- Previous coverage:
- Part 1, originally published on 5/8: OUTRAGEOUS: German Airline Bans Jews From Flying; Lufthansa Supervisor: It’s “Jewish People Who Were The Mess, Who Made The Problems, Everyone Has To Pay For A Couple!”
- Part 2, originally published on 5/10: Lufthansa’s Apology Takes Things From Bad To Worse With 9 Things That Remain Unaddressed; The Media Needs To Get This Story Right
- Part 3, originally published on 5/11: Lufthansa CEO Apologizes To Rabbi Of Berlin For Anti-Semitism On His Airline, Suspends Employees Involved
- Part 4, originally published on 5/18: What Has Happened In The 2 Weeks Since Lufthansa’s Shocking Anti-Semitic Fiasco In Frankfurt
Lufthansa’s first statement that they sent to DansDeals and the media about their Frankfurt fiasco said that passengers refused to mask and were therefore denied boarding. That was before I investigated and wrote about the incident. After the DansDeals report was posted, the airline wrote to DansDeals that it was further investigating what happened. The airline has not responded to any of our further requests for comment.
Their second statement said that they regretted the circumstances and apologized, but they still said that a large group was banned without acknowledging that dozens of passengers were not part of any group or that the passengers were all Jewish. I wrote why this apology was in fact anti-Semitic in nature and the ADL later condemned it as well.
The third statement was an apology to the Rabbi of Berlin along with the information that at least one Lufthansa employee had been suspended.
The Rabbi felt that this was a sincere apology, but still, no apology had been made to the actual flight passengers until now.
I interviewed Chuny Rosen for my original article on Lufthansa’s fiasco in Frankfurt. He had used 87,000 Avianca Lifemiles for his first class award ticket from JFK to Frankfurt. He was paged to board the flight, but then not allowed to board the flight.
Later I asked if he would speak to the Washington Post, as they needed to speak to someone who was paged to board and then denied boarding. He was reluctant, but eventually agreed to be interviewed. The article was excellent (archive version here) and the story was then picked up by The New York Times (archive version here) and finally reached the upper levels of the US and German governments.
While most of the roughly 130 passengers on the flight have joined a class action lawsuit against the airline, Chuny and about 30 others have not. While Lufthansa can no longer contact those who have joined the class action against them, they were able to reach out to Chuny and the passengers who have not decided whether they will pursue legal action against the carrier.
The letter was emailed to him from Lufthansa Airlines CEO Jens Ritter (as opposed to the Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr).
In the letter, Mr. Ritter apologizes for Lufthansa denying Mr. Rosen boarding on his flight to Budapest. He writes that his airline is embarrassed by what transpired as it is not reflective of their values of inclusion.
Lufthansa then accepts responsibility to pay:
- Travel expenses for the JFK-Frankfurt-Budapest flight.
- It’s unclear how this would work with a ticket purchased via Avianca miles.
- Travel expenses related to not being permitted to board the flight to Budapest.
- This should include any new tickets purchased to get to the final destination and back home, as well as other expenses such as additional transfers and hotels.
- EU regulation 261/2004 denied boarding compensation.
- It’s unclear if Lufthansa plans on paying €250, which would be the amount owed for short-haul Frankfurt-Budapest, or €600, which would be the amount owed for a long-haul JFK-Frankfurt-Budapest.
The letter also notes that accepting these payments will not waive any rights to legal action against Lufthansa, though the class action lawyer has advised his own clients not to accept anything from Lufthansa.
Mr. Ritter concludes by apologizing again to the affected travelers and says that he hopes to regain the trust of the Jewish community.
What do you think of Lufthansa’s 4th attempt at an apology for their Frankfurt fiasco? Do you expect the airline to issue a proper public apology or statement about how they will ensure this never happens again?