Help! Lufthansa canceled our tickets but kept our money
DEAR TRIP TROUBLESHOOTING: Before the pandemic, my husband, two friends and I were supposed to go on a Gate 1 tour of Albania. Gate 1 booked us a Lufthansa flight, which consisted of three legs from San Francisco to Tirana via Amsterdam and Frankfurt. When we checked in at the boarding gate in Amsterdam for the flight to Frankfurt, a Lufthansa representative told us that our reservation had been canceled. The agent at the boarding gate did not give us a reason for the cancellation. We had to buy a new ticket to get to Tirana.
Upon our return, we emailed Lufthansa, requesting a refund for the ticket we needed to purchase. Lufthansa rejected our request. He also rejected our appeal.
Can you help us get reimbursed for the $ 1,605 we had to pay for the new tickets?
– Fan of Po Yee, Oakland
REPLY: If Lufthansa canceled the flight, they should refund your ticket. But has Lufthansa canceled your flight?
Your daughter contacted Lufthansa on your behalf. The airline said its records show that even though the flight was operating on schedule, United Airlines canceled your booking. (United is a codeshare partner with Lufthansa Star Alliance.)
You asked for help from United Airlines, but it was referred to Lufthansa. He also noted that you and your husband were “not shown” for your flight to Tirana. This is not possible since you were traveling in a group and your two friends boarded the plane as planned. If you don’t show up for a flight, the airline automatically cancels the rest of your flights.
This is not how it is supposed to work. Gate 1 should have made this problem their own, found a replacement flight and fought for any reimbursement. Instead, you got fired between two airlines and a tour operator – and you got nowhere.
I list the names, numbers and email addresses of all executive contacts (https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts) for Gate 1, United Airlines and Lufthansa. I probably would have started with gate 1, as it booked flights. Since your flights were on Lufthansa, my second stopover would have been the German carrier.
Looks like your daughter tried to keep everything in writing which is helpful. But there is also a time to call, and that was when you were in Amsterdam and didn’t have a ticket to continue to Frankfurt. I would have exhausted all possibilities including calling Gate 1, Lufthansa and United before purchasing a new ticket. Getting money from an airline is almost impossible.
But not entirely impossible. I contacted all three on your behalf. After several weeks, United sent you a refund for the new flight.