Here Is Lufthansa’s Response To The US DOT Complaints Filed Against Them

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When something goes wrong with an airline, I have often had great success filing a complaint with the DOT. I haven’t needed to escalate past an informal complaint, but some readers that have hit a wall with an informal complaint, have had success after filing a formal complaint.

I previously wrote to the DOT and asked for an official comment about the incident and they responded that airlines that fly to the US are not allowed to discriminate based on race or religion and that they would investigate the incident to determine if enforcement action is appropriate.

Several passengers that were denied boarding filed informal complaints to the DOT. They received this response from Lufthansa to them and the DOT,

We have received the above referenced statement from the U.S. DOT regarding your recent experience with Lufthansa and would like to respectfully provide our response.

Lufthansa is sincerely sorry for the regrettable events that led to you not being permitted to board your connecting flight from Frankfurt to Budapest on May 4, 2022. Not only did we cause you great inconvenience, our actions and words offended you and the other passengers who were trying to complete their journey to Budapest. That is not acceptable behavior; we are embarrassed and will seek ways to prevent similar occurrences. Lufthansa, including through its CEO, has reached out to numerous leaders of the Jewish community as well as political leaders both in Germany and in the US to express our apologies and start to regain the trust of the Jewish community.

There is an ongoing investigation launched by Lufthansa to fully understand the facts and circumstances that led to the events that took place on May 4. The regrettable sequence of events that occurred in Frankfurt do not reflect Lufthansa’s values and its respect for all our customers. Lufthansa is a multinational company whose customers are citizens of the many countries that we serve. We employ thousands of men and women of many ethnic, racial and religious groups at all levels of our organization, and we stand firm in our opposition to racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism in any form. Our immediate goal is to learn from what occurred so that it may not be repeated. In addition, the Company will be implementing a program to enhance cultural awareness/sensitivity training to avoid any form of discriminatory or disrespectful actions in the future.

As you may be aware, Lufthansa has offered to refund the full amount you paid for your itinerary from New York through Budapest and all reasonable incidental travel expenses that you incurred as a result of not traveling on Lufthansa flight LH 1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest as originally scheduled. This includes the cost of alternative transportation to Budapest and the cost of lodging and meals. Additionally, Lufthansa agreed to pay compensation for denied boarding in accordance with EU Regulations 261/2004. This reimbursement proposal was made in good faith and did not require you to waive any other legal rights that you may have resulting from this experience. We were advised through your counsel that our proposal was reviewed and rejected.

There have been numerous similar complaints filed by your fellow passengers, which we acknowledge, and similar responses shall be submitted to them. We note that the events you are referring to in your statement to the DOT occurred outside the U.S. but we, nevertheless desire to respond to you in good faith.

We again offer you and the other individuals impacted our apologies for what transpired on May 4. We hope you afford us the opportunity to regain your trust.


Alison Russo

Customer Relations, North America

I think it’s good that Lufthansa is starting to take more ownership and apologizing for what went wrong in Frankfurt on May 4th. I’d still like to see the airline launch an independent investigation into the incident, publicize their findings, and issue a public apology, but things are definitely improving.

What do you think of Lufthansa’s latest response? Will you fly the airline in the future?

HT: chff

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49 Comments On "Here Is Lufthansa’s Response To The US DOT Complaints Filed Against Them"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.




Dan, Thanks for keeping us updated on this. Would I fly Lufthansa in the future? If there were no other alternatives, I may fly with them begrudgingly. But for the most part, I’d do everything in my power to avoid them, and take my dollars to a different airline.


It has taken them some time to crunch all the numbers of their income from the Tel Aviv line and their educated best guesses about what the Jewish market is worth in revenue. Now that has been done they have decided how much to pay out. This is all business. Company employees made mistakes and Lufthansa is now paying for that. The “apologies” are all fake though.


So if the take the good faith gesture it will definitely impact a bigger payout?


Europeans don’t do large settlements. There won’t be big payouts.


Lufthansa gave to much power to their pilot’s, if a pilot feels offended by a non-mask-compliant-passenger, or verbally offended word’s, perhaps he go should go home back to his basement, rather then reject a lot of customers that actually paid for tickets and for his six figure salary.


The worst power-tripping pilots I’ve ever observed are on US airlines. European airlines’ pilots tend to be more mellow and less aggressively confrontational than US airline pilots.


Words are cheap, those actions spoke frighteningly loud.
Would I fly lufthansa?
Hell no


Do these actions of some individuals represent the company at large?
Words are cheap indeed, however I would give the airline a chance to show regret


Curious what the point of a DoT complaint is when passengers were already offered compensation and had already decided to decline it.

Frequent Flyer

This is a little too little a little too late. They have a lot more apologizing to make and their findings being made public are crucial to me me trusting them again in the future.


Why was the offer rejected? It didn’t mean they had to waive other legal actions. As for flying Lufthansa, no. But I won’t travel to Germany, either.


Very proud of you for following up, good to see Lufthansa agreeing to cover the costs of the airfare and incidentals.

Obviously for some people the whole trip was wasted and there’s nothing you can do about that, but it’s good to see that they’ve at least taken responsibility monetarily.


No word about firing the employees involved?
They are still investigating the incident? Come on!


Terminating unionized employees in various parts of the higher income parts of the Schengen area is not all that easy, fast and cheap. And the longer the tenure of the employee, the harder and more expensive it can be to can the employee.

My issue with this situation is that I don’t think airline management is approaching the issue from a social values perspective as much as a traditional bureaucratic business mentality for the company. But this same kind of “falling short” (on prioritizing social values) is also not so far removed from rather from when US airline pilots booted off or otherwise would intimidate or support GA/FA intimidation of say “Muslim”/“Muslim-looking” minorities at airports and on US flights.


Great work Dan


Surprised that the compensation was denied. But I never did and never would fly Lufthansa. Nor have I or will I knowingly buy anything German. I certainly wouldn’t make a stopover in Germany.

American Businessman

This month, I had some business to do in Israel, and flew twice, from New York, and I have another 2 return flights booked for the next 2 weeks.
All flights were booked in Business Class.
Originally when searching, Lufthansa came up with good price & timing. But due to the recent attacks on the Jewish community I opted to go for British Airways.
I was happier to pay more, and feel welcomed on the airline.

Gershon dubin

Worthless. They committed to nothing except to state that they don’t HAVE to pay anything. No sincere apology, no names & fired status for the offenders; NOTHING that says it won’t happen again if the circumstances present themselves.


I lost more than 400 relatives in WW2 in the camps. No amount of money or convenience will ever induce me to spit on their collective memories. This was a small reminder of their inglorious past. I recognize that many Germans have attempted to sincerely repent and I respect and appreciate that. But until the damage is undone and much more is done to clean up their house, I will never purchase anything from them or use their services.


Thank you Dan for fighting the good fight!


obviously the germans have a history and history tends to repeat itself
see this continues anti Semitism
carried out recently today headlines

wish this happened 75 years ago, that jews should be denied entrance to auschwitz !

Some guy

Just wondering why they rejected the compensation even though it’s not connected to legal proceedings. Any comments?


“ There have been numerous similar complaints filed by your fellow passengers, which we acknowledge, and similar responses shall be submitted to them. We note that the events you are referring to in your statement to the DOT occurred outside the U.S. but we, nevertheless desire to respond to you in good faith.”?

That the incident occurred outside of the US doesn’t void US DOT jurisdiction. Tickets bought in the US for flights with the trip commencing in the US are under US DOT jurisdiction. That the incident happened outside of the US doesn’t make it any better or worse for travelers than if it happened in the US.

Jeffrey Ruttner

No way Jose would I fly them or through their country.
My dad is a survivor of Auschwitz.


I think it’s good too, but if it took so long and it was only after a DOT complaint, it just shows that it’s so not genuine. It’s a disgrace! They should be boycotted. If they were really sorry about what happened, they would’ve acted very differently. They just want people to continue using them so they can make more money. This intent is quite obvious and therefore our response should be in turn – NOT to use them!

Oh Shoot

My husband is flying Lufthansa right now. He bought a ticket to Israel with United but they canceled his connecting flight and rebooked him through Germany. Whoops
I hope he has a smooth and uneventful trip!

Peter Lehmann

Most comments to this article are anti-German, full of derogatory language. I assume it is kind of a competition with nazi rhetoric. “Oh, it’s German, it must be bad…”! You are worse than the nazi pack because you should have learned from that history, or do you think your discriminatory and hatred talk is justified by the barbaric history of the holocaust? Are you contributing to an understanding between different peoples and peace with your talk? You are descriminating and talk derogatory about humans which have not been born or had any influence on past history, and because you are Jewish, you have some special rights to be nasty to other people?


I hear you.
The feeling is that the locals helped the Nazis and that the anti-Semitism runs deep. Today’s American attitude is that we should allow people to redeem themselves, and that probably has merit. But the Jews have centuries of persecution to hold them back from trusting the children brought up by evil parents.


We don’t feel that we have special rights to be nasty to other people, but we do have the right to hate the animals who killed so many of our ancestors. We have the right to never want to support them or their families with our money. We have the right to publicly say that the nation that has persecuted us for so many centuries will continue to try and do so, and we have the right to call them out on it when they show up at an airport, fingers on the triggers, as they try and relive the glory days of the Third Reich. They may not be sporting a swastika armband, but make no mistake about it, they are still Nazis.
For you to call the victims of their disgusting, murderous, evil, framers of the Final Solution and all of their willing civilian accomplices from Germany, Poland, and the Ukraine, “worse than the nazi pack,” shows more about who you are than anything else.


Your language is antisemitic, and Jewish people have some special rights to give you due treatment. As well as your kids, born now or not, should they continue your legacy.


Someone who makes an anti-German discussion post on Dan’s Deals is “worse than the Nazi pack”? Most of my family was murdered by “the Nazi pack”. You need a break from social media, man.


I also saw in the last couple of days that the Chairman of the Conference of Major Jewish Organizations met with the CEO of Lufthansa to talk about what steps Lufthansa will take to correct it, I hope it turns into something positive.


In most of Europe today, Anti-semitism is rife starting from the highest echelons of govt and filtering down thru the media to the masses. But in Germany, these expressions of hate are actually criminal and there are fines and prison sentences levied against perpetrators of hate. today a penitent Germany is a close ally of Israel and their leaders are very cautious not to appear antisemitic. The Jew in Golus is not going to change the sentiment of the Esav in various garb. But the nasty comments made about Lufthansa and Germany will deepen the hatred. I personally am happy to see that an apology and amends have been offered for an egregious show of intolerance by a few small minded individuals.. I appeal to you now -accept them graciously.


In response to Peter Lehman:
Your point is well made but not correct. Please understand that many people that respond to social media posts are looking for inflammatory posts and perhaps wish to get their point across at all costs (perhaps I am guilty of the same). However, while many, or even most, Jewish people are (understandably) “gun shy” when it comes to Germany or German nationals, they nevertheless will give every individual the benefit of the doubt and treat them all with proper respect until proven otherwise. It is part of our teaching and upbringing to treat everyone with respect and I would never want to do anything else!!
As an interesting aside that emphasizes my point, my grandfather was a Jewish American soldier who fought in Germany towards the end of WW2. At one point he was placed in charge (by default – he spoke Yiddish and could communicate well with the Germans) of a POW camp full of German soldiers. One day his fellow soldiers approached him and told him that they found several SS soldiers among the prisoners. At this point some of the atrocities committed by the SS were well known. They asked my Grandfather if he wanted to give them any “special treatment” (i.e.- beat them up). My Grandfather responded with a line that I will never forget. “If I have ever or will ever see any individual hurt a Jew, I would rip them apart with my bare hands, but if I hurt a person only based on what someone else tells me they did, then I am doing the same thing that they did and I will never lower myself to their level!”


Wow. Your grandfather’s story is truly powerful.

Marc Runkel

They discriminated against people wearing similar clothing because they didn’t know who was misbehaving and it was a large portion of a group with similar clothing.

Taking any comments literally made by people speaking a foreign language that they aren’t fluent in is disingenuous at best.

Lufthansa is now following the PR playbook, making corporate apologies, meeting with “community leaders” (with accompanying payoffs, I mean “donations”), racists of all types will flood the message boards, and blogs like this will happily take the ad based revenue.

Meanwhile the planet continues to turn. Believe what you like, but racism is not rampant throughout Europe.


Racism is rampant in Europe, and anyone who claims otherwise is burying their head in the sand and turning a blind eye to it. The rampant racism in Europe is primarily now directed against “Muslims and brown people”, “black people” and still the “gypsies” — and those “non-white” folks are the primary targets of racist acts and attitudes in Europe. But there is also still anti-semitism. But now the violent anti-semitism in Europe is unfortunately from sociopathic and criminals who are often of minority origins themselves or buddies with such. In other words, it’s not just the far-right “white” ethno-nationalists who have it out for Jews when it comes to violent anti-Semitic attacks, even as they still do. When it comes to anti-Semitic attitudes and other rampant racism in Europe, it’s engaged in by a mix of characters who can’t appreciate and accept the joint humanity of all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, national origin, etc and are on the loose across Europe with their racist attitudes and actions.

I frequently see all this racism in action in even perceived “liberal”, high-income countries in Europe. And the racism continues to be nasty and rampant at all levels of society, just in different ways from and toward different ethnic and religious minority groups.

# Never Fly Lufthansa

Nope, I would still never fly Lufthansa.


I think it’s important to hold judgement until their investigation is concluded. That’s when we’ll see if they are serious about the matter or not. If Lufthansa is able to use this as an actual learning experience and make legitimate changes then I would definitely fly with them in the future. If not then I’ll just choose another airline. Luckily we have several good choices when it comes to European airlines.


“and we stand firm in our opposition to racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism in any form.” Anti-semitism is always last and in the broader context of racism, etc. Why does the anti-semitsm need to be ofucsated and watered down?


Even before this deplorable incident, Lufthansa always had lackluster service across multiple cabins. I’ll continue to avoid flying with them.


Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t notice any regret for the humiliation, extreme inconvenience, and disappointment suffered by those turned away. Refunding money can’t make up for that.

I never flew Lufthansa and certainly not won’t after this awful episode.


What about the police who enforced the whole thing and didn’t question it?

Alexander J

There is more to the story.

Not all that is spoken about it public is true.

There are some details that are not shared

Those that know, know.


No, I would not fly Lufthansa – they had to shamed into this response, so is it heartfelt? No!


“There is an ongoing investigation launched by Lufthansa to fully understand the facts and circumstances that led to the events that took place on May 4.”

So what was the conclusion of the investigation?