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How We Won EC261 Flight Compensation with Lufthansa

Flight compensation claim rejected? Here's what to do

Airlines are notorious for scrutinizing compensation claims in the face of flight delay regulations like the EU Regulation 261/2004. Among them, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, often simply referred to as Lufthansa, has built a reputation for being particularly resistant to reimbursing passengers for flight disruptions.

With a recent series of strikes by Lufthansa staff in February and March 2024, thousands of passengers have experienced delays. In some cases, 90% of flights were grounded, forcing passengers to make alternate travel arrangements. Fortunately, passengers are covered under EU regulation 261/2004 – but Lufthansa can be notoriously difficult to get compensation from.

Whether it's a lengthy delay causing you to miss a connecting flight or a last-minute cancellation, navigating your claim with Lufthansa can be frustrating. Click2Refund is dedicated to empowering air passengers to help them understand their rights and win the compensation owed to them – and we’ve successfully won many claims against Lufthansa in court.

A brief overview of your rights

Air travelers have rights when their flights are delayed or canceled – thanks to a European Union law called EU 261/2004. This regulation requires airlines to compensate passengers for delays of 3 or more hours at their final destination. The compensation amounts are set based on the flight distance, ranging from €250 to €600 per passenger.

Additionally, airlines must compensate passengers for flights cancelled or altered within two weeks of the departure date at rates that vary depending on flight distance. You can also claim expenses for meals, hotel fees, and other expenses incurred by flight delays and cancellations.

If you were affected by the recent Lufthansa strike, it’s not too late to claim compensation. In fact, you can claim compensation for up to 3 years in Germany, but it’s best to file your claim sooner than later.

However, airlines often resist paying out these claims, requiring passengers to fight for their rightful compensation. That's where companies like Click2Refund come in. We specialize in helping passengers receive the money they are owed from airlines like Lufthansa for disruptive flight problems.

Below, we’ll walk you through a few court cases where we successfully secured compensation for passengers flying with Lufthansa, and what the rulings might mean for your next compensation claim.

Case Studies: Click2Refund Secures Compensation for Passengers

Case 1: Passenger delayed over 3 hours (and awarded €400)

Click2Refund's client, Mr. Svensson*, was flying from Gothenburg, Sweden to Porto, Portugal with a connection in Frankfurt on November 28, 2023. His Lufthansa flight from Gothenburg to Frankfurt (LH 821) was delayed, causing him to arrive over 3 hours late to his final destination of Porto.

When an airline causes a delay of 3+ hours for a flight itinerary between 1,500-3,500 km, EU261 mandates €400 in compensation per passenger. Despite this clear-cut case, Lufthansa did not respond to Click2Refund's requests for the €400 owed to Mr. Svensson*. Click2Refund filed a claim in court, and Lufthansa ultimately did not contest the matter, agreeing to pay the €400 compensation along with legal fees.

The takeaway? EU 261 claims can often be resolved simply through legal representation, without the need for extended court proceedings.

That means passengers need to persist and seek professional assistance when airlines deny valid delay compensation claims. With the law on their side, represented passengers have a strong chance of receiving their Lufthansa flight delay or missed connection compensation.

Case 2: Compensation for a cancelled flight (plus additional expenses)

Another case involved a Click2Refund client who had his flight from Stockholm to Geneva canceled on December 8, 2022. For canceled flights, EU261 mandates compensation of €400 for flights between 1,500-3,500 km.

Not only did Lufthansa fail to pay this €400 compensation, but they also failed to provide the passenger with meals and accommodation as required for a canceled flight delay lasting overnight. The passenger had to pay out of pocket for a hotel for the night and meals, totaling 4,300 Swedish Krona.

Again, Lufthansa did not contest Click2Refund's claim, and the court ordered them to pay the €400 compensation as well as reimburse the 4,300 SEK in expenses that the passenger incurred due to their failure to provide mandated assistance.

This case underscores the importance of understanding your rights when it comes to meals and hotels during extended flight delays. It’s a good idea to document all your expenses so you can seek reimbursement later.

Case 3: Passenger delayed over 3 hours (Awarded €250)

In another case, a Click2Refund client was flying from Basel to Gothenburg with a connection in Frankfurt on January 4, 2024. The first flight from Basel to Frankfurt (LH 1205) was delayed, leading to over a 3-hour delay reaching the final destination of Gothenburg.

For flights of under 1,500 km, EU 261 mandates compensation of €250 per passenger for delays over 3 hours. Once again, Lufthansa did not respond to Click2Refund's requests, leaving no choice but legal action.

Lufthansa did not contest this claim either, and the court ordered them to pay the €250 compensation to the passenger, in addition to legal fees. This further illustrates that airlines often need to be taken to court to honor passenger rights they are legally obligated to provide.

Why airlines like Lufthansa don’t pay compensation right away

The common thread in all these cases is that Lufthansa waited until the passenger had legal representation instead of paying compensation right away. In spite of the fact that airlines must legally compensate passengers, they often won’t pay out unless passengers are persistent and fight for their rights.

According to Selman Akinci, who is a lawyer and co-founder of Click2Refund, many passengers either don’t know their rights or find the process of claiming compensation too much of a hassle. Airlines often count on this to avoid paying out the fees that passengers are legally entitled to – but you can make sure you get the compensation you’re owed.

The first step is understanding your rights.

Understanding EU passenger compensation (EU 261/2004) – a deeper dive

The European Regulation (EU 261/2004) clearly defines passenger rights in instances of flight cancellations, delays exceeding three hours, and denied boarding. Here's a breakdown of the key points:

Who is eligible?

Passengers departing from an EU airport or arriving in the EU on an EU-based airline with a confirmed reservation and timely check-in (generally no later than 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time) are eligible to claim compensation. It is also applicable for non-EU airlines departing from an EU airport.

You also need to hold a valid ticket for the disrupted flight segment and need to have met the check-in requirements for safety and security.

Compensation amounts

The regulation outlines specific compensation amounts based on flight distances, as highlighted in the previous cases:

€250 for flights up to 1500 kilometers.

€400 for intra-EU flights exceeding 1500 kilometers and other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers.

€600 for flights exceeding 3500 kilometers that are not covered in the previous categories.

Airlines also have to compensate passengers for expenses incurred due to a cancellation or delay – or provide meals, accommodation, and transportation as necessary.

Beyond compensation: Additional passenger rights

Apart from financial compensation, passengers facing flight disruptions are also entitled to the following under EU 261/2004:

Meals and refreshments: Airlines must provide passengers with meals and refreshments during waiting periods caused by cancellations or delays longer than two hours.

Means of communication: Passengers are entitled to two free phone calls, faxes, or emails to allow them to communicate with loved ones or make alternative travel arrangements.

Accommodation and transportation: If you have to book a hotel overnight due to a flight disruption, the airline must accommodate and cover the cost of transportation to and from your hotel and your hotel stay.

Re-routing or reimbursement options: You can also request to have your ticket refunded, get a return flight, or re-route to your final destination in some cases.

That’s why it’s a good idea to save your receipts whenever there’s a flight delay. However, there are some exceptions that exempt airlines from the obligation to compensate passengers or provide them with meals and lodging.

Exceptions: Extraordinary circumstances

It's important to note that airlines aren’t obligated to pay compensation if the disruption was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as:

  • Severe weather conditions like thunderstorms, volcanic ash, or fog would make the flight unsafe.
  • Security risks or threats, such as a bomb threat.
  • Air traffic control restrictions that disrupt the normal flow of air traffic.
  • Passengers that arrive late or don’t have the proper travel documents.

In spite of this, it’s worth noting that the burden of proof for extraordinary circumstances lies with the airline. In our case studies above, Lufthansa likely didn’t contest the delay in court because there were no extraordinary circumstances surrounding the flight delay.

In some cases, airlines will attempt to avoid paying out passenger compensation by claiming extraordinary circumstances caused the delay – when really it was the airline’s fault. That’s why it’s important to get legal assistance from an expert in flight compensation that fully understands passenger rights.

The claim process: How Click2Refund can help

While understanding your rights is crucial, navigating the claim process to secure compensation from airlines can be daunting. Click2Refund simplifies this process for you by handling all the legwork:

Claim Assessment: Click2Refund's team of experts will assess your situation in minutes and determine if you have a valid claim for compensation under EU 261/2004. We'll analyze your flight details, the nature of the disruption, and any relevant documents you provide.

Communication with Airlines: Click2Refund handles all communication with the airline on your behalf, saving you time and frustration. We’ll present your claim and negotiate for the compensation you are entitled to.

Legal representation (if necessary): In some cases, airlines may contest your claim. Click2Refund has a team of legal professionals who can represent you in court and ensure your rights are upheld.

No win, no fee: Click2Refund operates on a no-win, no-fee basis and without any advance payment. This means you only pay a fee if we successfully secure compensation for you.

Tips for claiming EU flight compensation

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the claim process:

Gather evidence: Keep all your travel documents, including your boarding pass, flight confirmation email, and any documentation related to the disruption (e.g., delay or cancellation notices).

Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with EC 261/2004 to understand the compensation you’re entitled to and whether or not there are exceptions.

Finally, be persistent. Don’t hesitate to contact experts like Click2Refund to get your claim heard. In many cases, airlines like Lufthansa will take claims more seriously when they come from a legal partner, since the airline knows that we understand passengers’ rights and have the resources to fight on their behalf.

Win your next claim against Lufthansa with Click2Refund

When Lufthansa flight delays and cancellations affect travel, they can create huge inconveniences for passengers. From missed business meetings to extra hotel costs, passengers often end up paying the price when airlines don’t meet their obligations.

When you know your rights, you can make sure you’re fairly compensated in the face of these obstacles – and put the onus on the airline to deliver their services as advertised.

Click2Refund is here to help you understand your rights and navigate the claim process effectively. Not sure where to start? You can enter your flight departure and destination point in our flight delay compensation calculator to see if you’re eligible for compensation. Whether your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or you’ve been denied boarding, we’re here to help.

Many airlines (including Lufthansa) are notorious for avoiding paying out passengers, making getting your claim an arduous process. But with Click2Refund, you can sit back and let us do the work. Don’t let airlines infringe upon your rights – be informed, be persistent, and get what you're entitled to under EU regulations.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding your situation, we recommend consulting with a legal professional.

*A generic name was chosen instead of the client's actual name to protect his personal rights or privacy

Written by: Click2Refund