If your flight has been cancelled or significantly delayed or if you have been denied boarding on a flight for which you have a confirmed reservation, you are entitled to the rights defined in Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, which entered into force on 17/02/2005. The airline on whose flight the disruption occurs is responsible for granting your rights.
The Regulation shall apply
- to passengers whose scheduled flight leaves from an EU Member State or passengers whose scheduled flight is with an EU airline and leaves from a third country to arrive in an EU country, provided that the passengers have not received any compensation or financial support in this third country,
- only on the condition that you have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned
- only (except in the case of a cancelled flight) on the condition that you present yourself for check-in at the specified time or, if no time has been specified, no later than 45 minutes before the published departure time,
- only on the condition that you are travelling at a fare that is available to the public.
According to Regulation (EC) 261/2004, a delay is deemed to have occurred when the scheduled departure time is delayed by at least four hours in the case of flights of more than 3,500 km, by at least three hours in the case of flights of between 1,500 and 3,500 km and flights of more than 1.500 km within the EU, and by two hours in the case of flights of up to 1,500 km. When your flight is expected to be significantly delayed, you have the right to receive care from the airline.
This includes: meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time, possibly hotel accommodation including transport costs, and the opportunity to make two brief telephone calls or to send two faxes or e-mails. The airline is not required to provide this care if you are responsible for a further delay of your departing flight. In the case of delays of more than five hours, you have the right to have the cost of your ticket refunded within seven days in the amount of the travel not completed or in the amount of the travel already completed if the purpose of the travel was not accomplished due to the delay, and, if applicable, to a return flight to the point of first departure at the earliest opportunity.
You have the right to compensation if your arrival at the destination airport is delayed by more than three hours and the delay cannot be attributed to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided by taking all reasonable measures; such circumstances include, for example, poor weather conditions, political instability, strikes, security risks, and unexpected deficiencies in flight safety.
If, in the event of overbooking, you are involuntarily denied boarding on a flight you have booked, you have the right to care from the airline as described above under "Delays". In addition, you shall be offered re-routing to the final destination of your booked flight. This re-routing shall take place at the earliest opportunity and under comparable conditions.
Subject to available seating, you may, instead, travel to your final destination at a later date/time of your choosing, in which case the costs of meals/refreshments, hotel, and transport between the hotel and airport shall be borne by you.
If you are involuntarily or voluntarily denied boarding, you have the right to an alternative flight or to reimbursement and compensation, which can also be provided by cheque or bank transfer or, with your consent, in the form of a gift card. The amount of this payment depends on the distance of the planned route and on the re-routing that has been offered to you: In the case of flight distances
- of up to 1,500 km, the compensation is €250,
- between 1,500 and 3,500 km and for flights of more than 1,500 km within Europe, the compensation is €400
- of more than 3,500 km, the compensation is €600.
The distance is calculated based on the last destination at which the passenger arrives later than the planned arrival time as a result of being denied boarding or the flight being cancelled.
If you are offered an alternative flight and the arrival time is not later than two hours after the planned arrival time of the originally booked flight for flights of up to 1,500 km, not more than three hours after the planned arrival time for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, and not more than four hours after the planned arrival time for flights of more than 3,500 km, the compensation shall only be 50% of the above-mentioned payment amounts, i.e. €125, €200, or €300.
You are not entitled to the compensation described above if you are justifiably denied boarding through your own fault, for health or safety-related reasons, or due to missing or insufficient travel documents.
If the flight for which you have a confirmed reservation is cancelled, you have the same rights to re-routing, care, reimbursement, and compensation as described above.
However, you are not entitled to compensation as per the EU Regulation if the incident can be attributed to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided by taking all reasonable measures. Such circumstances include, for instance, poor weather conditions, political instability, third party strikes, security risks, and unexpected deficiencies in flight safety.
Likewise, you are not entitled to compensation if
- you are informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before departure
- you are informed of the cancellation between 14 days and 7 days before departure and your departing flight leaves no more than two hours before the original departure time and/or you arrive no more than four hours after the planned arrival time
- you are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before departure and your departing flight leaves no more than one hour before the original departure time and/or you arrive no more than two hours after the planned arrival time.
If you are downgraded to a lower class, you have the right to receive compensation within seven days. The amount of this payment depends on the planned route and the ticket price paid per segment; in the case of flight distances
- of up to 1,500 km, the compensation is 30% of the ticket price paid per segment
- between 1,500 and 3,500 km and for flights of more than 1,500 km within Europe, the compensation is 50% of the ticket price paid per segment
- of more than 3,500 km, the compensation is 75% of the ticket price paid per segment.
If you believe that you can raise a justified claim against Lufthansa based on the aforementioned conditions, please refer to "Lufthansa Feedback" or postal.
A list of the relevant authorities responsible for ensuring the legal rights of passengers can be found under Europa.eu.
If your journey is of a private nature, then, in the case of flight disputes, you have the right to contact the ‘Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr e.V.’ (SÖP), Germany’s independent arbitration board for public passenger transport that oversees all carriers.
You may do so if you have concerns relating to
- denied boarding, long delays, or the cancellation of flights;
- the destruction, damage, loss, or delayed transportation of baggage, or
- breaches of duty in the transportation of disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility, or
- breaches of duty in the conclusion of carriage contracts,
- you have already contacted Lufthansa about your concerns and have not received a reply within two months or
- you are dissatisfied with the way your concern has been handled or disagree with how your claim has been processed by Lufthansa.
- your concern is not already pending before a court or at one point was pending before a court or has been settled.
- your trip is a private trip.
The European Commission also provides a platform for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).