If you’ve taken a Lufthansa flight and suffered a delay of 3 hours or more that was the airline’s fault, you might be able to make a flight delay compensation claim. You typically have two choices when it comes to initiating a claim against an airline for a delay:
- Go it alone and do the claim yourself
- Seek out the services of a claims management company (who could take as much as 20 -30% of your compensation in fees)
I’ve done this alone myself and here’s how it went for me:
My Own Lufthansa Delay Experience
I personally flew Lufthansa from Manchester to Tallinn in July 2016. The flight was via Frankfurt. The outgoing flight was great, but the return flight was when we encountered some problems. In a nutshell:
- The flight from Tallinn to Frankfurt was delayed by just over an hour
- The on going flight from Frankfurt to Manchester was on time
- Both flights were operated by Lufthansa
- Because of the flight delay from Tallinn, I missed my connection in Frankfurt. As a result, I had to take a flight over 4 hours later
- Therefore, I arrived at my final destination airport over 4 hours late
So the complexity here, I thought, would be the fact that neither flight on my return leg was actually delayed by 3 hours or more. But because of the short delay from Tallinn, I missed a connection and was ultimately over 4 hours late.
That’s the bit that matters!
Here’s what happened:
6th July 2016: Within a couple of hours of my flight, I emailed Lufthansa customer services and I specified the flight details, the time and date and the fact I was intending to claim compensation under the EU (EC) 261/2004 regulations.
12th July: I received an email from Lufthansa asking me for some more information. This was the first bit of the form they wanted me to fill in. Other details were bank detail requests, which I thought was promising):
20th July 2016: I received the following response from Lufthansa confirming my compensation. Below I share the email and I’ve highlighted the key parts:
Thank you for your feedback dated 06 July 2016 and for providing us with the opportunity to reply to your correspondence.
We truly regret that you were inconvenienced as a result of a delay of flight [redacted] from Tallinn to Frankfurt on your journey to Manchester to 06 July 2016. We understand your frustration with this occurrence, as we are aware of how stressful every change to your journey can be. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused you.
Even with all of the effort we make to always maintain the flight schedule and avoid waiting times: We unfortunately cannot fully rule out occasional delays at the airport. Congestion in airspace or restrictions by the authorities may lead to delays from time to time and can affect subsequent flights in the aircraft’s rotation. Unfortunately, this was the case regarding your flight.
The aircraft arriving from Tallinn was not able to depart on time due to a slot delay which was caused by Lufthansa; therefore it arrived late in Frankfurt by over an hour, delaying your departure as well. As such, we are liable to offer compensation of EUR400 or GBP335 as per our conversion on this date. We will send this sum to you today along with the sum of GBP50 for a total of GBP385 so please allow some time for it to arrive as processed by our accounting department.
We would also like to apologise for the lack of care and assistance provided to you in Frankfurt airport. We will forward your comments to the relevant department for the improvement of service going forward. We hope you can appreciate that such service is not indicative of our product as a whole.
Thank you once again for your patience and understanding. We hope that this message and decision will prove satisfactory to yourself and allow you to fly with Lufthansa in the future once again.
So for me, it was pretty simple. The compensation arrived in my bank account within a week. Within 3 weeks of my flight, all was sorted.
Pursuing a Claim Yourself
It’s not always that straightforward, of course. But my personal experience was that Lufthansa were forthcoming in addressing flight delay compensation claims of this nature. Anecdotally, online, you’ll read different experiences but of course every flight is different.
I’m not a legal expert of course. This advice is based on my own experience. But if you experienced a Lufthansa flight delay of 3 hours or more that you believe was their fault, I would recommend:
- Write to Lufthansa Customer Relations providing the flight information, people in your party, your intention to claim compensation under EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004 etc
- Await the response and, if asked for additional information, provide it quickly
If you are not successful, then you can always follow the process outlined here, disputing the decision with the airline and/or the Civil Aviation Authority. Ultimately, you may choose to pursue a court claim or take on the assistance of a claims management company. It will, of course, depend very much on your own personal experience and the circumstances of your delay.
If in doubt, get professional advice.