Hold Airlines Accountable for Informing Passengers of Travel Regulations
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On December 14, 2017 my 5 year old daughter was not allowed to board our December Lufthansa flight. As a family, we were on our way to see her elderly grandparents in Germany for our annual trip.We were at the airport, trying to check in for our flight when United told us that her passport was invalid. At first, neither they nor we understand why. Finally we learned that because EU regulations prohibit travel if a passport expires within 6 months of the trip, she would not be allowed to go on the flight.
A 5 year old.
We turned around and headed home.
After 50 minutes on the phone with a Lufthansa rep ("Gabi") we were initially told that we should have stayed at the airport, that the United people were wrong. But finally they "found" the regulation details and confirmed what we now knew. I was told that if I were to cancel from the flight, Lufthansa would refund me our carrier fees and taxes. Gabi told me that issues like this (although she didn't even initially know this was a regulation) were "passenger responsibility". After asking for a manager, I was put on hold again and then "Maxine" came on and said the same thing: "passenger responsibility" and a refund from carrier fees and taxes were our family's only option. I had 5 minutes to decide because at this point our flight was going to board and if we "no showed", we wouldn't get anything refunded to us. Reluctantly and feeling as if I didn't really have a choice, I agreed. Gabi came back on the phone and said to look for the credit within 7 working days.
8 working days later there was a credit of $327.81 on our credit card statement but this was nowhere near the $1226.31 we were promised. I called Lufthansa again and after 2 hours on the phone with "Mark" I learned a) Gabi and Maxine were wrong, that they had offered something they shouldn't have and b) that we could appeal to the "refunds department" and wait 20 days for resolution. We ended the call with Mark promising to follow back with us, ("I will call you when I hear back from the refunds department,".)
28 days later, we've still heard nothing from Lufthansa.
Side note: I Tweeted at AirBnB on 12/14 what had happened and was refunded (1000+ Euros) our entire fee within 2 hours.
In the interim, I did hear from a friend who was refunded their entire fare by Delta.
So I've decided to start this petition to bring attention to the appalling way that airlines communicate with passengers and their lack of transparency in those communications.
The 6 month EU regulation is not common knowledge. The United reps who tried to check us in didn't know it at first and neither did "Gabi" the Lufthansa rep when I called. Their lack of knowledge is a huge problem.
The other issue is that if airlines require us to enter passport details when we book an international flight, the least they can do is inform us of regulations like this one, instead of just taking our money and passing this colossal loss off as “passenger responsibilty” as Lufthansa is doing with my family.
By signing this petition you are demanding:
Lufthansa and other airlines that travel internationally to stop passing the buck of "passenger responsibility" and be proactive about doing the right thing to inform travelers of international regulations such as travel prohibitions related to passports when they book their flight.
The US Department of Transportation hold airlines accountable for doing the right thing in keeping with USDT mission of "ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future,".
You as a signer are voicing your position loudly and clearly that airline travelers deserve to be kept informed and treated with respect.
Please share and spread the message that airline travelers deserve to be treated fairly and informed of regulations before they travel.My family and I thank you for your support.
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