The Strategist

Lufthansa sues its passenger, accuses him of cheating

02/14/2019 - 11:32

One of the largest airlines in the world, Lufthansa, demands monetary compensation from a passenger who in April 2016 used a common method to reduce the cost of air travel without flying to the end of the connecting route, but remained in the transfer city. The airline insists that this practice is a violation of the contract of carriage, and demands a compensation of € 2,112.

The way to save on air travel with the help of connecting flights is very common, and it is widely advertised by numerous websites. The passenger is advised to buy not a direct ticket to the destination, since it will be more expensive, but a ticket to any other point, but with a transfer in the desired city. You just need to get off at the transfer point and not fly to the end, so the flight will be cheaper. 

The passenger took advantage of the trick. He bought a ticket for a Lufthansa flight from Oslo to Seattle in April 2016 and back with a transfer in Frankfurt. On the way back, not reaching Oslo, he went to Frankfurt, then took another flight of Lufthansa and flew to Berlin. The total amount of his expenses was € 657.

The airline accuses the passenger that he intentionally bought a ticket with a transfer, knowing that he would not use the last stage of the flight.

According to Lufthansa, this method is a direct violation of the contract of carriage, which is concluded with each passenger when buying tickets. If this passenger had bought a direct ticket to Frankfurt, he would have paid a total of € 2,769. Therefore, in its lawsuit, the airline requires the passenger to compensate for the difference between the cost of tickets plus interest, which is € 2,112.

The Berlin Court of First Instance, which considered Lufthansa’s claims in December 2018, ruled in favor of the passenger.

But the airline filed an appeal, and now the case will be considered in another court, which has not yet been called. Transportation rules for most airlines stipulate penalties for using such a tactic to reduce the cost of air travel. But until now, not a single airline has been able to obtain compensation from the passengers who violated this rule as the court always took the side of the client.