Lufthansa to pay millions in compensation to Jewish passengers denied boarding

A Lufthansa Airbus at the gate in New York JFK airport.
Sterilgutassistentin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The German flag carrier Lufthansa will reportedly pay over £16,000 in compensation to each of approximately 100 Jewish passengers who were denied boarding on a scheduled Lufthansa flight in May this year.

The situation arose on May 4, 2022 during the boarding of Lufthansa Flight 401 from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA).

A large group of Orthodox Jews had been booked on the connecting flight to Budapest, when problems arose during the check-in process due to non-compliance with the mask wearing requirements by some of the passengers.

Whilst the airline is within their rights to enforce the requirement, the situation escalated when Lufthansa staff when beyond the denial of boarding to those individuals not wearing masks, and denied boarding to many others based on race.

A Lufthansa supervisor was captured on video saying “It’s Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”

Lufthansa apology following the incident

Shortly after the boarding incident became public, Lufthansa issued a statement of apology to those involved, saying:

“On May 4, a large number of booked passengers were denied boarding on their onward flight with LH 1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest.”

“Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”

“While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the non-compliant guests.”

“We apologize to all the passengers unable to travel on this flight, not only for the inconvenience, but also for the offense caused and personal impact.”

“Lufthansa and its employees stand behind the goal of connecting people and cultures worldwide. Diversity and equal opportunity are core values for our company and our corporate culture. What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values.”

“We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any type. We will be engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service.”

The compensation payments

In a statement made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Lufthansa has confirmed that it is seeking a settlement with the affected passengers, but would not confirm the exact figures.

“Although we are not commenting on the details, we can confirm that Lufthansa endeavors to settle the claims with all of the passengers denied boarding on May 4th, 2022,” the company said in a statement to the Agency.

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