Here Is The Apology Letter That Lufthansa’s CEO Is Sending Passengers That Were Denied Boarding To Budapest; Is The 4th Time The Charm?

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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?

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80 Comments On "Here Is The Apology Letter That Lufthansa’s CEO Is Sending Passengers That Were Denied Boarding To Budapest; Is The 4th Time The Charm?"

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I think they finally owned up to the situation. They should also terminate all employees involved, but that is separate . Also the left room for legal action which loosens up the situation as well

Chaim Ber Finkelstein

Not bad


I think it is nicely written!


Hopefully they clearly fired all the employees involved and put them on a list not to be able to work in the airline industry somehow.


Why all employees? They should fire the one who made the decision


They should fire all those where were involved in the decision, its implementation (“following orders”), and the coverup (including all those who were involved in writing the earlier non-apologies).


Same way they denied boarding for everyone because of some…


I agree. This is the most important step to hopefully prevent similar occurrences. Employees need to know they WILL lose their job for acting out like this!!


Hear hear!


If you have to beg for an apology…


I think you deserve a commission


i personally swore i would never enter Germany , and naturally not fly Lufthansa .
Obviously Anti-semitism will always be part of the German culture .
Nobody from that group should ever fly with them


Not bad


Especially since they are not requiring waiving of rights


I know that I’m going to get flak for this, but I still have not seen evidence that this act was anti-Semitic. Rather, it seems to me that this is a case of casual racism which happened to affect Jews–and that is a very different from actual anti-Semitism. In fact, from what I recall, one of the employees in the video actually states that the same things would happened if the group was black or Asian. Now, I certainly believe that the passengers which were denied boarding should receive some compensation, but I’m also concerned that by claiming anti-Semitism in situations like this, we’re potentially cheapening acts of actual anti-Semitism. And don’t get me started on the passengers who were yelling “Nazis” at the LH employees. If a Nazi is someone who denies boarding to a group of passengers, then that’s a great complement to the real Nazis.

# Never Fly Lufthansa

Please explain how passengers who were called by name to board were denied only because they looked like an Orthodox Jew. Those that weren’t visibly Jewish were allowed to board. If that’s not anti Semitism, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.


I did explain above. I’m not disputing that visibly Jewish people were denied boarding; I’m saying that they were not denied due to a hatred of Jews, but rather because they were lumped together with other Jews who were not cooperating with the instructions of the crew. I agree that lumping together a group of people only due to their appearance is a form of racism, but that does not constitute anti-Semitism just because that group happened to be Jews that day.


That’s an odd logic though. If I ban a bunch of black people from my store because a black guy stole someone, can I then say — “No, I’m not racist against black people…I’m just lumping together a bunch of people who look the same??”


His point is that they based it on a group. Stores by me ban or limit the number of teenagers in their store at certain times. Again, this is based on a group. I can see his point even if I don’t agree with it.


A form of racism directed against Jews is anti-semitism by definition. And many a racist act is performed by people who don’t even believe they are racist but engage in various sorts of racist micro-aggressions anyway directed at visible minorities: for example, when people suddenly decide to clutch a wallet or purse differently when they notice an ethnic minority to be in rather close proximity to them but did no such thing when a co-ethnic community member is in as close or closer proximity to them. If some German soccer/football fans on a flight refused to wear a mask properly on a flight, would LH really have denied transport to all other “visible” potential fans of the same team on the flight? I doubt it. And by the way, it’s also possible for people to be racist even against their own co-ethnic/co-religionist group members. So even if one or more of the involved LH employees involved in this indefensible group punishment happened to be Jewish, it doesn’t eliminate the racist/anti-Semitic nature of the act.


when someone with “I know that I’m going to get flak for this,” you know that their response is going to be as dumb as what you just wrote. Shame on you for believing the employee that they would do the same to asians or blacks.


Well, thanks for proving me right and showing that I can always count on knee-jerk reactions in an echo-chamber. And what leads you to believe that their employee wouldn’t do that to blacks or Asians?


I hope its not crazy to say, but I sort of agree. They acted racist, but not- necessarily do they hate jews. It was terrible and disgusting, and having the police there was certainly uncalled for but cannot be taken out of proportion. In no way does this make what they did any better, just saying we should call it what it is.


Really sad all the police went along with this!!


Racism against Jews IS anti-Semitism, regardless of whether that person would be racist also against other people or not.


Agree. I’m confused about the other comment above saying this is “racist” but not “anti-Semitic.

Liam K. Nuj

“Casual (or any other kind of) racism” against Jews (who are a religion and not a race) actually has a name.
I believe you may be confused and think that antisemitism is only when a physical assault is involved. That is an anti-semitic attack. This Lufthansa fiasco was anti-semitic discrimination.


So every Anti-Semite who says that “But my best friends are Jewish” is to be believed, taken at face value, and assumed by you to have simply taken a disliking to the Jewish nose of whichever jew he happens to start up with?
Not everything an anti-Semite says in an attempt at covering up needs to be believed.


The fact that white supremacist in America also hate black people, doesn’t make them any less anti-Semitic.


This whole argument boils down to which court you want to judge them in. Dan and the others are right that in the court of public opinion Lufthansa is definitely going to be judged as overt anti-Semites etc. But I agree, in a way, with Agoldsc1 that if you really would try to bring such an argument into a regular court, it doesn’t necessarily pass as “beyond reasonable doubt.” Stinks? Sure! But a good lawyer can persuade a judge to hold his nose and rule the case based on its merits alone.


In a civil litigation matter, “beyond reasonable doubt” is not the general standard hurdle for whether the defendant wins or loses the trial.

In any large organization, the organization will likely have at least some employees who hold fast to the prejudices and other ideas of the bigots who are to be found within the society at large. And anti-minority sentiment directed at minority religious groups and minority ethnic groups is unfortunately prevalent enough around the world that there sadly seems to be nothing that surprises me when it comes to racist aggressions that hit travelers. When an employer has such problematic employees in their rank and file, the organization can: a) bury its head in the sand and/or do the world a disfavor by denying or deflecting; or b) it can do the world a favor by calling a spade a spade in recognizing racism as racism and actively oppose racism in the rank and file and elsewhere. The company going slowly and reluctantly from point A to point B doesn’t inspire confidence that they’ve learned as much of a lesson as they need to learn and to be a better example of corporate citizenship in the global marketplace.


If you discriminate against a whole group of blacks because of the actions of a few that is racism, If you discriminate against a whole group of Jews because of the actions of a few that is……?
According to your logic the unprovoked attacks against Asians at the beginning of covid weren’t discriminatory.

Marco Biagini

Maybe it was racism/antisemitism; who knows? I know that Lufthansa should have been extra sensitive, given their history. In Germany’s defense, they take antisemitism very seriously; nothing is whitewashed or history re-written. I was in Israel in 2018 on a NatGeo Tour, and obviously, the question came up, how do you feel about Germany? To my surprise, both Guides, both University Professors, one Jewish and one Palestinian, agreed that Germany had made great strides in education.
Before anyone gives me flack for this comment, I’m Swiss German and lived in Germany for a few years, and I have many friends, both German and German Jews living there. In any case, this is a PR nightmare, and everyone involved should be ashamed and disciplined. One more thing, there are more Nazis in the US and other countries than in Germany.


Agoldsc1 writes like a lawyer which I am not. The target questions being asked and follow to responses are like it’s being determined if the class action should go to a full trial.


Agoldsc1, well written. I agree that this is generally racist as opposed to anti semitic. It does so happen to be against semites, and many of us automatically turn to this as being “anti semitic” specifically. Also, I would venture to say that most people from any race or group will automatically call this act anti semitic, but you make a good point about cheapening the meaning of anti-Semitism.
Definitely debatable. Like everything else.

Mendel n

Jews are still looks like 1 group
And we actually do Feel this way (whenever you are stuck somewhere and you find a jew you can rely on them)
Black and Chinese or polish people don’t fell and don’t look as a group.

I’m sure if would be a group of students or a team and 2 or 3 guys would be with no mask
They would may block them.

I’m not saying that this was right thing to do
But maybe wasn’t a antisemitism.


Hey! I know why you put the DansDeals watermark in the letter. So that it should look like it says, “DansDeals has launched a thorough investigation to fully understand what occurred on May 4th…”

On a serious note, though, IMHO the compensation they’re offering is a pittance compared to what compensation for such an event should really look like. This leads me to think that again, Lufthansa is trying to brush the fly off its sleeve so it can move on with business, and not be perturbed by such “problems”.

Lewis Sperber

I agree with you 100%. To me, Lufthansa is saying – “be nice Jews, accept a free flight plus, and let’s go on with life, because we need your business”. Whether you wish to call their actions racist or anti-semitic doesn’t matter. The fact is that 130 people were discriminated against for only one reason – being Jewish.

Also, please take into consideration that a corporate culture isn’t formed at the bottom, it comes from the top down. Agree to boycott Lufthansa, and then spend all the time you want deciding what terminology to apply Lufthansa’s actions.


Meh, needed to wait till the very end to say that it was because they were Jewish.


And in the middle, “…stands opposed to racism, discrimination, and antisemitism…” It sounds silly to complain that antisemitism is at the end when it should be first, but then again, this has to be a carefully crafted letter that went through more than the usual proofreading. Reminds me of when the US Congress wanted to condemn Omar over her antisemitic tweets but couldn’t pass a resolution until they watered it down with racism, hatred in general, etc. Apologies for discrimination always seem to be given so begrudgingly when it comes to Jews.


Dan can you write more about the pilot that supposedly made the call to bar all yidden? Who was he? and is he being fired? This appears to be the essence of this story. It seems the pilot’s decision basically started the uncontrollable snowball. I’m not sure why this is not focus now?


I don’t believe it was the pilot’s decision.
Typically a pilot is occupied with doing his job, taking off and getting the plane to its destination on time in a safe manner.
I believe it was a manager with a strong desire of power coupled with some antisemitism who made the decision and blamed it on a pilot.

# Never Fly Lufthansa

I think it’s a good start, but a more public apology is warranted IMHO.


what happens to the involved employees? they need to get punished

Too little too late

This sounds lame, pretty much the minimum of the minimum they had to do, to be able to say “we apologized, and offered compensation”. All they offered was for damage they caused and what they are legally required to pay anyway. Why didn’t offer a free 1st class trans Atlantic ticket?


I will not fly LH


personally i think its too little and too late
why did they not come forth right away? why did it take so long before these letters went out?
only when a law suit was filed and after the media and govts got involved did they send out this e mail meaning they were hoping for it to blow over with out any negative backlash when that didnt happen did they slowly as you have in your timeline respond each time a accepting a little bit more responsibility but still hoping theyd get away with as little as possible
thats the way i see it


Halacha hi biyadua. Esav soneh es yaakov.


“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.”

why not?


That limits you to the class action settlement.
If you want to sue them separately, you are entitled to do so.


Nice to see. Now release some award availability to make the rest of us happy.


I will probably be roasted for saying this but I think the actual compensation might be sufficient. I’m not saying more action does not need to occur within the airline both publicly and internally but not necessarily in the form of money to passengers. I think that too often people look at any way to get something from someone else. Yes, they should be compensated for their expenses and what they are entitled to under the law. But they don’t have to get thousands or millions to prove a point.

I know people will say that paying them will serve as a deterrent to others or a punishment to the airline but that is honestly not what the passengers are entitled to and it is not the true reason people are looking for the money. What person who won a lawsuit can HONESTLY say “I feel good not because I got money but because I know the defendant learned a lesson”? They suffered a loss, now make them whole again.

Under halacha there is payment for embarrassment but unfortunately we don’t live under halachic law in society. And I know that often people make millions off cases like this but I disagree with that too.


Then what do you suggest? They compensate the passengers for their loss, say sorry, and done?


Clearly you did not read what I wrote. I said that more action has to occur publicly and internally. That could come in the form of firing employees, sensitivity training, whatever else. Just don’t demand a windfall for the affected passengers. That does nothing but cause more ill will.


I agree with this. Take care of the actual financial issues, of course. But a bigger public apology and specific ongoing proof of training, support of Jewish and other causes and time will tell if the apologies are meaningful. I think that all of the affected passengers will eventually get more financial compensation, but unfortunately focusing on the money will give more fodder to negative stereotypes of Jews.

Ultimately, I personally would not fly Lufthansa because that is my way of making an ongoing long term statement. Ask me again in a few years when I can see if anything has changed.


Letter still assumes a group approach as it ends “I want to apologize to you AND THE OTHER TRAVELERS” that’s fine but why is the apology “to other trailers” included in an individual letter.

I do not join the call for termination of the employees involved because of the anti-semitism. As an American I don’t believe that people should be denied employment because of their views, social or political. There may be other cause for termination in this case,perhaps.


“I don’t believe people should be denied employment because of their views, social or political”
Many people agree. But here they are being judged on their actions not their views. Views are mostly protected in the US, not actions. You can be prejudiced, we all are in some ways, but in the US and many other places you cannot act on those prejudices.
You might be fined, jailed or yes lose your job. But you can keep your social and political views and even say them publicly and promote them but it may cost you your job. Everyone has that choice in democratic societies.


People are denied employment in the US based on social or political views. Just look at what goes on with US background checks and security clearances. And that’s not even all of it.

What an awful, stupid, stubborn, stupid, overbearing, stupid thing to happen. It’s a story that is difficult to believe actually happened. What were people using for brains? Obviously both the pax and the LH people behaved badly. While it’s interesting to pore over apologies and interview pax, I doubt if anyone thinks this was a race/religion thing outside of a couple of LH people who did dumb things. LH should just throw a big bunch of money at these pax, sincerely apologize if they arrived too late to participate in the event they were travelling for, and get on with it.


Loving the watermark!


I would withdraw my lawsuit only if Lufthansa’s CEO sends the racist pilot with a surprise flight from Hamburg to the Falkland Islands — 8,512 miles. The special flight will take 15 hours and 35 minutes, upon arrival fires the pilot and ban him from returning with Lufthansa airline.


What about those who refused to wear their masks? Did they apologize for their behavior and obvious chilul Hashem? I hope they didn’t get compensation.


LH should unilaterally toss in a €5000-€10k voucher apology gesture on top of whatever else LH mentioned it would provide to the mistreated customers subject to group punishment.

Zev Shapiro

It wasn’t Just the Airline that perpetrated this it was also the fault of the Police who did not demand to know what or who did anything wrong.


It’s a nice gesture, but I personally won’t be satisfied until I see heads roll. Lufthansa needs to openly name multiple actual employees who are being permanently fired without severance/compensation, as a direct result of their horrible actions, not just one nameless employee who was “suspended” and for all we know is back at work already with no loss of pay or other punishment.


Guys! Let’s get it straight. We are in Galus and until Moshiach comes antisemitism and racism against Jews are here to stay. Is Lufthansa wrong? Definitely. Is an apology or compensation gonna make people feel better? Possibly. Is this going to fix the problem? No.
We should be thanking Hashem each day that we are not getting beat up and thrown out of our homes like our grandparents did not so long ago. And these situations should serve as a wake-up call for us all to fix our ways and try to bring Moshiach closer.


Very True


Love how the class action lawyer tells them not to accept anything from Lufthansa. Because if they do they may be satisfied and that would leave the lawyer out of the $$.


Very well done by lufthansa. Bravo!


Any updates on the matter?


OK, somebody did something stupid. Perhaps many people did things that were stupid. Why make a federal case out of ‘how’ Lufthansa apologized? That won’t change anything, these apology letters are all written by a bunch of middle-managers who probably slave over each one for hours. The LUF people who did stupid things should be ‘punished’ and/or retrained. Lufthansa can give the pax something nice and we can all go home. What on earth did people discuss before the internet started spewing garbage of all kinds everywhere?