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Cancellation of first sector

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  • Aston100

    Hello.
    Flying BHX > MUC > BKK (return) next month.
    Lufthansa (booked through Swiss).
    First sector cancelled. Been offered an earlier flight which results in close to 9 hours sitting at MUC.
    I cannot fly earlier than late afternoon as I would otherwise need to try and take an additional days annual leave (might not get approved).
    The only suitable alternatives are with other airlines such as Turkish, Emirates and KLM.

    Spoke to Lufty group but they are allegedly unable to use the other airlines mentioned.
    They briefly considered the overnight Thai flight out of LHR, but then said they can’t due to something about Thai rules preventing others from grabbing the last remaining seats or something. Besides, they expect me to pay for my own travel to LHR (actually not too bad, and the Thai flight is non-stop and probably better than Lufthansa).

    So my question is, is there anything I can do to get Lufthansa to allow travel from BHX on one of the other airlines? KLM and TK flight times are very similar to the entire BHX > BKK journey with LH.
    Or, are LH off the hook because they offered a reroute (despite a 9 hour connection in Munich, and despite the chance I can’t get annual leave)?

    Note in case this is relevant: this trip was originally with Swiss and was cancelled a few months ago when they stopped the overnight ZRH > BKK flights. The current itinerary is a (somewhat inferior) reroute.

    Thanks.

    NorthernLass

    Aren’t Lufty quite well-known for trying to wriggle out of things like re-routing obligations? From what you’ve said (the annual leave issue) I think you’re well within your rights to request same day re-routing on any airline but obviously the situation is complicated even more by the travel date being quite close and having to negotiate via Swiss. Hopefully Lady London and meta will be along shortly with some suggestions!

    NorthernLass

    It’s just popped up on my news feed that LH has cancelled hundreds of short-haul flights next month so it’ll be interesting to see what (if any policy) they are following for these.

    meta

    Are you flying business? The reasons is that they would be on a hook for duty of care for nine hours in Munich if flying economy.

    Under EC261 they need to get you to your destination at the earliest opportunity and that means after your original departure date and time, not before.

    They’ll also be on the hook for transport to LHR in case you choose Thai flight all under duty of care. If they are unwilling or denying you that right. Book it yourself and then claim it via MCOL arguing under Article 15 you are seeking further compensation because the airline failed to inform you or denied you.

    You can also insist on flying at approximately the same time on another airline and if the re-route is unreasonable then that’s fine. I did it with BA for my cancelled Porto flights (had to issue MCOL before they caved in) and also most recently with Croatia Airlines. They put me on a flight that left 4 hours earlier than my original flight making my day trip useless so I insisted on the flight the following morning and they promptly rebooked and paid duty of care (hotel plus meals) which was a total surprise as I was gearing up for pushback.

    However, in practice it is difficult to enforce as airlines are not willing to re-book you, so you’ll have to book it yourself and claim it back from them post-flight. If you choose to do that, just inform them in writing that re-route they are offering is unreasonable due to XYZ and that you’ll be claiming XYZ amount for the difference in cost.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    AJA

    My understanding is that you are the one who can choose what you want to do despite LH offering a reroute leaving much earlier. You may have to go to court to assert your rights and that may mean doing so in Germany where LH are based despite the fact that they operate from the UK. You may wish to look for alternatives and phone LH back explaining you can’t do the earlier connection. Have you considered a flight from LHR or other UK airports to MUC to connect with the long haul.

    Remember if you do accept the route as proposes that may be your one change allowed so don’t be too hasty. Also remember that the airline is on the hook for duty of care so should provide food and drink for the time you are left waiting. Is this a business class fare in which case lounge access would be in addition to the food and drink vouchers you should receive.

    Aston100

    Thanks guys.
    Yes, flying in business on all four sectors.
    I (twice) gave Lufthansa a series of alternative flights from BHX and from LHR, including Star Alliance partners.
    Both agents rejected every flight I suggested.
    I tried to be reasonable and accepted that I might even have to get myself to a different airport.
    As I say, the only flight they even gave any consideration to was TG917 LHR > BKK, but then yesterday came out with the commentary about not being able to book the last remaining seats. Todays agent tell me that there are actually no business class seats left on that flight (I just checked again at time of writing this and can still book 2 seats via the Thai website).
    Similarly, today’s agent tells me there is no availability via EVA (BR68) LHR > BKK, yet right now I can purchase 3 of these through EVA themselves.

    Todays agent told me she has not heard of eu261 and kept asking if this was a flight number… no managers available and the only option she would entertain is a refund (prices are now 3* more than I paid so no thanks) or the 9 hour connection in MUC.

    I have sent an email to [email protected] with a list of flights from BHX and LHR that are at a reasonable departure time and don’t have excessive connection times. I have also cited Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 261/2004.

    So thanks for confirming that I am within my rights to request a reroute through KLM or Turkish from BHX.
    I am very uncomfortable with the thought of needing to buy new tickets and go to MCOL.
    The KLM flight is over £4600 per person one-way (and it is just the outbound that I am concerned with, the inbound from BKK to BHX is (currently) fine).
    I’m not prepared to pay over £9k and take a gamble with MCOL, so am hoping there is another way to convince Lufty to reroute me with another airline.

    Thanks again.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    meta

    My understanding is that you are the one who can choose what you want to do despite LH offering a reroute leaving much earlier. You may have to go to court to assert your rights and that may mean doing so in Germany where LH are based despite the fact that they operate from the UK. You may wish to look for alternatives and phone LH back explaining you can’t do the earlier connection. Have you considered a flight from LHR or other UK airports to MUC to connect with the long haul.

    Remember if you do accept the route as proposes that may be your one change allowed so don’t be too hasty. Also remember that the airline is on the hook for duty of care so should provide food and drink for the time you are left waiting. Is this a business class fare in which case lounge access would be in addition to the food and drink vouchers you should receive.

    You can choose where to take to court. Either at the point of departure (which is UK) or the point of arrival. In case of connecting flights you can also choose your own domicile. So @aston100 can go to MCOL. This has been ruled on by ECJ many times before Brexit.

    meta

    I’d also try to write to Lufthansa CEO as well.

    AJA

    Thanks Meta re the ability to choose where you enforce your rights. I just wondered whether that still applied now that we’ve left the EU. Good to know though.

    And I agree writing to the Lufthansa CEO is a great idea but before contacting a Lufthansa executive, it is recommended to send an e-mail to [email protected] as @Aston100 has done. You should receive a reference number or feedback ID. Once you have received this reference number, if the matter is not resolved you can refer to this in your correspondence with an executive.

    I believe the CEO of Lufthansa is Carsten Spohr.

    Aston100

    Still getting pushback from Lufthansa, refusing to use other airlines, even star alliance partners.
    Their ‘compromise’ is that I fly from Heathrow to Munich and connect with my original MUC > BKK flight that way (but only a 45 minute connection time!)
    However, I would need to take half a day a/l from work and Lufthansa will not be compensating any travel costs (A taxi is £150 to £200 total, but train + Tube is under £80 total but quite a faff)

    I really don’t want to spend £9k to book my own one-way flights BHX > BKK and go through MCOL afterwards.

    Can I have your realistic thoughts please? I’m clearly more risk averse than those who are always suggesting to buy your own flexible tickets and go to MCOL.

    meta

    45min connection in MUC should be fine. They have to cover the cost of travel to LHR under duty of care, so you could potentially take them to court over taxi expense. Since you’re flying business, taxi is reasonable. I’d take this option and claim post-holiday.

    Regarding half day off, there’s nothing really in law that helps you. The only other option is to book everything yourself, but that’s as you say a lot of money. There is also not enough time to go through MCOL procedure before the flight to enforce it from them.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Abdul

    Lufthansa are now suffering from all the problems we have seen with BA and the like. I wouldn’t be too confident about 45 mins these days.

    Are you calling the UK number and being connected to the Philippines? You should call the German number, don’t choose the option for English, wait on the line and try to get TG that way. The German speakers (many of which are Turkish in Istanbul) do know what EC261 is.

    And yes, totally ignore any suggestion you need to use German courts.

    Aston100

    Thanks Meta.

    Abdul – To be fair, I’ve gotten through to Lufthansa by phone in under ten minutes on every occasion (4 or 5 calls thus far). These are South African personnel.
    Staff are friendly enough, but seem to be restricted in what they can do.

    I need to be able to speak to someone at a higher level who can go ahead and book Star Alliance partner flights.
    Have escalated by email again as I’m uncomfortable about that 45 mins connection time in MUC (Google flights reckons the outbound from LHR is often 30+ mins late).

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Abdul

    Ask for the Star Alliance (endorsement) waiver

    I suspect TG don’t want the business as it’s pennies on the pound

    meta

    If you are delayed, they are on the hook for delay compensation (600 euros per person as the whole leg LHR-BKK with stopover counts as per ECJ case law) plus duty of care in MUC. They will also have to put you on next available flight on any airline and usually they are more willing at the airport.

    If you’re not in a rush to get to BKK, I’d book the first night in Thailand separately as a refundable rate and chance.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Supergers49

    Personally I wouldn’t see 9 hours in MUC/Munich as a massive inconvenience.

    It’s an easy train ride to Marienplatz, Augustiner Keller, Viktualienmarkt, Englischer Garten, etc.

    There’s Airbrau at the airport and the Hilton MUC would be a better way to spend €80 than a train and a tube ride to LHR.

    If you don’t need to use annual leave in this scenario, it doesn’t seem too bad… though that does mean letting Lufty off the hook for their poor application of law.

    Aston100

    Had several frustrating conversations with Lufthansa customer services. For some reason someone decided to book me on a 30+ hour route on a Thursday (had already told them I can’t travel on Thursday) via Tokyo, landing in BKK on Saturday. Ridiculous.

    By now, almost every other airline flight options have sold out.
    However due to presumably a late cancellation, I managed to get them to put me on the evening LH flight LHR > MUC (which was sold out until this evening), with a 45 min connection time to my MUC > BKK flight.
    They seem to have agreed to pay for a taxi to LHR.

    The booking class has changed to J. Should I assume I’ll now get more m&m points?

    The LHR > MUC flight seems to have a history of 20+ mins delay. I reckon any sort of delay will make me miss my MUC > BKK flight (45 mins connection remember). They said they can put me on another airline if they know in advance there will be a delay. However, it wasn’t clear what happens if the delay occurs after I’ve gone through the gate at LHR. There aren’t any other flights (with any airline) that night from MUC.
    Should I expect to automatically be booked into a hotel at MUC airport and booked onto another flight the next day? If so, am I at their mercy and can be put onto odd routes via ZUR / VIE / FRA etc on Lufty Group metal, or can I demand to be put onto any airline of my choosing?
    Would I be inline for any sort of compo in this circumstance?

    Thanks.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
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