Proving our delayed Lufthansa flight (LH1163) was their fault?
Short version: we were told via the flight crew announcement
that the 3+ hour delay was due to insufficient staff. I logged a flight delay
claim but Lufthansa customer services are telling me it was due to ‘adverse
weather’ and twice rejected my claim.
Longer version: My family and I were returning from Portugal on Tuesday last week (15th Aug), our flights with Lufthansa were LH1163 - Faro (FAO) to Frankfurt (FRA) and a connecting flight LH922 from Frankfurt (FRA) to London (LHR).
I saw on the boarding information screens that the LH1163 FAO-FRA flight would be 25 minutes late for take-off, this was not a big problem as we had a 2 hour stop in FRA.
Shortly after, the boarding information was updated to show a 3 hour delay for take-off. This meant we would definitely miss our connecting flight. No other flights were delayed so it was not a local airport issue, nor was it adverse weather issues in Faro.
I contacted Lufthansa via their app/website online chat – the multiple advisors I dealt with were less than helpful, the connection kept dropping out (using 4G data and airport wifi) and I was given incorrect information multiple times. This part of the events doesn’t really matter for this post, but the experience was rubbish.
A couple of hours later (still at FAO airport departures) I received an automated email from Lufthansa confirming that we would miss our connecting flight, and provided options for overnight hotel accommodation (there were no other flights available the same day) and to rebook our flights for the next morning. I made the selections and was relieved that we could get on the 3 hour delayed flight to FRA knowing that we had things under control.
When boarding the FAO-FRA flight, the flight crew were making the pre-flight announcements and said that the flight delay was due to insufficient staff to run the flight on time. This was within Lufthansa’s control/responsibility, so I knew that I would be able to claim for the delay once I got home.
Our original FAO – FRA – LHR flight should have left FAO at 15.30, but it left at 18.34.
We should have arrived at LHR at 22.10 (same day), but we arrived the next morning (Wed 16th) at 07.45.
On our return, I put in a claim and received a response by email within a couple of hours, which stated:
Unfortunately, an orderly flight execution was not possible against this background and the flight cancellation was clearly beyond our control. Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 does not provide for compensation payments in this case, and we cannot meet your request for compensation for these reasons.“
This was incorrect, so I replied and stated again that the reason for the delay being insufficient staff. They responded again with the ‘adverse weather’ rejection.
I have checked the local weather at the time in Faro and
Frankfurt (and Tel Aviv, which is where the aircraft was coming from). There
was no weather issues - so why do they keep stating this is the reason my compensation cannot be accepted?
How can I prove what the pre-flight announcement was? If I have to escalate, will they be forthcoming with the reason we were told, and to accept responsibility?
(follow-up question – is this typical where Lufthansa/any other airlines bluff and reject claims hoping that you ‘go away’?)
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