A German man has been ordered to pay Lufthansa €1980 – the equivalent of A$2,875 – for repeatedly visiting Lufthansa's business lounge in Munich without actually flying anywhere.
The un-named lounge lizard bought a flexible business class ticket for €745 (A$1,000) to fly with Lufthansa from Munich to Zurich, but never took the one hour journey.
Instead, he'd just check in at Munich Airport and then settle into Lufthansa's business lounge to eat and drink his fill.
As boarding time approached he'd cancel his flight – without penalty, this being a fully flexible ticket – and rebook for another day. When that day arrived he'd repeat the process all over again.
Lufthansa says he made 36 non-flying visits to the lounge over the course of a year, at which point his ticket expired – but when he tried to buy his next ticket, the airline refused the sale and handed him a bill for the 36 visits priced at €55 per time.
After the frequent lounger refused to pay the issue ended up in court, where the judge sided with Lufthansa.
The airline's argument was that flexible airfares are meant for people who actually intend to fly, which was clearly not the case with this regular visitor to the lounge.
We've not visited Lufthansa's Munich business lounge once, let along 36 times, but we doubt it's worth almost $3,000 for the buffet, bar and currywurst.
A similar scenario played out in China last year, when a China Eastern traveller customer parlayed his first class ticket into over 300 visits to the airline's lounge in the northwest provincial capital of Xi’an – and then cancelled his ticket for a refund when its 12 month validity was about to expire.
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