Anyone else having issues contacting Lufthansa Airlines regarding refunds for cancelled flights?

My flight to Paris was cancelled by Lufthansa Airlines for 3/31/20. I thought I would just be able to go on line and request a refund as this is what their policy states. See below.

“If your flight has been cancelled by Lufthansa as a result of disruptions, you can have your flight ticket refunded free of charge via My bookings. Please contact the Lufthansa Service Center if you cannot cancel or refund your ticket online.”

I went on line and followed the directions, however, it stated that I would only receive a refund of $304.76 for taxes and carrier fees for 2 business class tickets, so I backed out of it. I have tried for 2 days to contact their customer service group. Yesterday, I received a voice mail message to hold and then it disconnected me after 1 minute. Today, the phone just rings and rings, a message doesn’t even come thru. I am assuming their servers are on overload.

Is anyone else dealing with Lufthansa and if so, what are the results. Any suggestions? I know these are trying times, but it is so frustrating to think that I will lose thousands of dollars.

I am currently on hold for 45 minutes with my Trip Insurance Company to see if there is a possibility of having my airlines tickets refunded, even though they state on the policy they do not cover pandemics. Just looking for options, if anyone has any ideas. Thanks.

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Comments

  • edited March 16

    Sorry, no suggestions other than keep trying. You might try an all-nighter- it might be easier to get through once people in California have gone to bed. :D Also, if you have "status," check to see if they have a special phone number you can use. I had similar issues with Delta, but kept at it. I eventually got through and got everything worked out to my satisfaction (see my post.) All the airlines are swamped both computers, agents, and phone lines. It should start to ease up as the backlog is reduced. Often parts of the website including cancellation boiler plate text is out of date, besides, regardless of the reason, they cancelled so it up to them to refund, issue a credit voucher, or re-book, etc.

  • Update: I finally got thru to Lufthansa after about an hour and a half on hold. The Customer Rep I spoke to was very nice. He said that I was entitled to a full refund and processed the refund request for me. He said that it would take from 7-10 business days to receive, so I will continue to check with the Credit Card Company. I hope everything goes thru correctly, I no longer see my booking on their site, so it was canceled. Thanks for the input.

  • If booked with Tauck air department, they should handle cancellation and refund.

  • We always use our Certified Tauck Travel Agent to book all our trips and flights. There is no cost to us and in situations like this, we simply give him a call and tell him what we need to have done and he takes care of it. No worries for us.

  • I think that the next time that I book a Tauck trip, I will let them handle everything. I have done that before in the past. They are a good company and they don't play games with you. If they say something will be done, you can count on it 100%.

  • travel maven...booking everything with Tauck is great!...however, it does pay to do a little research on your own for flights. The airfare for my last trip & my upcoming trip was considerably less booking directly with American Express and had the additional bonus of 5X points.

  • PureLuxury..... Thank you for your input and I do agree with what you said and I typically do research air fares for a given trip. That is what happened in this recent case. This was to be a special trip for myself and my boyfriend and I wanted to fly Business Class and Lufthansa had the best price and Allianz Trip Insurance was also more reasonable than Tauck and covered everything that could possibly go wrong except for an epidemic. That reason never even occurred to me at the time. Why would it? Anyway, it is all over and done. I have seen some negative reviews on the Internet concerning Lufthansa Customer Service and issues with refunds, however, I will try to not let that dampen my spirits and remain positive that Lufthansa will do what they promised and that I will receive the refund within 10 business days. If not, I will pursue the steps outlined in the European Passengers Rights link provided by Portolan. Hopefully it will not come to this. I can hardly wait for "normal" to return.

  • Keep the faith. My flights with Lufthansa were cancelled by my travel agent last Thursday and my refund showed up this morning.

  • Delta said my refund would be posted to my AMEX account w/in 7 days, but it just showed up- in only 2 days! The fare for next year's flights had been running about $150 more, but when I pulled my all-nighter to re-book, it was serendipitously at the start of the 330 day window for next year's flights. The fare showing was now $800 per ticket cheaper than the fare for this year's flights, for the same routing/flights- one reason I pulled the all-nighter and also received a refund. A day later (and still today) the fare had jumped up $2000 per ticket!! This is not the first time that has happened and why I always recommend, if you are doing your own booking, especially business class, to do it at the start of the 330 window.

  • travel maven - IMO, Lufthansa has the worst biz class of the major airlines. For ythe transatlantic flights, they are two basic side-by-side seats that go flat. No pods, cublicles, etc. unless they've changed in the last year or two. Secondly, for the intra-Europe continuation, you get a standard economy seat, only difference is the middle seat is left unoccupied.

    I fly biz on all my long haul flights and avoid Lufthansa and British Air (to avoid Heathrow and their ancient 747s which are in dire need of updating) whenever there's another option.

  • Thank you all for your input, good advice.

    Choc: I will try not to stress, after hearing your reply. Thanks.

    BKMD: I agree, Lufthansa does not have the most comfortable seats. I used them a couple of years ago and flew in Economy to Europe and it was the most uncomfortable seat I have had in awhile. From reviews online, I have noticed that numerous seasoned travelers stated that their supposedly new business class seats were underwhelming compared to other airlines with updated designs. I will heed your advice. I also try to always avoid Heathrow. Thanks.

    AlanS, when you say book your flight at the start of the 330 day window, can you please elaborate? I have never heard of this. For instance, if a new trip starts on 4/8/21, do I subtract 330 days which would mean I should book my flight by May 13, 2020 to get the best deal? (I used an online calculator)

  • The 330 should be measured from your return date if you want to book both directions. The 330 is how far in advance if travel airlines will take reservations. Booking then doesn’t assure the best deal, but it most likely provides the most options. I typically start monitoring airfares before the 330 days using earlier dates just to get a feel for what costs might be and where I might want to start my search once the 330 day window arrives.

  • AlanS...I use the same process. I began looking at the Amman/Cairo options a few weeks prior to when the flights would be available for booking to ballpark the fares. I checked the fares and compared to the fares Tauck was offering. I booked online immediately as the fares were significantly lower than the Tauck contracted rates. I've checked recently and the fares online have increased steadily and I'm sure as we get closer to the travel dates they will eventually be higher than what Tauck is offering... early bird gets the worm or prize...

  • edited March 27

    travel maven
    2:14PM

    . . . . .

    AlanS, when you say book your flight at the start of the 330 day window, can you please elaborate? I have never heard of this. For instance, if a new trip starts on 4/8/21, do I subtract 330 days which would mean I should book my flight by May 13, 2020 to get the best deal? (I used an online calculator)

    Sam and Pure got it right. All airlines are not the same, but you can often determine the booking window by doing a phantom booking (don't actually book! :o ) a flight that starts 320 from today and look at their calendar or keep working your way to 330, or farther for some airlines. Delta's website shows a calendar; the dates outside the window will be grayed out and not selectable. Rather than try to count on my fingers :D I use one of the simple online "days until/days since" websites like this one: http://www.easysurf.cc/ndate1.htm Delta's changeover occurs sometime after midnight. As Sam said you must use the date of your return flight for round trips (and open-jaw flights which are often required for Tauck trips- many start in one place and end in another.)

    Like Sam and Pure, I start watching fares a month or more out so to stay in the 330 day window I must use earlier constructive dates instead of the actual tour dates. Also, since day of the week matters and affects fares, I ensure the days of the week for the constructive dates correspond to the days of the week I plan to depart from the US (usually 2 to 3 days early) and return. Because of that I usually only check fares once a week.

    This method is no guarantee you'll get the best fare, but it has worked like a charm for me many times. I've heard Business fares sometimes go down but it happens very, very, rarely (I've never seen it.) The airlines play games with their fares, and the number of seats made available at discount prices- I think they use the Amazon pricing model. :D I don't always choose the lowest fare, sometimes number, duration, and location of layovers, total enroute time, time of arrival and sometimes even aircraft are more important to me. After I enter origin, destination and dates, I sort the results by enroute time and work from there. It has worked for me many times!

  • Alan, I have been booking air for our trips myself the last few years and use the same strategy as you. Curious, after having to cancel/rebook your flights, would you still recommend doing this on your own or would you go through Tauck in the future?

  • cvc
    7:27PM

    Alan, I have been booking air for our trips myself the last few years and use the same strategy as you. Curious, after having to cancel/rebook your flights, would you still recommend doing this on your own or would you go through Tauck in the future?

    On my own.

  • I've mentioned this before, but I have a different perspective than Alan.

    I do agree that biz fares rarely change. Occasionally they spike for a few days, but then drop back to where they were. The main reason I don't like booking so far out is that it is highly likely that the airline will change your flights, probably several times. When I book, I look at price, flight duration, quality of the biz class seats, etc. Say I book a flight with a layover - not too short and not too long. I find 90 minutes just about right - no rush, time to stop in the lounge and mosey over to the gate. Then, I get an email about a schedule change and now the flight has a 4 hour layover,. Rechecking their web site, there are no better options, as I'm locked into that airline now.

  • Not living in a major airline hub (Tucson) I also tend to check lots of departure cities for the international leg, the reason being often times booking a reservation to/from Tucson will be $1000 or more than if I booked from a major hub. We've booked our tickets to/from LAX a lot since doing so often saves us the $1000 or more. Then we book a separate round trip ticket to/from LAX. There are a lot more options Tucson/LAX than Tucson to the world. If the prices are close I prefer to book to/from Tucson since then the entire trip is on a single reservation. But to save over a $1000 I will sometimes roll the dice and go the two reservation route.

    Another option we use, is to use our American miles to get to the North American city that has the best business class options. We found it very difficult to find a good business class option for international travel using our American miles. Within North America it seems like we're able to use the miles more efficiently. We did this for our Israel/Jordan tour. There was a business class flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv and then from Amman back to Toronto that was over $1000 cheaper per person than any other business class fare I found. We booked that flight and then used miles to get to/from Toronto to Tucson. This approach sometimes creates longer layovers to provide a safety buffer between the two reservations, but to save $1500 - $2000 I'll spend a few more hours in an airport. That said, if prices, times, etc. are close I prefer the single reservation to/from Tucson.

  • edited March 27

    Smiling Sam
    10:17AM

    Not living in a major airline hub (Tucson) I also tend to check lots of departure cities for the international leg, the reason being often times booking a reservation to/from Tucson will be $1000 or more than if I booked from a major hub.

    We booked that flight and then used miles to get to/from Toronto to Tucson. This approach sometimes creates longer layovers to provide a safety buffer between the two reservations, but to save $1500 - $2000 I'll spend a few more hours in an airport. That said, if prices, times, etc. are close I prefer the single reservation to/from Tucson.

    I think a lot depends on the airline and feeder. We live in the boonies. Much of the time I find it is "almost free" to fly from RDU (our closest mid-size feeder) to ATL as part of the overall booking for a long trip because the combination of a separate booking to get to ATL and back plus a separate international booking, sometimes costs more than both legs on a the single booking. I rarely have enough Skymiles to pay for a full international trip, but when it is advantageous, I will use miles to get from our feeder to ATL or JFK. RDU is a two hour drive for us. We have another VERY SMALL (1 to 2 flights per day) feeder only 45 min. away. While getting out of there and connecting in ATL are usually not too bad, the layover in ATL coming home can be as much as 7 hours!!! Not going to do that! Plus, the cost of driving to RDU, paying to park, and the airfare is still often cheaper than flying from the local feeder where we must also pay for parking. If we have a morning flight, we have sometimes stayed the night before near RDU at a hotel that provides free parking if you stay one night, but that can add almost a day to our trip and it is rarely available for a two week tour. Also, the cost to park for 10 days, etc. in a more secure, covered spot at off-airport Fast Park is often cheaper than spending one night at a hotel.

    This stuff is just another facet of planning which helps pass the time and keeps me interested in the upcoming trip.

    Again, here is visual proof of why I book at the first opportunity of the 330 day window. These are screen grabs of our receipt for the fare I paid for Business Class on Delta when I re-booked our J&E trip on 15 Mar; the second one is what showed on 16 Mar, and again today, just a few days later (note, the first one looks like a one-way to Amman, but it just shorthand for the full routing (RDU-AMM + CAI -RDU) for single fares). The fare I got was $1980.40 cheaper or almost $4000 for both of us!!

    Booking done on 15 Mar 2020:

    Check done 16 Mar 2020:

  • AlanS - Finding airfares is a very dynamic process and vary in price significantly in time. As an example, the business class airfare I referenced before for Toronto to Tel Aviv and then Amman to Toronto last September was $2500 per person, significantly less than the fares you have identified for more recent bookings.

  • edited March 27

    Of course, you still had to get from AZ (?) to Toronto.

    I'm trying something new for our XMAS Markets on the Rhine trip (if it goes)- we are flying to Dusseldorf from RDU via DTW instead of JFK or ATL. The fare was a tad less and it is on an Air France 787-9 with nicer Business seats than either Delta planes flyinf from ATL and JFK. Google maps shows the distance and time from RDU to DTW is only slightly more (< 20 min.) than to ATL or JFK. The only concern is the possible impact of winter weather in Detroit and the too common Air France, French, CDG industrial actions (walkouts and strikes).

  • I think I need to hire you guys to research my next flight. LOL.

  • I play the 331 day game as well. I booked SFO-EZE-EZE 330 days from return date ... couldn’t do 331 because the return is an overnight flight. The price varies from hour to hour not just day to day. But, I used miles and paid 112 thousand miles per round trip ticket. Yesterday the same flight combo was 148 thousand miles per ticket. We bought premium coach. Business class to EZE is very expensive ... much more than many other destinations.

  • AlanS - We got to Toronto using our American miles. Using the miles within North America seems to be much easier than trying to use them internationally.

    Sealord - What you did is some of the combinations we look into as well. To date my threshold is about <= $3500 for a roundtrip business class ticket. If we can't find any such fare using all cities for departures, perhaps along with miles, then we'd book Premium Coach, Economy Plus, whatever it's called on a specific airline. We went that way when we did the Kenya/Tanzania tour. The business class tickets to Arusha and home from Nairobi when we did the tour were very expensive.

  • I have a nonrefundable ticket on Lufthansa that I bought separately for a Classic Italy tour that was cancelled for end of April. Lufthansa has still not cancelled our flights and I am trying to get a refund and not future travel credit with them as I don't plan on rebooking during their time frame. I'm holding out hoping they will cancel our flights soon. Have you had any issues getting a refund if Lufthansa has cancelled your flights? They are being so non-consumer friendly.

  • Lufthansa cancelled my March 16 flights home from Amman. My travel agent (I use Amex platinum) had booked the flights. I called them to get me on another flight home (which they did), but, knowing that there were probably hundreds, if not thousands,
    of people trying to reschedule flights, I told them not to deal with a refund at that point. I gave it a week, and this past Monday, Mar. 3, called Amex to get working on the refund. My agent was able to get in touch with Lufthansa quickly, but was told that Lufthansa is overwhelmed and will not be processing refunds for another 2-3 weeks (at a minimum).

  • Lufthansa had canceled my flights to Paris via Munich and back on or about March 9 (for which I was never informed) for a trip schedule for March 31. I had booked the tickets myself. Once Tauck confirmed on March 13 that my Trip to Paris was canceled , I checked the Lufthansa Website and noticed that Lufthansa had already canceled my outgoing flight to Paris, but not the return flights and they never even notified me. I attempted to request a refund on line as I could not get thru the phones lines for 2 days to discuss the matter. When I tried to request a refund on line, I received a response that I would only receive about $300.00 of the $6,000 spent for 2 Business Class tickets. I quickly backed out of the refund request and tried again to call Lufthansa. I waited on hold for about 1 1/2 hours and finally a young man advised me that he would cancel the booking and request a full refund. I received a confirming email that the booking was indeed cancelled but there was no mention of a refund, which sort of worried me. He stated I would receive the refund in 7-10 business days (their typical response). As of today, March 27, it has been 10 business days and still no refund on my Visa Card. I know these are extraordinary times, however, I don't understand why it would take so long to credit the amount against a Credit Card. I am very unhappy with Lufthansa at the moment and will never fly with them again. I read the reply from MCD this morning, so I will wait a couple more weeks before I contact them again. It is just so very frustrating, to say the least. At least Tauck credited my Visa for the land portion within 10 days as promised. So now I have to wait an additional 10 days to actually receive the funds from Visa as they have to mail a check to me, they are not able to do an electronic bank transfer. Ridiculous!! I think if I book another trip with Tauck in the future, I will just have them handle everything, including flights and insurance as they are an excellent company and always stand by what they promise. At least it would be less stressful in these stressful times and that is definitely worth something. It is in times of crisis that you know a Company's true worth and Tauck is A+ in my book.

  • File a charge back with your CC company. In my experience, companies are very quick to let go of your money when that happens. Include copies of your emails, cancelled flights, etc.

  • BKMD, thanks so much for the tip. I will try that. I will wait until Monday to see if a credit has been issued from Lufthansa. If not, I will contact the Credit Card Company, although I will probably be on hold for a very long time, as they posted a message when I called this morning that due to the COVID-19 virus, many of their call centers are closed and they have a limited amount of specialists to handle only urgent requests such as if you are stranded or need a temporary credit increase or have received a fraudulent charge. Oh what crazy times we are in. I hope this all ends soon.

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