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Lufthansa Airlines agrees to pay Rs 17 lakh to Jewish passengers for denying boarding on flight


German airline Lufthansa announced on Thursday that it has settled with the majority of the Orthodox Jewish travellers who had been denied boarding an aircraft in Frankfurt earlier this year because some of them had refused to wear masks. Following the incident on May 4, which featured New Yorkers transiting at Germany’s busiest airport before boarding a trip to Budapest, Lufthansa issued an apology. 

German media at the time reported that some of the passengers on the incoming flight had apparently refused to comply with rules requiring them to wear face masks, whereupon Lufthansa staff allegedly blocked all passengers who were visibly identifiable as Jews from boarding their connecting flight. The incident occurred on 4 May 2022 on flight LH401 going from New York JFK to Frankfurt. The flight was carried out by a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. It had to connect Budapest with a large number of Orthodox Jewish passengers onboard. 

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“We can confirm that Lufthansa has reached a settlement with the vast majority of the passengers,” the airline said in a statement. It gave no details and declined to confirm a report by aviation news site Simple Flying that Lufthansa agreed to pay $21,000 (around Rs 17 lakh) to each passenger who was denied boarding.

Regional officials and Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, a Berlin rabbi and head of the local Chabad community, expressed concern after the incident. Teichtal said German companies should be sensitive to possible antisemitism in light of the country’s Nazi past.

At the time, the video of the incident recorded by the passengers went viral on the internet. After this, Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, apologized to the passengers. Simple Flying quotes him, saying, “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. We will be engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service.”

With inputs from PTI





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