EU flight cancelled. Lufthansa is denying compensation

EU flight cancelled. Lufthansa is denying compensation
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I booked a flight from Chicago -> Frankfurt -> London. In Frankfurt, we boarded the plane, and as soon as boarding was completed, it was announced that we have to deplane due to an incoming storm. Storm passes in about an hour, and we board again. As soon as we finish boarding it is announced that the flight is cancelled as the crew would be over their allowed hours if they were to make the trip.

I filed for the cancelled flight compensation requesting 250 EUR. Lufthansa denied the claim because it was due to weather. I disagree, as the cancelation was due to poor planning on their part. I am thinking of turning over the claim to one of these online services that takes one fourth to one half the compensation if they are successful in collecting.

Has anyone run into this before? Are they correct in hiding behind their “weather” excuse?

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Sounds to me like the delay is in fact due to weather. If you can confirm it was actually due to weather (and not just them claiming that), I don’t see why you think it wasn’t due to weather.

The fact that the crew timed out due to the weather delay does not turn it into a non-weather delay.

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Interesting situation. I have made that Frankfurt AM to Heathrow hop myself a number of times. Cannot believe Lufthansa is expecting you to swallow a €250 loss. That’s a lot of money!

Can they not be persuaded to award in-kind compensation? Your next flight with them of equivalent cost would be gratis, for example. Do they actually expect you to bear a €250 burden for something which was not your fault in any respect? That seems very unreasonable.

So OP isn’t at fault because it’s a weather event, but the airline is? That makes no sense. I think the airline should 110% give a credit for the cancelled flight, but additional compensation seems unreasonable and frankly, isn’t the norm anywhere. Weather cancellations are never, ever, rewarded with compensation.

I think there’s a key piece we’re missing. Is OP seeking a refund and compensation, or just effectively a refund? The way I read it, it sounds like OP wants an additional $250 on top of the presumed refund.

Edit: excuse my use of the dollar sign.

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Oh, I agree. Entitlement is only to a refund for the cost of the flight over to London. . . or at the very least credit against the cost of a future flight.

I agree there were no compensable damages beyond that.

I thought the OP was saying the cost of that London flight was €250. But perhaps I misunderstood.

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I presume they rebooked you and got you to London, so you’re just asking for the EU Regulation 261/2004 compensation for arriving more than three hours late.

Delays caused by weather are clearly and obviously excluded as " extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken" such as “meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned”.

However, once the flight was delayed it would have been clear that the crew was going to exceed their duty maximum. At that point, the reasonable measure would have been for Lufthansa to call in another crew. A ruling in 2015 said that a sick crew wasn’t considered extraordinary because the airline should have relief crew available. At least one online Reg 261 service thinks that a crew exceeding their duty hours does not qualify as extraordinary for similar reasons.

Obviously you don’t have a claim for the initial weather delay. IMHO once the weather cleared and the airport returned to normal operations things have ‘reset’ and any further flight interruptions might be subject to Reg 261 compensation. If there’s no risk to using the service, you might as well go for it.

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I was rebooked on a later flight. @doveroftke is right on the money, I am purely asking about compensation as outlined in EU Regulation 261/2004.

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More US-specific question here, but what about if there’s no weather related delay to your scheduled plane/flight. But, the airline decides they lose less revenue if they use your on time plane for a different flight, and delay and then cancel your flight? IMO it seems like in that situation should be on the airline, and it likely occurs in this manner very often.

This happened to me once a few years ago with Southwest and they provided voucher compensation to the passengers for the overnight delay.

They’ll just cancel the flight and issue refunds. If they delay, then cancel they may owe you more compensation than just a refund.

Right.

Weather delays or cancellations should not mean the airline has to compensate you above and beyond the cost of the flight. That’s unreasonable.

They’re obligated to provide you a full refund if you want to cancel your trip. https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/flight-delays-cancellations

Otherwise, you’re at their mercy; some airlines provide vouchers for food, lodging, and transportation; others will give you travel vouchers; I’m sure some airlines provide nothing.

This is really fact-specific (interpretations of EU261/2004 compensation rules change over time in various courts pretty frequently). A service like EUclaim or one of their many clones (at least one is a YCombinator alum) might do the work for you in exchange for a percentage of any compensation they manage to squeeze out.

The angle would be something like this: it is not Lufthansa’s fault that there are thunderstorms in Frankfurt, but if they do not adequately staff reserve crew at their Frankfurt hub, then their inability to operate flights after irrops might be their fault.

The steps are something like (1) send a strongly worded letter to LH saying that you’re planning to litigate this and citing the reasons you think you’ll win; (2) litigate it. You can litigate this yourself or hire a service to do it (there are many such services).

A pro will have lots of cases at hand which are relevant to your specific circumstance. The case of whether or not EU261/2004 compensation is owed after a flight was cancelled due to crew timing out after a weather delay was addressed in, for example, Case C-294/10 ( Andrejs Eglītis and Edvards Ratnieks v. Latvijas Republikas Ekonomikas ministrija ). The court issued a very unclear ruling in which it said, look, an airline must plan adequate crew schedules and reserve crew to handle some occasional delays, because occasional delays do happen sometimes, but the carrier must only act reasonably and must not make intolerable sacrifices. See e.g. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:62010CJ0294 linked from https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-france-klm-other-partners-flying-blue/1690361-flight-cancelled-last-night-would-i-eligible-compensation-eu261.html in a similar situation.

It’s kind of fuzzy, right? Which is why it’s an area where you could litigate or hire someone to litigate for you. Your expected value from following up is almost certainly positive.

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Next time get travel insurance

Or just be happy with a refund, say “I hate the rain,” and move on with life. No one owes you (the general “you”) anything because of a thunderstorm. It sucks you were between countries, but thunderstorms in Europe are the same as everywhere else, generally speaking. Airlines don’t have magical weather-taming abilities.

What refund?

That’s exactly what I was referring to upthread. OP didn’t specify if they just never got any money back (a refund for their ticket) or are looking to ADDITIONAL money on top of a refund.

OP was never seeking a refund, since the airline rebooked them and they completed their journey. OP was seeking compensation for the delay, which they may be entitled to under EU law.

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I guess I missed that part.

If there is a law that states passengers are entitled to compensation because of a weather delay, and then further rebooking because the crew timed out (DUE TO LAW), then that’d baffle me. Makes zero sense and is pretty shady, IMO. Airlines are obligated to follow the law and time crews out. Why should they have to pay passengers for that?

They’re also obligated under the law to take reasonable measures to prevent delay. IMHO, it’s reasonable for the airline to have backup crews on standby for just this situation. The airline failed to take this reasonable measure and therefore they owe OP the statutory compensation.

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