Transport Airports

German Court Fines Lufthansa Lounge Freeloader

Jul 03, 2014 3:00 am

Skift Take

Doesn’t this man know that airlines no longer serve a – let alone dozens – free lunch any more?

— Samantha Shankman

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Michaela Rehle  / Reuters

Pilots walk past a flight schedule board announcing cancelled flights of German airline Lufthansa at Munich's airport April 2, 2014. Michaela Rehle / Reuters


A man exploited the perks of business -class travel to feast for free 35 times in a year at Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Munich airport lounge — without ever taking off.

The man used the flexibility of the one-way fare to Zurich to repeatedly reschedule his travel plans after gaining access to food and drink, Munich district court said in a statement. Lufthansa canceled the ticket after more than a year and refunded the price, only for the man to purchase a replacement.

The court ruled that lounge services are provided on the assumption that travelers will seek to fly, and ordered the man to pay Lufthansa 1,980 euros ($2,705), equal to about 55 euros per visit or more than twice the cost of the 744.46-euro ticket. Lufthansa pursued a prosecution only after the man bought the second ticket with the intention of resuming his foraging raids.

Business-class fares typically offer the flexibility to rebook when plans change, while offering perks such as access to premium lounges, conference facilities and showers. The Munich facility at Lufthansa second-biggest hub offers Bavaria’s Loewenbraeu beer on tap, together with local delicacies including leberkas meatloaf and sausages with sweet mustard.

While the court release didn’t name Cologne-based Lufthansa, Christian Gottschalk, a spokesman for Europe’s second-biggest carrier, confirmed the incident.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net Christopher Jasper.

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