Lufthansa slaps airport lounge lizard with bill for

By David Flynn, July 3 2014

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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David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

domesticgoddess

domesticgoddess

NZ Elite

03 Jul 2014

Total posts 108

Given his thousand dollar ticket expired, he'd already paid about $28 per visit. I'm not sure even that is worth it.

brobro

brobro

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

Legend!

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

What a loser going to all that effort for a bit of food, like people that go turning up 4 hours early for a flight just because of lounge access

watson374

watson374

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

As someone who turned up some six hours early for a flight yesterday, spending some four hours in the SYD T1 QF J lounge, I choose to reject your point of view. (I should point out my early arrival was because my father was flying the same day but several hours earlier, though he did get a good hour or so in the SYD T1 SQ F lounge. The hours in the lounge were just a plus, but a very big plus. A bit like a Luftwaffe cross.)

You are, of course, more than welcome to show up five minutes before the flight closes. I find panicked people sprinting in airports to be good entertainment.

LR

LR

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 May 2012

Total posts 76

Tell us what you really think Josh.

I would be happy to spend 4 hours in the QF F or TG F lounges and many others.

reno

reno

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Six hours in a lounge says you are not only nuts,but a genuine free loader.What type of pain did your party put QF lounge staff thu.Shame.. i am most disappointed in you.

watson374

watson374

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

You can call me nuts, but don't you dare call me a freeloader.

  1. I already stated I was early only because I arrived and cleared to airside with my father who was flying out on the morning Thai flight to BKK. Given that I was not able to access the SQ lounge, being on a QF flight, I hung around the terminal and eventually went to the QF lounge and made myself comfortable.
  2. I was in the lounge for only about four hours, not six. I spent some time walking the SQ end of the terminal.
  3. You really cannot accuse me of being a freeloader if you're going to insist that the inflight experience should focus exclusively on downing as many cocktails as you can before sleeping. I know the bleeding hearts like to create the impression of entitled nothings grabbing stuff at the expense of the poor righteous passenger, but tell me, can you really accuse us of that while you make endless calls for culling the QFi network in Asia just to fuel your desire for more American flights? I flew QF 5 yesterday - the loads were good and crew morale was high, and it's this kind of reality that leads me to reject your bizarre, poorly-worded views.

Sorry Robert, not buying today.

Marxx63

Marxx63

Qantas Platinum

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 48

Time is not important. How you behave is. You can spend 4 hours in a lounge. Eat/drink moderate and get a lot of work done. You can also be there for two hours and have 6 whiskeys and start harrassing personnel (I've seen it happen). Who are all these people judging and playing arrogant Mr Frequent Traveller?

Andrew_c

Andrew_c

VA

17 Dec 2013

Total posts 51

Well, I guess if I was unemployed or had nothing better to do with my day, it may be preferable to hanging out at the library. Barely

But still, it's a tiny bit mental.

Try employment as a day filler

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

Well said

Propofol88

Propofol88

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 141

I share the sentiment that going to a lounge 4-6 hrs before a flight (in particular a domestic one!) is drastically over the top, but if I'm flying international in F class I don't see the silliness in wanting to spend up to a couple hours in their signature lounges (esp CX Wing in HK, QF First lounge in Syd/Melb, SQ The Private Room in Singapore) and indulge in the spas, cabanas, a la carte/tasting menus and drinks. I wouldn't really call it "free loading" given that I would've spent in excess of $7000 on my fare...

These folks that scam lounge access are just plain shrewd...

lind26

lind26

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 269

There is nothing wrong with turning up 4 hours early

It's all part of the journey

Some people don't fly often and lounge access is part of the adventure

Jono

Jono

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 245

I don't see anything wrong with arriving early to visit the lounge. I'm often early to the airport or am in the situation where I've done everything I want to and it is the best option or place to kill time.

Still, it is not that fantastic of an experience that I'd want to do what this bloke did and it's still pretty loopy.

bwright

bwright

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2014

Total posts 3

Gee, I would have thought $28 is pretty easy to consume worth of Wine and Spirts here, let alone in Germany. Clearly some of you are vegans or teetotallers or on a diet, or like sitting outside in airports. Try that for four hours some day and reframe.

Who cares whether people arrive early or late. If you ( like me) had time to respond to this drivel, we all really DO have too much time on our hands.

Rufus1

Rufus1

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 122

At German prices (even airport prices), $28 would be enough to get you well and truly hammered.  Booze costs a fraction of what it does in Oz.

Lufthansa lounges generally are nothing special.  Although I delayed a flight out of Munich one time after I got to the airport, since I figured an hour in the Senator lounge was a better option than spending that hour waiting for the train at the other end...  

Benjamin

Benjamin

04 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

To domesticgoddess: The name of the business game is PROFIT, PROFIT and once again PROFIT. It is never worth it to do what this dumb ass stupid guy did

gabes80

gabes80

06 Jul 2012

Total posts 13

Friends. You have not lived until you've spent nearly 4 hours in a self-service regional QC. Currently living the dream.

(had a similar situation been on the competitor, they would've put me on an earlier flight rather than leave me to my own devices....)

kiwiengr

kiwiengr

QF

04 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

12 hours in the Concorde lounge at LHR was rather enjoyable.....

AWA2602

AWA2602

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Argh!! I could think of nothing worse! I spend enough time in airports and airline lounges as it is! I like to keep my time in either down to the bare minimum - despite having access to the OW, EK and SQ First Lounges - I see no benefit in being there any longer than it takes to enjoy a glass of champagne, download any last minute emails and documents, grab a little snack or have a quick shower (if I'm connecting between long haul sectors).  There are some lovely lounges out there, but no matter how fabulous they may be there's still little on offer to warrant a visit of any great length.

chewkc65

chewkc65

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 45

I see nothing wrong in turning up  a few hours early just because of the attraction of a lounge.  Why would that make me a loser? And I am not a freeloader either, considering that a business class ticket cost 3 times that of economy and first class cost about 8 to 10 times of economy.  Freeloader would be more appropriate for folks who abused their flexible ticket to visit lounges but never intended to fly and get refund just before their ticket expire.

It all depends on the offering of the lounge, of course.  Not all are of the same standard. There are some very basic ones which would not be worth my time but there are also some who offer complimentary massage which required early booking as they are very popular.


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