Lufthansa changes policy without notice

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Sep 10, 2017
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In August of last year, I booked a trip on Lufthansa from San Francisco-Frankfurt for May of 2017. I am a senior citizen on a fixed income, and I had been saving for a long time to make a trip to Germany in which I would visit the villages of my ancestors and attend a reunion for my mother's side of the family. It was to be the trip of a lifetime.

Sadly, I experienced a family crisis and was unable to make the trip on the dates planned.

The agent I spoke to on March 27, 2017, put my ticket on hold and told me I had until August 27, 2017, to rebook the ticket and then a year from August 27 to travel. I’m told that this is documented in notes from that conversation. After that time, I spoke with three other agents. Twice (once in July and once early in August), I was again told that I needed to book the trip by August 27. On August 18, however, when I called with the details to book the trip, I was told that I would be unable to schedule the trip I wanted (3/30/2018 - 4/18/2018) because the rules had changed and I was now required to TRAVEL by August 27, just nine days from my call. I could not possibly do that.

When I expressed great dismay, the agent offered me a refund of $115 on a ticket worth over $2000. I was told by a supervisor to contact customer service, who would be able to either allow me to rebook or refund the ticket, and I did so by sending them emails on August 18th, August 25th, and September 7th. Other than an acknowledgement with a feedback file number, I've heard nothing from them.

I understand that company policies will inevitably change. But since no one informed me of the change, I'm facing the loss of over $2000, in addition to the great disappointment of not making the trip. Any advice or help will be greatly appreciated.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,488
New York
www.promalvacations.com
You need travel insurance for a refund. Did you buy it or does your credit card have any coverage?

No airline promises a refund for illness unless you buy a refundable ticket. That's why they sell insurance and that's what would have refunded you in full.

It's not a change in policy- the policy has always been that you can rebook and travel within one year of the date you bought your tickets. Unfortunately these agents will tell you anything to get you off their backs about rules but this is not a change- it's always been that way. They are covering their butts.

If they have proof they have the original conversation with wrong info documented,we have contacts for Lufthansa on our top pages. Start at Customer Service and write what you have told us - facts only- and the names of who you spoke to. Give them a week to reply. If they don't or say no- write to the first executive shown. Repeat weekly up the executive chain of necessary.

If they have you wrong info, they should help you out.
 
Sep 10, 2017
4
2
70
I did have insurance but there was no illness. The insurance covered illness or death in the family.

The supervisor told me that there is documentation in the file of what the first agent told me, and the second agent told me exactly the same thing. What would be the point of them telling me the wrong thing when I was just trying to confirm what the policy was? And the supervisor and the agent both told me clearly that the policy had changed, the third time I called.

I've already written to them three times -- I have a file number, but I am not hearing back from them. I'll take your advice and start writing to individuals.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,488
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I did have insurance but there was no illness. The insurance covered illness or death in the family.

The supervisor told me that there is documentation in the file of what the first agent told me, and the second agent told me exactly the same thing. What would be the point of them telling me the wrong thing when I was just trying to confirm what the policy was? And the supervisor and the agent both told me clearly that the policy had changed, the third time I called.

I've already written to them three times -- I have a file number, but I am not hearing back from them. I'll take your advice and start writing to individuals.
Then start at the Executives. For as long as so have been selling travel (16 years) this has been policy with almost every airline.

When you write, use that in your letter. I hope they will do something for you but Lufthansa is a tough airline to deal with.

Let us know what happens- if you go all the way to the CEO and nothing happens, let us know because we can send you for more help if that happens
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,514
San Francisco
I am so sorry that you're denied this long-awaited trip. Basically, you want to ask Lufthansa to extend your credit for another year. Keep your letter very concise, blaming nobody but stating that you understood, after speaking with two agents, that you had until August 2018 to rebook.

Airlines hear stories from people all day long, so don't mention senior citizen, fixed income, etc, it devalues your request. Nobody, under any circumstances, wants to lose $2K.

Be sure to mention that you started this quest BEFORE the end of the first year, otherwise they'll just discard your letter. Your job is to get the person reading it to want to help you. Since you already know your dates for the trip next March, there's a possibility that Lufthansa will grant your request for an extension. We see miracles here often ... good luck!
 
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Sep 10, 2017
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70
I thought I'd post a follow-up. After I heard from the experts here, I was very disheartened -- clearly, I had written my request wrong, I had a very thin case, etc. etc. I kept thinking about resubmitting my request to a higher authority, in a more appropriate manner, but in the end, I never did. I gave up. Then yesterday, after three months of complete silence, I got a message from Lufthansa: They're giving me a refund. Not a rebooking opportunity, but a refund! Now the only problem is that the credit card they want to refund it to no longer exists -- I was the victim of fraud and had to close that account and open a new one. I let them know about that issue, so we'll see what they say. Any ideas on solving that problem? o_O It makes a nice Thanksgiving to think that at some point, the money will return to me.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
2,098
4,342
@ewormuth most times banks will allow a credit to post to a closed account so you will receive the benefit. Maybe your new account is linked? Glad your story has a happy ending!
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,488
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I am very glad it worked for you. That’s why we have our Company Contacts - sometimes we think the story might be a no all the way down the line and you get the right person who reads your letter and helps.

I always say it never hurts to write.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,514
San Francisco
I thought I'd post a follow-up. After I heard from the experts here, I was very disheartened -- clearly, I had written my request wrong, I had a very thin case, etc. etc. I kept thinking about resubmitting my request to a higher authority, in a more appropriate manner, but in the end, I never did. I gave up. Then yesterday, after three months of complete silence, I got a message from Lufthansa: They're giving me a refund. Not a rebooking opportunity, but a refund! Now the only problem is that the credit card they want to refund it to no longer exists -- I was the victim of fraud and had to close that account and open a new one. I let them know about that issue, so we'll see what they say. Any ideas on solving that problem? o_O It makes a nice Thanksgiving to think that at some point, the money will return to me.
Happy to hear that your situation was (sort of) resolved. If you contact your CC issuer, you can probably arrange to have the refund applied to that account. This kind of thing happens quite often. It will just take scrutiny and diligence on your part to be sure it happens.
 
Jan 25, 2016
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I think it depends on the bank, have heard it go both ways, either flows right through to the new account, or gets rejected because the account is closed. Definitely contact the CC issuer to find out, and ask them how it should be handled (and document). Most have secure e-mail on their websites so you can get an audit trail.