New court decision concerning using only back portion of ticket

Old Apr 23, 07, 11:33 am
  #1  
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New court decision concerning using only back portion of ticket

There is a new court decision of a german court against LH, saying that LH may not refuse passengers to fly the back portion of their ticket, regardless of the use of the first part of the ticket.
It is only a decision of a "Amtsgericht" (AG Erding, decision dated 27.3.07, Az.: 4 C 129/07), so Lufthansa will probably not change their behaviour.

The decision concerns a flight MUC-FLR-MUC. The reason for the decision is that the court thinks that the passenger bought the seat, also on the flight FLR-MUC. If the airline refuses to transport him, they gain an economical advantage as they can sell the seat once more, although somebody has already paid for it. Also the passenger has an unacceptable disadvantage, as he is forced to buy a new ticket, although he has already done so before.

Unfortunately most likely LH will accept the decision in order to avoid a decision by a higher court, which would probably decide the same way.

Here you can find the german text: http://www.fliegen-sparen.de/cms/new...47_meldung.php
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Old Apr 23, 07, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by Hamburger View Post
There is a new court decision of a german court against LH, saying that LH may not refuse passengers to fly the back portion of their ticket, regardless of the use of the first part of the ticket.
It is only a decision of a "Amtsgericht" (AG Erding, decision dated 27.3.07, Az.: 4 C 129/07), so Lufthansa will probably not change their behaviour.

The decision concerns a flight MUC-FLR-MUC. The reason for the decision is that the court thinks that the passenger bought the seat, also on the flight FLR-MUC. If the airline refuses to transport him, they gain an economical advantage as they can sell the seat once more, although somebody has already paid for it. Also the passenger has an unacceptable disadvantage, as he is forced to buy a new ticket, although he has already done so before.

Unfortunately most likely LH will accept the decision in order to avoid a decision by a higher court, which would probably decide the same way.

Here you can find the german text: http://www.fliegen-sparen.de/cms/new...47_meldung.php

Can you explain more about what an Amtsgericht is? and why this won't make them change their policies?
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Old Apr 23, 07, 12:24 pm
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An "Amtsgericht" is a small claims court and quite a bit of their decisions are not even appealable. A verdict of a German court is in general not binding for another court and other courts will in general not be very much impressed by an Amtsgericht's verdict.

Based on what I have seen, the verdict is based on the German rules on general terms and conditions and it says that the said GTCs (TOS) of Lufty are not acceptable.

My humble opinion:
  1. The verdict is fully correct
  2. LH will not change its opinion
  3. The case has nothing in common with Ex-Cairo tickets and skipping the first cupon.
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Old Apr 23, 07, 12:49 pm
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My understanding of the whole thing is that the ticketing system used by most traditional/legacy/flag carriers in becoming quickly obsolete. The pressure of point to point airlines is probably going to eventually force a change, and finally one way tickets will become cheaper, too. Open skies might play a role in this... as some airlines might want to become more competitive over the Atlantic by offering convenient one way trips. Many airlines do that already: I've been monitoring prices for a while now. Singapore often offers excellent one way fares JFK to FRA even the day before the flight (around $425). Aer Lingus and LTU do the same at around $480-700. And Virgin is on the same page on one way flights from the US to LHR ($380 from JFK, 500 from ORD and so on). Not to mention LOT, which sometimes play the game. The pressure is on.
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Old Apr 23, 07, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by kenadams View Post
My understanding of the whole thing is that the ticketing system used by most traditional/legacy/flag carriers in becoming quickly obsolete. The pressure of point to point airlines is probably going to eventually force a change, and finally one way tickets will become cheaper, too. Open skies might play a role in this... as some airlines might want to become more competitive over the Atlantic by offering convenient one way trips. Many airlines do that already: I've been monitoring prices for a while now. Singapore often offers excellent one way fares JFK to FRA even the day before the flight (around $425). Aer Lingus and LTU do the same at around $480-700. And Virgin is on the same page on one way flights from the US to LHR ($380 from JFK, 500 from ORD and so on). Not to mention LOT, which sometimes play the game. The pressure is on.
I fully agree. Even today, Lufty offers E class one ways in Germany for a fare price (about) of a return but without the taxes for the return flight. So it is not a problem at all to get eg a 60 Euro oneway for TXL - DUD in Germany. I was surprised that they even sell routings like DUS-BCN-MUC in E or W Class. On the domestic and european market Air Berlin puts quite a bit of pressure on them.
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Old Apr 23, 07, 1:01 pm
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Yes, and London is already very bookable as one way. Air Transat from YYZ at $300. Not to mention EOS, Maxjet and all those all business class airlines. And within Europe even BA offers lots of one ways. It's just a matter of time, and the clock is ticking.
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Old Apr 23, 07, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
.....

My humble opinion:
  1. The verdict is fully correct
  2. LH will not change its opinion
  3. The case has nothing in common with Ex-Cairo tickets and skipping the first cupon.
Why you always pronounce that ex XXX has nothing to to with that cases ?
In general that's the same thing ! Only that we here not have only 2 segments ( where one is not flown ), There you have some more segments and the pax has not flown one or more. But the legal framework is more or less the same. Customer pays for something, and don`t use part of it.
I know you see it otherwise, your argument is, that this are special market fares.
How do you see it if someone books an ex TIP to SYD rt. for around 2200 Euro in F, and only use the rturn portion of that.? This should at least be the same as a simple FRA-PAR-FRA, where one only use the return.
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Old Apr 23, 07, 2:18 pm
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Smile The old, old story....

Originally Posted by bertheike View Post
Why you always pronounce that ex XXX has nothing to to with that cases ?
I knew this would come and my remark was especially meant for you

Saying the framework is the same is by far too easy. You forget that all of this is about general terms and conditions and the one and only issue is whether or not these T&C worded clearly in favour of the airlines' positions constitute an "inadequate disadvantage" for the customer. This leaves quite a bit of discretion for the judge in his/her verdict and allows to evaluate all circumstances and to ask the decisive question, who is the "crook".

1) The the cases we see, German customers are buying a ticket in Germany ex Germany and skip the outbound flight and want to use just the return flight back to Germany. These guys just wanted to get home and there is no sign at all that they missused the system. Easy to say that this an "inadequate disadvantage".

2.) Prima facie your example TIP - SYD - TIP is similar. It even might be, that a German court (however it should become competent) rules in favour of somebody from TIP skipping the outbound flight and stranded in Oz for his/her return to the middle east. But I really want to see your argument in court for the following situation: "A travel agent from Germany with a ticket issued in TIP and ex TIP (but fedexed from TIP to FRA) does not use the outbound flight and appears in Oz with the return portion of the ticket and wants to check-in to TIP (but requests the luggage to go to FRA only). The airline refuses to accept the ticket based on the T&C" It is up to YOU to explain and to make evidence that this is an "inadequate disadvantage" and you never intended you missuse the system. Hard work to do.

3.) Your example TIP - FRA - SYD - FRA - TIP and skipping the first segment is something totally different. In this case, you do not buy a flight from TIP to FRA and another flight from FRA to SYD (does no exist anyway) but a flight from TIP to SYD via Frankfurt. I am somehow confident that a court will accept that TIP and FRA are different markets and different products and will not accept this game by rendering a verdict that this is an "inadequate disadvantage" for the customer. Though, a court might see it different if the ticket was bought in TIP by somebody based in TIP and this guy took the boat or the camel to get from TIP to FRA.

What you, Bertheike, are not willing to accept is the fact that there is not a generally valid definition of "inadequate disadvantage" when judging on general T&Cs. The T&Cs of the airlines are clear and you simply are not allowed to use cupons out of the sequence. Period.

The only and decisive question is, whether or not the T&Cs are applicable in a certain contract or not. Though, you always have to ask whether it is a "inadequate disadvantage" for the relevant contract and situation. And the results can be as distinct as situations are.

Cheers
Thomas
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Old Apr 23, 07, 3:31 pm
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What a great place to get a good legal opinion free of charge !

I think we should focus more on the ex Germany tickets and not so much on the ex-TIP tickets. This is probably only really interesting for people who have received huge bills from an airline for these dodgy tickets.

If you really want to go ex-TIP I would suggest to:
a.) get the necessary transit visa
b.) get to TIP somehow
c.) buy a ticket on ticket stock with an airline that will actually let you board in TIP
d.) make sure to include an open segment back to TIP so that HIP does not apply

Happy hunting !
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Old Apr 24, 07, 4:18 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
I knew this would come and my remark was especially meant for you
My compliments, you know how to make me happy

Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post

What you, Bertheike, are not willing to accept is the fact that there is not a generally valid definition of "inadequate disadvantage" when judging on general T&Cs. The T&Cs of the airlines are clear and you simply are not allowed to use cupons out of the sequence. Period.

The only and decisive question is, whether or not the T&Cs are applicable in a certain contract or not. Though, you always have to ask whether it is a "inadequate disadvantage" for the relevant contract and situation. And the results can be as distinct as situations are.

Cheers
Thomas
The last passus of your posting is the most important one !
The only and decisive question is, whether or not the T&Cs are applicable in a certain contract or not
This I have to find out, and the only way to do so, is going to court !
And the results can be as distinct as situations are.
If that would not be, we would not need any lawyers, because everything would be clear and easy.
Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
1) The the cases we see, German customers are buying a ticket in Germany ex Germany and skip the outbound flight and want to use just the return flight back to Germany. These guys just wanted to get home and there is no sign at all that they missused the system. Easy to say that this an "inadequate disadvantage".
What is a missuse of the system ?
you assumed that the guy just skiped the outbound to get home.
what is , if he bought the ticket with the intention not to fly outbound, but he did so because the rt. ex Germany was much cheaper than the ow. ex France.
In one of the other " Amtgerichturteile" the district court judge argued, that it is one of the passangers rights to search for the " cheapest " offer which suits him, and if it is cheaper to buy a return ticket, the customor is not forced to use all of the achievements he payed for !

Last edited by bertheike; Apr 24, 07 at 4:37 am
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Old Apr 24, 07, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by bertheike View Post
What is a missuse of the system ?
This is exactly the issue behind the scenes. The structure is easy:

- you accepted the TOS
- you do not live up to the TOS
- you argue that the result of the TOS is a "inadequate disadvantage".
- you have to make evidence of this
- and you will have problems if the case "stinks"
- and a case stinks if your routings or sitations are "too creative".
- and to creative routings may easily be understood as a missure....

Cheers
Thomas
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Old Apr 24, 07, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
This is exactly the issue behind the scenes. The structure is easy:

- you accepted the TOS
- you do not live up to the TOS
- you argue that the result of the TOS is a "inadequate disadvantage".
- you have to make evidence of this
- and you will have problems if the case "stinks"
- and a case stinks if your routings or sitations are "too creative".
- and to creative routings may easily be understood as a missure....

Cheers
All of this is correct, but it does not touch the real point in my opinion. The real point is if it is OK for an airline to sell a flight A-B and B-A (or B-C) and then only let you fly B-A (or B-C) if you have flown A-B. (And I want to explicitly exclude the situation where the airline sells A-B via X and the customer wants to fly X-B only -- that's something different in my book.).

In my opinion that's the equivalent of you ordering a menu in a restaurant and the waiter refusing to serve the second course if you don't eat the soup the soup. I think the restaurant can make up T&Cs as much as they want, they wouldn't get far in court.

HTB.
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Old Apr 24, 07, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
This is exactly the issue behind the scenes. The structure is easy:

- you accepted the TOS
- you do not live up to the TOS
- you argue that the result of the TOS is a "inadequate disadvantage".
- you have to make evidence of this
- and you will have problems if the case "stinks"
- and a case stinks if your routings or sitations are "too creative".
- and to creative routings may easily be understood as a missure....

Cheers
Thomas
I can not have accepted any TOS, which I have never seen bevore !
And now a question to you : Have you ever seen a TOS, when you buy a Ticket from an Travelagent, ( specially if it is a YY fare )?
The only thing I remember is, if I buy a LH fare here in Germany, I get a special LH ticket cover, sometimes stickered with a lable " you are traveling under special restrictions" and this ticketcover contains parts of the TOS.
BUT I NEVER SPOKE ABOUT SUCH TICKETS !!!
The YY fare tickets came in a IATA cover, contain one site conditions of contract ( only in english ), and there I can not find one word about using all segments .......
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Old Apr 24, 07, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by htb View Post
In my opinion that's the equivalent of you ordering a menu in a restaurant and the waiter refusing to serve the second course if you don't eat the soup the soup. I think the restaurant can make up T&Cs as much as they want, they wouldn't get far in court.
That is what my mum always said: You will not get your pudding if you don't eat your main course. And I did not go to court. I stop joking, we can discuss as long as we want. You have to go to court or to the EU commission or whatever otherwise you will not get Lufty to follow your opinion.

Originally Posted by bertheike View Post
I can not have accepted any TOS, which I have never seen bevore !
And now a question to you : Have you ever seen a TOS, when you buy a Ticket from an Travelagent, ( specially if it is a YY fare )?
The only thing I remember is, if I buy a LH fare here in Germany, I get a special LH ticket cover, sometimes stickered with a lable " you are traveling under special restrictions" and this ticketcover contains parts of the TOS.
BUT I NEVER SPOKE ABOUT SUCH TICKETS !!!
The YY fare tickets came in a IATA cover, contain one site conditions of contract ( only in english ), and there I can not find one word about using all segments .......
So what? You can accept any TOS as long as you had the reasonable possibility to read them. If you buy YY tickets and the ticket says it is gouverned by the TOS printed on the ticket you actually have the possibility to read it. If you do not care about English, your bad. You are not forced to buy a product you do not understand, are you?

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; Apr 24, 07 at 2:34 pm Reason: Typos
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Old Apr 24, 07, 10:13 am
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Some guys here have really interesting opinions...

Although this "I buy segments, I want to use them like I want to do" nonsense will never come, I would love it. Theoretically, if it comes, all the cheap tickets would go away obviously. This could easily result in more average prices (everdody pays the same in a cabin), means all the full fare prices (F, C, Y) may decrease. That would save me money. ^

Unfortunately a local "Amtsgericht" decision is as important as the discussion in this board for the matter of subject.
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