- 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
- Part 5, originally published on 5/24: Here Is The Apology Letter That Lufthansa’s CEO Is Sending Passengers That Were Denied Boarding To Budapest; Is The 4th Time The Charm?
- Part 6, background covered in Ami Magazine’s 5/25 issue.
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.
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?