Lufthansa Issues Over €2.3 Billion In COVID Related Refunds

As of August 16th, Lufthansa Group airlines reports having paid out over €2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) in refunds to nearly 5.4 million customers. The company says it has been working hard to increase its reimbursement capacities. The Lufthansa Group consists of several European airlines: Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings.

Lufthansa, Cargo, Deliveries
Lufthansa says it has already paid out 92% of all refunds from the first half of this year. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

Catching up on refund requests

Lufthansa seems determined to clear its backlog of refund claims. By the end of August, it aims to pay out any justified claims received by the end of June. As of August 16th, the airline group says its number of pending refund requests is 1.4 million. This figure, however, also includes new claims and those received after June. Still, it sounds like customer service agents working for Lufthansa Group have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks.

Lufthansa, Return Flight, Guarantee
Lufthansa Group has already paid out 92% of refund claims that were submitted before the end of June. Photo: Gregor Schlaeger via Lufthansa

“In recent weeks, the Lufthansa Group has worked hard to increase its reimbursement capacities significantly. In addition, the processes were adapted to the exceptional situation so that reimbursements can be made more quickly. Beyond that, for example, numerous employees from other departments were activated and released from short-time working.”

Flexible bookings for Lufthansa Group airlines

Lufthansa is reminding existing and future customers that they will have some flexibility when it comes to traveling with the airline. In fact, all fares and ticket prices of Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines can be re-booked. This also includes the lowest light fare without checked baggage and applies worldwide to new bookings on short, medium, and long-haul routes.

This is a move we’ve seen from most airlines around the world. It is overall a win-win for the airline and passengers. Travelers can book with confidence, knowing that a sudden change in border and quarantine policy won’t result in hefty re-booking or cancelation fees. Additionally, with these events happening more frequently, airline customer service teams can avoid being overloaded with hundreds of frustrated travelers.

Lufthansa Issues Over €2.3 Billion In COVID Related Refunds
Lufthansa Group includes Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Brusses, and Eurowings. Photo: Lufthansa Group

A worldwide trend

This isn’t the first story of its kind to be released. Just a few days ago, we reported that Qatar Airways issued refunds totaling $1.2 billion to over half a million passengers just in the span of five months.

Closer to the peak of the crisis, we reported that Emirates had to deal with half a million refund requests. This was in April, meaning that many of these claims were generated over the previous two months.

Also in April, American Airlines said it processed around $600 million in refunds. However, by the end of June, the airline had expected its refund bills to be around or over $2 billion, which is relatively close to what Lufthansa Group is reporting.

Are you still waiting for your refund? How has your experience with the airline been? Let us know in the comments.