Lufthansa arbitrary cancellation of my ticket and misinformation

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Jun 18, 2019
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#1
In April I unfortunately had a passport issue that meant I could not board a flight from Milan to Newark. Obviously that meant I had forfeited my ticket for the outbound flight. There were not representatives at Malpensa to advise me on my options, so I had to phone Germany. They informed me that they had cancelled my entire ticket and they were refunding me. On the basis of that assurance I purchased a new round trip ticket. I was horrified to learn later that the refund was only for airport tax (under €100 for me and my husband).

I feel they had no right to cancel my return ticket and that, having bought a new outbound ticket, I should have been able to return on my old ticket and reservation number. I am therefore claiming the amount I paid for the return tickets. I lodged this complaint with Customer Services Feedback and have received several very courteously worded replies that do not address my issues. When I pointed this out, I was told to speak with the Reservations Team (the same telephone number as general enquiries). They told me to go to Customer Services Feedback! A further letter addressed to the CEO received the same rote reply not addressing my issues.

Where do I go now?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#2
In April I unfortunately had a passport issue that meant I could not board a flight from Milan to Newark. Obviously that meant I had forfeited my ticket for the outbound flight. There were not representatives at Malpensa to advise me on my options, so I had to phone Germany. They informed me that they had cancelled my entire ticket and they were refunding me. On the basis of that assurance I purchased a new round trip ticket. I was horrified to learn later that the refund was only for airport tax (under €100 for me and my husband).

I feel they had no right to cancel my return ticket and that, having bought a new outbound ticket, I should have been able to return on my old ticket and reservation number. I am therefore claiming the amount I paid for the return tickets. I lodged this complaint with Customer Services Feedback and have received several very courteously worded replies that do not address my issues. When I pointed this out, I was told to speak with the Reservations Team (the same telephone number as general enquiries). They told me to go to Customer Services Feedback! A further letter addressed to the CEO received the same rote reply not addressing my issues.

Where do I go now?
Here are Lufthansa contacts: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/lufthansa-airlines/
You should email starting at the first customer service level and repeat weekly if no/negative response.

However, you need to be aware that ALL airlines cancel the return flight on a round trip ticket reservation if the outbound flight is not taken. You should expect that the response will not change from what you have been told already.

Unless you had a refundable reservation (which is MUCH more expensive than the standard non-refundable ticket), cancelation of the outbound flight will cancel the entire reservation and lead to a refund of taxes only. This is not a new policy; it has been in place for many years.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#3
This policy is in place at all airlines and it’s just not Lufthansa. Missing any leg of your Round Trip will cause all future legs to be automatically cancelled by the computer.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Unfortunately Lufthansa does have the right to cancel the return ticket. When one buys a ticket A to B and return to A if the A to B is not used the return B to A is cancelled. There are sections in the contract of carriage as to use of the tickets in sequence. This is in the contract of carriage for most major airlines and has been so for years.

And when a passenger cannot board a flight because of passport issues the airline is not under any obligation to extend a credit or refund unless the fare allows. If your fare does not allow a cancellation, then all that is returned is the taxes.

I doubt a refund will be given as a passport problem is not the fault of the airline. The best hope is asking or begging for a credit for the unused ticket.
Using terms like "arbitrarily cancelled" and "no right to cancel" will not help you.

On the basis of that assurance I purchased a new round trip ticket

If you thought that there was no right to cancel the return flight why did you buy a new roundtrip ticket?

If you have already gone to the CEO there is no one else to go to.
 
May 1, 2018
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#5
You issue is not being addressed because LH is complying with the terms and conditions you agreed to when you booked your ticket. You are asking for a deviation from the standard policies but you are insisting that they are wrong.

I feel they had no right to cancel my return ticket
See that's what I mean. They had every right to do that. They aren't going to help if you if fail to acknowledge that and instead. You would be better served by groveling and politely requesting airline credit in the amount of the return flight.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
As others have said, they absolutely do have the right to cancel your tickets. You contracted with them for a round trip ticket price. WHen you missed the first flight, you broke the contracted price of the ticket. That's why they canceled your return and every other airline does the same thing.
 
Jun 18, 2019
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#7
Here are Lufthansa contacts: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/lufthansa-airlines/
You should email starting at the first customer service level and repeat weekly if no/negative response.

However, you need to be aware that ALL airlines cancel the return flight on a round trip ticket reservation if the outbound flight is not taken. You should expect that the response will not change from what you have been told already.

Unless you had a refundable reservation (which is MUCH more expensive than the standard non-refundable ticket), cancelation of the outbound flight will cancel the entire reservation and lead to a refund of taxes only. This is not a new policy; it has been in place for many years.
Is it correct that they only reimbursed the airport tax (under €50 x 2), not the €651.57 of taxes listed on my receipt form Lufthansa????
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#8
Is it correct that they only reimbursed the airport tax (under €50 x 2), not the €651.57 of taxes listed on my receipt form Lufthansa????
Your ticket was purchased in Europe, we can only tell you what items are refunded for tickets purchased in the US. It depends on the laws that govern your ticket and the exact itemization that makes up the taxes you are referring to. You have provided lump sum figures, it’s the details that count.
Sorry this happened to you :(
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#11
In a not amusing version of this rule, we had tickets LAX to San Juan with a change of planes at JFK, 14 days on a cruise, San Juan to JFK, 5 days in New York, and JFK to LAX. Our plane for the JFK to San Juan leg broke. Yep. Taxied out at JFK three times and three times the radio did not work. The pilot was very fussy about having a working radio. Apparently just following the I=95 does not work. ) Eventually, AA brought out another plane. Unbeknownst to us, AA cancelled the original flight number to San Juan when it took the plane out of service, and our replacement flight was on an unknown flight number. (We used our original boarding passes. We all hung around the gate as instructed. Why AA changed the flight number was a mystery, including to AA. And, incidentally, AA's first [proposed resolution for us was that we fly JFK to LAX to catch a non-stop to San Juan.) When we were leaving San Juan two weeks later, I checked the reservation from the ship, to find out our later flights had been cancelled. I called AA (ship to shore), and eventually was routed to a CSR who was assigned to handle problems from the original cancelled flight. She bemoaned the change in flight number, but said she could do nothing. She said about half the folks on our JFK to San Juan leg had flights cancelled, including some that same day out of San Juan. I noted that we had a confirmed reservation and had done nothing to cancel our JFK to San Juan leg, and had used the original boarding passes. And no e-mails or phone calls had come from AA. Our return flight from San Juan was now sold out. I noted that this was now a bumping situation, and asked where AA would put us up, when the next flight with seats was scheduled, and how to get bumping compensation. Eventually, AA must have had a cancellation, because we were reconfirmed. AA paid the ship-to-shore phone charges; after we left the ship there were several calls in Puerto Rico.) But yes, cancellation of one leg cancels everything after it. You would at least expect an airline to know this. The CSR told us that even if AA had told us of the cancellation and change in flight numbers it was liable to cancel all flights downstream.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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#12
Reading over and over about return flights cancelled after outbound flights are missed, does it make more sense to have two one way tickets ? Just a question for my future planning. It doesn't seem there are many RT fares anymore, but maybe I don't fly often enough to see those.
 
May 30, 2019
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#13
Reading over and over about return flights cancelled after outbound flights are missed, does it make more sense to have two one way tickets ? Just a question for my future planning. It doesn't seem there are many RT fares anymore, but maybe I don't fly often enough to see those.
For Domestic flights -- generally yes. For International flights -- generally no. The specific answer varies based on airline and itinerary, however for me I found that domestic U.S. airfares cost the same whether booking 2 one-way flights or 1 RT flight. So, my current practice is to book only 1 segment at a time whenever practical. At the same time, flights from the U.S. to Europe cost 50% - 150% more when booking one-way vs RT.
 
Likes: Lilyb

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#15
Along with what Christina H said, if the airline significantly delays or cancels the outbound and you decide to cancel the trip (not go), the airline will normally refund the complete ticket. If they are booked as two separate tickets, then the return portion would not be refunded.
 
Likes: Neil Maley