Lufthansa fined $2.6m for refusing to board Orthodox Jewish travellers: reports

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Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) will provide financial compensation to Jewish passengers who were barred from boarding the carrier’s flight between Frankfurt and Budapest in May 2022.  

The estimated settlement cost reaches more than $2.6 million, according to a Spiegel report.  

A total of 128 passengers will each receive $21,000 in compensation.  

What happened on the Lufthansa flight?  

The incident took place on May 4, 2022, when Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) was preparing for flight LH1334 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD).  

A large number of passengers were refused boarding after some had not complied with the airline’s mask mandate. The affect passengers have accused the airline of anti-Semitism because all passengers who were outwardly recognizable as Orthodox Jews were barred from the flight.   

The dispute escalated further when airline staff reportedly insulted Orthodox Jewish passengers. A Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) staff member was captured on video by a witness making comments such as “Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”  

The incident resulted in a furious public reaction on social media at the time.  

At the time, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) made a public apology via a statement, which was addressed to “all the passengers unbale to travel on the flight”. 

“On May 4, 2022, a large number of booked passengers were denied boarding on their flight LH 1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest. Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) sincerely apologizes,” Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) wrote.  

“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,” the airline added.  

Financial consequences   

In a recent statement to Jewish Telegraphic Agency on November 29, 2022, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) said it is still seeking to settle with each of the affected passengers.  

“Although we are not commenting on the details, we can confirm that Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) endeavors to settle the claims with all of the passengers denied boarding on May 4th, 2022,” the airline added.  

While the carrier did not confirm the exact figures, reports suggest that each passenger will receive $20,000 and an additional $1,000 to cover expenses incurred during the incident.  


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