Lufthansa Passengers Have to Take a Selfie to Prove they Are Real and Get a Refund
Quietly and without any mention in their Terms and Conditions, Lufthansa the German national carrier now requires its passengers to provide a selfie of themselves holding their ID next to their face before issuing a refund for a delayed, canceled or overbooked flight. In the above email, Lufthansa’s Customer Relations writes:
“in order to finalize the payment, please provide a photo of your client holding their valid government issued ID next to their face (e.g. passport, ID card, driver’s license) with the face and ID clearly visible.”
This is an official response to a claim for two passengers whose flight from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo – LH506 on 18th of July 2019 – was delayed by 10 hours. Source: Flightstats.com The new requirement has gotten people talking on Flyertalk with one person writing:
“All of this is clearly laid out to discourage people from claiming compensation by making them jump through loops”.
Right to Compensation
Under Regulation EC261/2004, if the carrier is at fault and the delay is not the result of extraordinary circumstances, then each passenger is entitled to 600 EUR compensation – no questions asked. In fact, the burden of proof falls on the airline and not the passenger. However, introducing the above requirement seems like yet another obstacle that passengers need to overcome in order to receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled. While Lufthansa ranked 17th of our Airline Ratings 2019 in terms of claims processing performance, the German air carrier seems headed for a lower spot in the rankings this year.
Is Lufthansa in Violation of GDPR?
When a claim is submitted to Lufthansa via ClaimCompass, it contains the passenger names, the flight and booking numbers, the complete itinerary of the passenger(s), the flight schedule and the disruption, an official ID as well as a signed and dated Power of Attorney for each passenger in the claim. The latter clearly states the scope of representation and the ClaimCompass mandate. So, based on the above, Lufthansa can without any doubt identify the passenger and issue the payment under EC261/2004. Under Article 4(14) of GDPR, facial images are considered as “biometric data”, which is subject to even stricter requirements for compliance with the Regulation. By default, processing such data is prohibited unless the data subject – i.e. the passenger – has given explicit consent. We could not find anything on the above in the Data Protection Information section of Lufthansa’s website. There is, however, something more. Even if the passenger has granted the above consent, article 7 of GDPR has imposed even stricter conditions for its validity. Under Article 7(4), such consent is invalid if the performance of the contract is made strictly dependent on the provision of such personal data, despite the fact that it is not necessary for the contract to be carried out. By definition, delayed flight compensation under Regulation 261/2004 is due as compensation for the improper compliance with contractual obligations of the carrier – i.e. for not getting passengers to their destination on time. In other words, a selfie of the passenger holding their ID next to their face is not needed in order for Lufthansa to meet its contractual obligations.
So, Why the Hassle?
It is clear that Lufthansa is fully capable of verifying the identity of its passengers by simply requesting a copy of a national ID in addition to a signed Power of Attorney. This is confirmed by European Commission’s Information Notice to Air Passengers dated 9th of March, 2017, which states:
“If so requested, a signed power of attorney together with a copy of ID or passport (for verification of signature) should be provided by claim agencies”.
There is no mention of photographs or any further personal data required and one is left to wonder whether or not this additional requirement isn’t just another unjustified burden on passengers to avoid paying compensation.
The original article by Thomas Busson was originally published on claimcompass.eu
About the Author: Thomas is the SEO and Content Strategist at ClaimCompass. Frequent traveler, he loves sharing tips and news about the industry in a simple way.
“My flight was delayed 6 years ago. Back then, I had no idea that I could get compensated for that. Can I still get a compensation for that flight delay?”
This is what many passengers who have only recently been made aware of their air passenger rights wonder.
Well, yes, you can probably still claim your canceled or delayed flight compensation – but there is a time limit. How far back you can claim varies from one country to the next.
If your flight was canceled or delayed by at least 3 hours, you can get up to 600€ in compensation from the airline. Check if you’re eligible by filling out your flight information here – it takes only 3 minutes!
You might get compensation for that old flight delay after all!
How Far Back Can I Claim Compensation In Each Country?
So you can claim for flight disruptions which happened years ago. But how many years exactly?
The time limit depends on the legislation of the country you bring the claim to.
Here is an extensive list of countries in Europe, with how far back you can claim for each of them:
- Austria: 3 years (Source: § 1489 ABGB („Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch“, Austrian General Civil Code))
- Belgium: 1 year (Source: Belgian Law of 25 August 1891 (article 9))
- Bulgaria: 3 years (Source: Article 111 (2) of the law of obligations and contracts – damages from contract obligations. It was also confirmed by the Supreme Court of Cassation (case No 1799/2014))
- Croatia: 2 years (Source: Article 127. of Law on Obligatory and Proprietary Rights in Air Transport
- Cyprus: 6 years
- Czech Republic: 3 years to bring the case to the attention of a National Enforcement Body (NEB) (Source: Civil Code No. 89/2012 Coll., § 629 par. 1
- Denmark: 3 years from the date of departure (Source: Danish limitation period Law, No 1063 of 28 April 2013)
- Estonia: 3 years (Source: Section 146.1 of Estonian General Part of Civil Code Act)
- Finland: 3 years (Source: Finish Statute of Limitations Act)
- France: 5 years
- Germany: 3 years (Source: Section 195 of the German Civil Code (BGB))
- Greece: 5 years (Source: National law)
- Hungary: 5 years
- Iceland: 2 years (Source: Icelandic aviation act 60/1998 as per the Montreal Convention)
- Ireland: 6 years
- Italy: 2 years (Source: Italian Civil Code has rendered applicable in Italy the 2 years prescription of actions under Montreal 1999 also for claims arising from EC261)
- Latvia: 2 years. Note also that the court will reject a claim if the carrier was not contacted within 6 months after the flight (Source: section 110, paragraph 2 of the Aviation Law and section 109 of the Aviation Law- Likumi Par aviāciju)
- Lithuania: 3 years (Source: Civil Procedure Code §1.125, para 8) + confirmed by the courts (e.g. case 2-77-494 / 2013, Vilnius District Court)
- Luxemburg: 10 years (Source: Article 189 du code de commerce)
- Malta: 2 years
- Norway: 3 years (Source: Law On Limitation Of Claims (Limitation Act) 1979 § 2)
- Poland: 1 year (Source: Article 778 Civil Code + Sygn. akt III CZP 111/16 (Supreme Court decision))
- Portugal: 3 years (Source: Article 498 Civil Code)
- Romania: 6 months for a complaint to the NEB, 3 years for court action (Source: Government Ordinance no. 2/2001 on the legal regime of contraventions)
- Scotland: 5 years
- Slovakia: 2 years (Source: Act No. 128/2002 Coll. on State Control of Internal Market in Consumer Protection Issues and on amendments to certain acts)
- Slovenia: 2 years (Source: Zakon o spremembah in dopolnitvah Zakona o prekrških – ZP-1B (Uradni list RS, št. 44/05 z dne 5. 5. 2005))
- Spain: 5 years (Source: Amendment of article 1964 of the Spanish Civil Code that reduces from 15 years to 5 years such period for the exercise of personal actions that did not have a special term. The calculation of the time limit, applies the fifth Transitional Provision of Law 42/2015, in reference to article 1939 of the Spanish Civil Code.)
- Switzerland: 2 years for a complaint to the NEB. You cannot undertake small court procedures (Source: Swiss Administrative Penal Act)
- Sweden: 10 years (Source: Preskriptionslag (1981:130))
- The Netherlands: 2 years (Source: Dutch Civil Code (Book 8:1835))
- United Kingdom (England, Wales, Northern Ireland but NOT Scotland): 6 years
As you can see, there is no harmonization at the European level: each country has its own legislation on the matter.
For instance, in France, you can claim up to 5 years after the flight – but only 3 years in Germany and 3 in Italy. But you can still claim up to 6 years after the flight disruption in the United Kingdom.
However, keep in mind that to this day, no passengers on a flight disrupted over 6 years before getting compensated. Even though it is possible, in theory.
In which country should you claim compensation?
If you let ClaimCompass do all the work for you, then you don’t need to worry about that. Our legal experts will get in touch with the airline and the appropriate legal body.
Submit your claim now, it takes less than 3 minutes!
Now, if you decide to take the matter into your own hands, I suggest you first read this guide on flight delay compensation or this one on compensation for canceled flight. They’re packed with everything you need to know about flight disruptions and how to claim compensation.
Should you need to escalate your claim to a legal body such as a National Enforcement Body (NEB) or an Alternative Resolution Dispute (ADR) scheme, know that you can bring the case to the country of the departure airport or the arrival airport.
Whenever you have a choice, contact the legal body of the country where the legislation is most favorable to you: for example, in the case of a flight between the UK and Germany, contact the British NEB, since their statute of limitation is 6 years, versus 3 for Germany.
Can I Claim if My Flight Wasn’t in Europe?
When the EU Regulation 261/2004 isn’t applicable, can you still get money for your delayed, canceled, or overbooked flight?
For international flights, the Montreal Convention acts as a reference for your passenger rights – and it sets a time limit of 2 years to claim:
“The right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped” – Article 35, Montreal Convention
When the EC 261 isn’t applicable, you can still hope to be compensated under the Montreal Convention. Do not, however, that the time limit is shorter than in most European countries.
Plus, keep in mind that with the Montreal Convention, you are “only” eligible to compensation for damages incurred by the flight disruption. “Just” being delayed isn’t enough for you to get any money from the airline.
Whenever you have the choice, claim compensation under the EU Regulation instead.
The original article by Thomas Busson was originally published on ClaimCompass
About the Author:
Thomas Busson is the SEO and Content Strategist at ClaimCompass. Frequent traveler, he loves sharing tips and news about the industry in a simple way.
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay