Flying to Africa for my East African adventure did not start off too well. Between the delay and subsequent downgrade that I covered in my most recent article, getting to Nairobi was a comedy of errors. Despite this issue, I received no compensation for an involuntary business class downgrade.
This article is more of a question: how should I go about receiving compensation from Lufthansa for my involuntary downgrade?
This article is part of my Trip Report: Starting Summer in East Africa including:
- My Comically Bad Luck Flying to Africa
- No Compensation for an Involuntary Business Class Downgrade?!?
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge IAD Review
- Lufthansa Business Class Lounge IAD Review
- Flight Review: Lufthansa B747-8 Economy IAD-FRA
- My First Flight on a Queen: My Thoughts
- Flight Review: Lufthansa A330 Business Class FRA-NBO
- Hotel Review: DoubleTree Nairobi
- Flight Review: Air Kenya to Keekorok Air Kenya
- Hotel Review: JW Marriott Masai Mara
- Is the JW Marriott Worth $3k a Night?
- Lounge Review: Aspire Lounge NBO
- Flight Review: Kenya Airways NBO-ZNZ
- Exploring Zanzibar: My Thoughts
- Airline Nightmare: Delayed in Tanzania
- Flight Review: Air Tanzania ZNZ-ARU
- Mt. Kilimanjaro Hike: My Thoughts
- Exploring Moshi, Tanzania: What Everyone Gets Wrong
- Lounge Review: Aspire Lounge JRO
- Weirdest Flight Delay I Have Ever Had…
- Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa Executive Regency Suite
- Exploring Addis Ababa: My Thoughts
- Lounge Review: Ethiopian Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
- Flight Review: Ethiopian B787-8 Business Class ADD-IAD
- My 18 Hour Odd Business Class Experience
I booked an ANA award ticket to fly on United and Ethiopian to Nairobi, but United delayed my flight and subsequently rebooked me on their partner: Lufthansa.
When trying to board the flight to Frankfurt, my business class ticket was involuntarily downgraded to a middle seat in economy due to a maintenance issue. Luckily, I still received my business class seat on the second flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi.
After the downgrade and taking my seat, I inquired about compensation and did some research online. I knew that EU261 would likely cover this situation and was advised to go to a Lufthansa desk upon arrival in Frankfort.
While I got a pamphlet for EU261 and apologized for the inconvenience, the agent was unable to do anything at that particular moment. The pamphlet advised me to request compensation online.
I filled out the online form with all information including my two boarding passes and was told an agent would get back to me. I want to note that there was not a special section for downgrades compared to cancellations, so it was a little bit of a challenge to navigate.
EU261 requires that on flights that are over 3,500 km, a 75% refund in cash is due to downgraded passengers.
An agent reached out, seemingly happy to help if I sent more information, which I did. Unfortunately, after some back and forth, the end result was poor: I was told multiple times I was due NO compensation and that my case was closed. Of course, despite THE LAW stating I am due compensation.
Who is Responsible?
ANA issued my ticket. My ticket was supposed to be operated by United. I was finally rebooked on Lufthansa, who was the operating carrier and subsequently downgraded me.
EU261 compensation keeps it simple and states that the operating carrier is the one responsible for providing compensation, although Lufthansa argues no wrongdoing. I did reach out to United and ANA as well, who pointed the finger at Lufthansa (rightfully so).
However, let’s say Lufthansa is willing to give me a 75% refund. What would they refund? My ticket was $170 in taxes and 104,000 miles.
They have no way of refunding the miles and $128 in compensation, while appreciated, is quite frankly a joke. The cash ticket for these flights is over $5,000, which is an interesting perspective to look at.
The Last Point
Who should I reach out to for compensation? Further, how much should I expect back? Let me know in the comments your advice and thoughts!
To be honest, I’d really just like something that would make it possible to possibly fly Lufthansa upper deck in the future, whether miles or dollars.