Lufthansa Cancels Passenger’s Ticket After Misconnection and 5 Hour Delay

A reader writes that they were flying Lufthansa business class from Nuremberg to Rome via Frankfurt using United miles.

Their flight out of Nuremberg was delayed due to weather and they were rebooked onto a later flight.

The next flight after the 5:10 p.m. was the 9:55 p.m .to Rome so they went to the lounge to wait out the long delay.

They got to the gate and report “another delay.”

They say they went to board “30 minutes prior to” the new delayed departure time but their seat was “given away, me and a half dozen people.”

I protest and they said it’s my fault. They won’t help me when I tried to film they threaten to call cops. …No compensation, no rebooking, no voucher . I just don’t see how they can get away with this.

Lufthansa said they weren’t checked in. The passenger tells me that a “[flight attendant] announce[d] pa[ssengers] have been rebooked and reads off flight [details].” They never received a new boarding pass.

So whose fault is this?

  • Lufthansa told them what flight they were on, they showed up at the gate for that flight but they weren’t allowed on.

  • They were denied boarding for what sounds like an overbooked flight but they never even had a boarding pass for it.

I suspect how you feel about this story depends on whether you’re an expert traveler and expect everyone to know exactly what to do the way you would. There was plenty of time. If you’re rebooked the first thing you want is a new boarding pass. There was plenty of time to get one. If the passenger had their boarding pass they’d have been fine.

How can they not have been ‘checked in’? They checked in at Nuremberg. They were at the airport. Lufthansa had irregular operations.

You always want that piece of paper in your hand. It was a mistake not to get it. And it’s entirely Lufthansa’s issue if their systems reflect the person as ‘not checked in’ and flag them as a no show for the flight.

Copyright: aapsky / 123RF Stock Photo

The passenger should have been more paranoid, should have asked more questions, but Lufthansa’s operations didn’t go right in the first place and the service recovery failed because they weren’t given the instructions they needed. I’m going to side with the passenger and against Lufthansa here, even though the passenger failed to ensure they had a boarding pass for the flight they were rebooked onto.

They’re on the hook for a hotel for the night and for a new ticket to Rome.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am an expert traveler and I usually side with the airline but this is some bullshit. How were they not checked in???? Airline’s fault.

  2. Flying 101. Have the boarding pass. Be at the gate. Dealing with customer service 101. Don’t be rude. Her tone of voice is angry. Be sweet even when things are a mess. They aren’t letting you on that flight. Let that go. Find another customer service agent. Go back to the lounge. Go to the customer service desk. Explain the situation sympatheticly. Not accusing anyone. Not videotaping anyone. It’s unlikely she wouldn’t be rebooked when someone looked more closely at the situation. But arguing your way into a full flight won’t happen.

  3. I was on this flight and this woman was irate. The video that she sent in has no reflection on the matter at hand. Not only was she jumping behind the desk to take pictures of confidential information, but screaming and cursing at Lufthansa employees, as well as verbally attacking other customers who were having separate flight problems because they were treating the staff with respect. There were no other people having the same problem as her, as we all had problems with delayed connections, which was further made worse by her childish meltdown–talk about a delay! I have nothing but respect for the amazing Lufthansa staff who handled this immature (potentially drunk?) customer with grace, rebooked our flight (which we missed due to a delay) and put us up in a beautiful hotel for the night. Maybe if she releases the rest of the videos she took where she was cursing at airline employees/passengers and screaming at strangers, more light will be shed on the situation. Keep her honest!

  4. Lufthansa has adopted United Airlines policies.
    “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves”

  5. A similar incident happened to me many years ago on a Lufthansa flight from Athens to Frankfurt. We were bumped off the flight, ended up having to purchase a first class tic on Delta and almost missed our connection in FRA back to the US. Needless to say, after that incident, I have never flow Lufthansa again.

  6. This happened to me during irregular operations when my 6am flight on AA out of LGA was rebooked to 8PM out of JFK. Same ‘not checked in’ speech, had a boarding pass that listed all details but no seat assignment because the new flight was oversold. Ended up in a screaming match when agent let a non-rev have the only seat available. Supervisor came and offered a $300 credit, hotel, and refund since my new departure the next day was now 28 hours after my original booking.

    I non-rev frequently on AA so I know the rules. What the inexperienced agent did was BS and regardless of what I said the employees were only willing to help after the door closed.

  7. @Alex
    That’s crazy. All they had to do was get the non-rev off the plane, easy pesy. As a non-rev I’ve been asked asked to deplane. That’s how it works.

  8. This case needs further investigation to help us become savvy travelers. Clearly Lufthansa wanted that seat, and was incentivized to sell it. That revenue needs to go to the bumped customer so that they don’t have incentive to do that. In addition, credit back the original customers purchase, either miles or cash, however they paid. We don’t want airlines misleading customers on airplane status, gate changes, weather delays, etc. Customer is wtg on airline at the airport, not playing ping pong in their basement, so airline needs to TALK with no show customer and give them the heads up, not text message them with multiple gate changes, boarding times, plane changes, airline changes, etc. We know the games they will play….not born yesterday. I am surprised this happened in Europe, but based on other comments, looks like a deceptive pattern.
    By the way, the customer may have been to irrational to fly. Must keep self-control when flying with other customers.

  9. I’m not blaming the passenger, but for me I would always assume if I don’t have a boarding pass I don’t have a seat. I would go further and say if my boarding pass doesn’t have a seat number I don’t have a seat. I would’ve gotten a reprint immediately.

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