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Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

London, United...
posts: 2
Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

Hello,

Can anybody help?

I booked a flight from London to Linz/Austria to go home for the Christmas holidays. I booked well in advance (June 2012) to make sure to get the most suitable flight connection available. The flight was with Lufthansa (outbound) and Austrian (inbound). I booked it with Lastminute.com.

I received the day after my first booking confirmation a flight time change information from Lastminute.com that my flight back to London will arrive 5 min earlier than scheduled.

However, when I arrived at Gatwick airport I couldn't find the check-in counter for Lufthansa.

I asked a ground services employee and I was advised that “check-in will be in section D, so you should wait a little”.

However the staff member didn’t seem very convinced, and as this was the last weekend before Christmas the airport was very busy and I’m sure many travellers were asking similar questions. For this reason I continued asking several other ground services staff who all told me the same, until one mentioned that Lufthansa stopped flying from Gatwick airport on 1st November, 2012. It’s a good job that someone knew otherwise I’d probably still be there, waiting for a flight that never came.

I called Lufthansa at Heathrow airport, however they couldn't find my name in their system.

I called Lastminute customer service where the lady told me that she cannot access the server and therefore she cannot check my order number.

Since this is Christmas, which hardly can be postponed, and I was running out of time, I was forced to buy a new flight to be able to at least get to the right country, albeit to a destination that was thoroughly inconvenient.

As a last-minute booking (I hope the irony is not lost on this) I was forced to pay an expensive flight to be able to continue my trip at least, almost as planned.

I never received any information that the departure airport was changed. I always check my emails very thoroughly and I received many advertising emails from lastminute but never this important information.

I contacted Lastminute.com and Lufthansa regadrding this case already and Lastminute.com told me that they sent me a reschedule confirmation in July 2012 and would like to refund me the taxes of the original flight.

Lufthansa has not replied yet.

Does someone know what else I can do?

Further, I would like to get a full refund of the additional ticket I needed to buy in order to get home on time.

Thanks a lot

Lilian

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,341
reviews: 24
1. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

Unless you can prove that Lufthansa did not advise you of the change I'm not sure thee is anything you can do.

I suspect that LH actually advised lastminute as they made the booking (if they advised anybody) and either they failed to tell you (a common problem with 3rd parties) or it ended up in your spam folder.

Another reason for booking direct with the airline as you can keep track of schedule chanes etc.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 8,001
reviews: 15
2. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

Emails can get lost in cyberspace or deleted in spam filters. Who knows, maybe there's a glitch at LM's end and the email wasn't send. Or maybe they're just lying. Either way, while I believe airlines/booking sites should do their best to keep passengers informed of changes, it's ultimately your responsibility to regularly check your itinerary. If the schedule was changed 6 months ago you would have had ample time to do so. Sucks but I doubt there's anything you can do about this.

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
posts: 24,305
reviews: 73
3. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

I would push this with Last Minute. If they sent you an e-mail in july then it's up to them to prove that. Also if the flight was changed to LHR then why could LH not find you in their system if you were supposed to fly that day?

Do you have a PNR number or any kind of e-ticket number from LH? This is why it is always a good idea to check in online the day before ar at least as early as possible as you can double check timings etc before getting to the airport.

Anyway I would be pretty pissed off about this so good luck. There might be recourse to your credit card company or even the small claims court but again this might be down to burden of proof and you would not necessarily get the money back for the second flight you bought.

Good luck with this though.

London, United...
posts: 2
4. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

Hello,

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions.

I contacted both Lastminute and Lufthansa with all the details and I would like to give you a short update on the current situation.

Lastminute sent me a reply with an apology for what happened. We went back and fore a couple of times and they offered me to compensate me with the full amount of the original flight I booked with them. I accepted the offer and I am glad to receive this money back.

Lufthansa never came back to me.

I will try to contact them again as I would like to know why I was not listed for their flight from Heathrow that day.

Thanks again for your inputs and thoughts on my story. I was happy to get some support on here as well.

Lilian

Worthing, United...
posts: 5,215
reviews: 11
5. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

Hi

I think you were not listed for the flight that day because the original email notifying you of the changes from Lufthansa was not acknowledged by Last Minute. I would like to bet that LM got a refund for not accepting the change in itinerary. They just forgot to tell you. You had booked through LM and so that is who you are dealing with, Lufthansa have nothing to do with this. Had LM behaved correctly you would have known of the change when it originally happened and you would have been given several alternatives plus the offer of a full refund.

Jackie

6. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

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Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,426
reviews: 5
7. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

I'm glad you got it sorted and a refund from LastMinute, which perhaps indicates that they were at fault.

But, lesson learned I hope. It always the passenger's responsibility to check their reservations frequently. Airlines and bookers generally have a poor reputation for informing pax of changes, hence the onus is on you. Had you checked, you would have been able to get this sorted well before departure, and as Jackie34 says, LH would have been obligated to offer a full refund (as well as alternatives) in this case as they cancelled a scheduled flight.

And always best to avoid a 3rd party booker and the middleman baggage and book directly with the airline.

White Plains, New...
Destination Expert
for White Plains, Aruba
posts: 4,673
reviews: 89
8. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

For that exact reason. I only book directly w/ the airlines. Never 3d party. They notified the booking agent.

U.S. expats
Destination Expert
for Windsor, London
posts: 16,023
reviews: 126
9. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

I booked it with Lastminute.com.

_______________________

As far as I can tell, this is the only mistake you made. You made the booking months in advance, but used a third party instead. Going forward, I hope you will book directly with the airlines, and make it a habit to check the night before.

I had friends whose flight from California to Europe was pushed back six hours. Instead of leaving in the afternoon, they needed to be at the airport bright and early. It was only because they were traveling with friends that had checked their e-mail that they found out.

London, United...
posts: 1
10. Re: Consumer rights - Airline changed departure airport

It sound to me like changing the airport was a breach of contract. Check the terms and conditions and see.

This guide to the Denied Boarding Regulations might also be helpful which.co.uk/consumer-rights/…

Or this letter to request compensation for delayed or cancelled flights which.co.uk/consumer-rights/…