel all reservations (whether or not confirmed) held by such Passenger on the flights of UA or any carrier for continuing or return space,

I do understand that you are annoyed because you lost money but you're wrong to specifically blame Lufthansa. As I said above, cancellation of onward or return flights for no-show passengers is standard airline practice.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jun-2018, at 04:49 by leics2 ]

7. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 387 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

You signed a contract with the airline. Terms and conditions are exactly this: terms and conditions. And they mean what they say. What makes you think that they do not apply to you?


[ Edit: Unnecessary insult towards a nationality ]

8. Posted by Bigsmallboy (Budding Member 4 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

Thank's again.
I don't travel too much any more so it was good to get some advice from the professionals.
I will now sit back open a beer and try to convince myself it feels good to have wasted $2000.Yea!
It was all a bad mistake I made since I'm so stupid and ignorant.
Why did I forget to read up on article 1-9 in the terms and conditions?Stupid me.
Oh well.On the more positive side,Lufthansa should be happy.Getting $2000 for doing nothing seems like a good business model.I need to get into that kind of business.
I think I'll stay away from the other airlines also,sounds like they're all the same.
After 18 years as an airline pilot in Europe,I should know.Airports sucks also,so I'll stay away from those too.Me stay home now.No more LH.

I have heard absolutely zero from Lufthansa Support but I will update here if/when I hear from them.

On a side note.Part of the ticket price I paid for the seats we never got to sit in,must have been taxes,landing fees & so on.Do Lufthansa gather up all those through the year to finance the Lufthansa October Beer employee Festival in Frankfurt, or do they return those taxes and fees to the credit card holder?
Happy travels everyone.

9. Posted by Peter (Admin 6661 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

Did you have travel insurance? If you missed the flight due to circumstances outside of your control, then you could try making a claim there.

10. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 579 posts) 40w Star this if you like it!

>Part of the ticket price I paid for the seats we never got to sit in,must have been taxes,landing fees & so on.

If you had cancelled or notified LH of your inability to make check-in before the flight departed you would be entitled to claim back the 'taxes & fees' part of the fare, even if the ticket itself was non-refundable. I am unsure as to whether refunds apply in full to a no-show, because the airline would not have been able to re-sell the ticket (European airlines do not have 'stand-by' tickets). They may only apply to the return leg of the flight.

The process of claiming back taxes & fees varies according to the airline and the country in which it is based but is definitely worth following up with Lufthansa. Courteously.

I say 'courteously' because you are still directing anger and abuse at Lufthansa in particular even though you now know that what you have experienced is standard airline practice, both within Europe and elsewhere, and has been so for many, many years. The fact that you will lose both legs of a flight if you fail to turn up for one leg is nothing new, is common knowledge and is part of the reason why travellers are strongly advised (including by airlines themselves) to take out travel insurance to cover the same situations as yours....delays on the way to the airport, sudden illness etc etc. The majority of travellers do have such insurance cover.

I very much hope that you did have travel insurance in place, if only for medical cover whilst outside the US, so you should be able to make a claim if that insurance included the travel itself. If it didn't it is possible that one of your credit cards carries travel insurance as a 'perk'.

I am surprised that you were unaware of this standard practice if, as you say, you were an airline pilot for 18 years in Europe but perhaps that was before air travel became available for the majority and before the industry expanded so massively. And, of course, pilots and cabin crew aren't involved in ticketing. Cancellation of the return flight for a no-show certainly isn't a new practice and has been standard across the industry for several decades.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jun-2018, at 23:07 by leics2 ]