Lufthansa apologizes after Orthodox Jewish travelers are banned from flight

Lukas Wunderlich /

German flag carrier Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) has issued an apology after banning Orthodox Jewish travelers from boarding a connecting flight at Frankfurt airport. 

The incident, which occurred on May 4, 2022, involved passengers from New York transiting in Frankfurt for a flight to Budapest.

The Guardian reports that some of the passengers allegedly refused to wear face masks, which was a requirement of the airline. Thereafter, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) crew allegedly denied all passengers who visibly appeared to be Orthodox Jewish from boarding the flight.

“Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) sincerely apologizes,” the airline said in a statement.

“While Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) 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 have zero tolerance for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any type,” the statement added.

Leading anti-hate organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) dismissed Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) statement as insufficient and vague.

“This non-apology fails to admit fault or identify the banned passengers as Jews. It also refers to them as a group, even though many were strangers. They had one commonality — being visibly Jewish,” ADL said in a tweet. 

“In addition to investigating, ensuring accountability and taking steps to repair the harm, including compensating the victims to the extent possible, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), as a German company, has a special responsibility to educate its staff,” ADL continued. 

On May 12, 2022, DansDeals reported that Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) CEO Carsten Spohr had a 30-minute video chat with Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, a prominent Rabbi for the Jewish community in Berlin.

After speaking with Teichtal about the video call, DanDeals reported Spohr’s assertion that Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) investigation into the incident revealed that the mass denial of boarding was inappropriate. Teichtal also added that Sphor said such treatment represents the antithesis of Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) mission to connect people and cultures.


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