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What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

LKT
PARIS
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44 posts
24 reviews
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What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

I'd be grateful for some guidance on the following. We flew from Istanbul to Paris with Lufthansa via Frankfurt (through ticket bought from Lufthansa website). We had a 55 minute transit window in Frankfurt which, by the time we got off our Istanbul flight, was reduced to 40-45 minutes. Unfortunately, we were stopped by German customs who went through all our hand luggage with a fine toothcomb causing us to miss the connecting flight. Lufthansa were extremely unhelpful, said it wasn't their responsibility, that all the other transit passengers had made the connecting flight and we should complain to German customs. We were obliged to buy 2 Frankfurt-Paris flights at an additional cost of nearly 400 euros. I was anticipating that Lufthansa would put us on the next flight without incurring any extra charge? Are Lufthansa in the right here? Many thanks.

Travelling The World
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for Alghero
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1. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

If it was a single through ticket (not two tickets bought separately) and the connection was one that LH recognises as "legal" LH should definitely have put you on the next available flight. I have been held up many times at immigration on tight connections, especially in the US, and have always been put on the next available flight

Escalate your complaint with LH and ask for a refund.

Edited: 16 September 2013, 08:07
UK
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2. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

i agree with Harry, the time that LH allow should also include allowance for customs checks stalling a passenger. I would escalate. For future use, this is why most people here allow much longer times than MCT because even minor niggles can cause a lot of hassle.

Fredericia, Denmark
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3. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

I assume you mean security, and not customs.

LKT
PARIS
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44 posts
24 reviews
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4. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

Many thanks - this is what I thought. Yes, it was a through ticket bought from the website, not 2 separate tickets. I was really surprised and upset by Lufthansa's attitude. Do you have any tips on the most efficient way to escalate? I could try sending an email through their website or calling them but I'm wondering if I might come up against a brick wall.

LKT
PARIS
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44 posts
24 reviews
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5. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

It was customs who stopped us by the way, not security.

Travelling The World
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6. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

Agree with Hans, you would have gone through passport control at FRA as you were entering Schengen but customs would have happened in Paris. Unless you weren't checked through on a single ticket, and had to collect your bags in FRA and check in again. You definitely didn't have time for that, so I am very surprised that customs stopped you. How did that happen?

I am guessing you were on LH1299 connecting to LH1042. That is definitely a legal connection (although not one I'd be particularly comfortable with) and LH should have accommodated you.

Edited: 16 September 2013, 08:22
Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

If it were a through ticket you would not have had to clear customs at FRA. Your bags would be through checked to your final destination.

If you were on one through ticket and you were held up at air side **transit security**, then Lufthansa is in the wrong. They are obliged to rebook you on the next flight with available seats.

And, thanks to Europe's wonderful things called EU261 and the ECJ**, if you arrived in Paris more than 3 hours after your originally scheduled arrival time, LH also owes you compensation (in addition to refunding you those extra tickets) as the originating flight from IST was delayed and contributed to the missed connection.

** - the Folkerts judgement. A silly ruling imo but one that's on the statute book.

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

"It was customs who stopped us by the way, not security."

It cannot have been Customs. There is no Customs in transit. Immigration (into Schengen) and transit security, but not Customs.

..... Unless you took a wrong turn and inadvertently went land side...?

Sydney/Melbourne
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9. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

It's very strange. We had a similar situation - arrived late from LHR and had a connecting flight to HKK.

LH had a bus waiting for us, deplaned us first, took us through the formalities and even held the connecting flight for us.

Generally, I was underwhelmed by their on board service, but I couldn't fault them when it came to getting us on the connecting flight. They went above and beyond.

Could there be more to this story than we are hearing?

If not, then you've been hard done by and you should escalate the complaint.

LKT
PARIS
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44 posts
24 reviews
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10. Re: What is airline's responsibility for passengers in transit?

I'm confused myself now. I would have thought it was Customs - if I remember rightly we went through passport control and then on to these people. I don't think we went the wrong way though as the sign for Connections clearly pointed in that direction and my husband asked some airport official if this was the right way before going through.