Please sign in to post.

United/Lufthansa ticket cancellation options

We have a trip to Croatia planned for next month (6/15 departure). We bought our tickets through United on Lufthansa (SEA-FRA-ZAG). As of today the flight has not been cancelled. It looks like right now our options are:

Electronic travel certificate

  • Can be applied to book a new ticket up to 24 months from today.
  • Can rebook new tickets for any travelers
  • United and United Express flights only
  • Must book directly with United (not valid for use at third-party travel agencies)

Future flight credit

  • Travel must commence within 12 months from original ticket issue date
  • Must book travel for same travelers on existing ticket
  • Any flight operated or marketed by United, including codeshare and Star Alliance flights
  • Can rebook flight directly with United, or can rebook through original third-party travel agency

Ideally, we are hoping the flight gets cancelled and we can get a refund, but if not, I'm a little unsure on which option to take. I have no idea if we'd be able to go on this trip within 12 months, but we chose the Lufthansa flight originally because it was the quickest way to get to Zagreb from Seattle. If I took the electronic travel certificate, could I even get to Croatia on United?

I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions. Does anyone have any information if Lufthansa will be flying those flights in June?

Thank you!

Posted by
3142 posts

What Lufthansa does or doesn’t do isn’t the main issue. It is the entry requirements for non-EU residents into Croatia that is critical to you.

Croatia has closed entry to all non-EU residents through June 15. You are arriving June 16 according to what you wrote above. Perhaps in the next week or so, Croatia will decide whether to extend the date past June 15.

Since we don’t know right now, everything is up in the air. if you want a refund, hold tight and wait.

I would monitor the US embassy’s website in Croatia daily. https://hr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

Posted by
16 posts

Following is how we worked thru our flights to get a refund for our trip flying into 5/17 and departing 5/31 London Heathrow from Charleston SC. As early as March we began to become concerned whether we may have to reconsider our trip. I know our circumstances are different but maybe some of the following will help.
1. About March 20, we were informed that the Chelsea Flower was cancelled. We had purchased tickets and received a full refund. Our tour at Stonehenge was then cancelled. Watching the news and realizing that venues and attractions, transportation in London and elsewhere were beginning to shut down, we realized our trip was certainly futile and began to cancel all accommodations, the car.
2. Upon doing research and reading travel blogs, etc. we decided to not cancel our flights just yet, but see if the Airlines "blinked first" and cancelled the flights, ( with the intent to get a refund in lieu of vouchers, credit , for more travel flexibility in the future).
3. On April 13, flights had not been cancelled but we received an offer from Expedia to reschedule our trip or get a voucher without penalty. They urged that would make it EASY for us. LOL I did not blink but continued to wait as the situation in England sadly deteriorated. I checked airlines and saw that our identical flights were not showing up on daily schedules, i.e. beginning to be cancelled.
4. On April 21 we received word from Expedia that our flights had been cancelled and they had set up a "credit" for us. No thank you. I called Expedia to request a refund but was advised I had to wait until 10 days before our May 17 flight to make the request. I continued to wait patiently.
5. On May 8, I called Expedia and after speaking to two reps, got the refund rolling, although was told the refund was only 90% assured. Yeah right!
6. On May 13, I called the (American/British Airways) airlines just to see who had our money, Expedia or the airlines and was informed that Expedia held it and that they saw on my account record that a request from Expedia to confirm flight cancellation had been made.
7. On May 14 I called Expedia to "check on the progress of our refund" and was told that it was in progress and we should see it applied to the original form of payment (credit card) within 8 weeks.
8. Surprise!!! On May 15, the full refunds showed up applied to our credit card. Yeah ... worth the patience, and not an 8 week wait after all.

I guess what I am trying to get across here is that you should scope out the situation in Croatia, see if it is worth taking the trip now with so many restrictions and closings. Can you even get into the country? Will there be a mandatory 14 day isolation when you get there, as there is in many countries? etc. Check the same flights that you have for 6/15 and see if they are flying out now .... if they are being cancelled now I will bet that trend will continue into the near future. Do you have the patience to see if Lufthansa "blinks" first. At all times, I tried to be very calm, civil, polite and thankful for info from Expedia and airline reps ... they deserve it for what they have been thru, and it will smooth the road for an efficient refund. According to FAA regulations, if flights are cancelled you are by law entitled to a refund. Though with financial stresses, the airlines will do what they can to get you to take a voucher/credit, reschedule. Have you got the patience to wait a bit longer? Is a credit or re-schedule OK for you?
I had a good experience with this but it was really tough waiting. I apologize for the length of the response ... just needed to provide some detail which I felt was important.
Good luck, Marianne

Posted by
2017 posts

I'm looking at the United website right now. It says no itinerary is available for SEA to ZAG on June 15. When I look at the Lufthansa website, the only options on June 15 are SEA-SFO-MUC-ZAG departing SEA at 7:30 or 14:29 and arriving at ZAG the following day at 22:25.

So... it looks like your original itinerary has been changed, even if United or your agent has not notified you of that. If you bought your tickets before March 6 (when United started making customer-unfriendly changes to its refund policy), you should be under the refund policy in place at that time for a "significant change" to your ticket (just reinforced 5/12 by a Dept of Transportation Enforcement Notice). A 2-hour change in departure/arrival time makes you eligible for a refund. Adding an extra connecting flight should count as a significant change, too. So... it looks like you are eligible for a refund.

The third-party agent makes things a bit trickier. If it is an OTA (online travel agency), the customer service reps often give incorrect information, like "airline policy says that you are not eligible for a refund" (see one knowledgable person's experience here). The DOT Enforcement Notice mentioned above includes guidance regarding OTAs. I would encourage you to read the enforcement notice and have a copy of it nearby when you call the OTA because you may need to read it to them. HUCA may also need to be employed if you get an unhelpful agent (HUCA = Hang Up, Call Again).

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you Dave and Marianne. I had been regularly checking with my confirmation code on Lufthansa and it was still showing my original itinerary with no change or cancellation noted. Just now, I was on the Lufthansa site and tried to see if I could book my flight and saw that it doesn't exist as an option. I will be contacting United for a refund now! Thanks for the information and advice. I'll let you know what happens.

Edited to add: I booked this flight myself on United.com. I will go directly to them for my refund. I'm not sure how to obtain a refund from Lufthansa for my seat assignments that I paid for, but at least I should be able to get the majority of my money back.

Heidi

Posted by
2347 posts

Edited to add: I booked this flight myself on United.com. I will go directly to them for my refund. I'm not sure how to obtain a refund from Lufthansa for my seat assignments that I paid for, but at least I should be able to get the majority of my money back.

You should get it all back. You booked through United look to them for the fare and set refund.

Posted by
11 posts

I had to pay for the seats on Lufthansa.com, so I'm pretty sure I will have to go through them. I'm exploring how to do that right now. They certainly don't make it easy to find the information.

Posted by
11 posts

I'm looking at the United website right now. It says no itinerary is available for SEA to ZAG on June 15. When I look at the Lufthansa website, the only options on June 15 are SEA-SFO-MUC-ZAG departing SEA at 7:30 or 14:29 and arriving at ZAG the following day at 22:25.

I just got off the phone with United. Apparently the reason the flight is not showing is because it's sold out! Seems crazy that a 747 going to Frankfurt at this time would be full. Maybe a lot of people are hoping for a cancellation. I guess it's back to waiting again.

Posted by
984 posts

tnhlind

Can you call the airline on a different phone than you’ve used with them before? I’d call and try to book a flight for that date and see if one is available to book. I don’t trust anyone these days.

Posted by
98 posts

Our flight to Italy is also scheduled for June 15th booked directly through Lufthansa. The options you’re being offered are far better than what I’m seeing. All I see for a self-cancelled flight is an offer to rebook by August 31st and travel must begin before 12/31/20!

That does me absolutely no good, so I’m stuck in a game of chicken hoping they blink (cancel) before I do.

Posted by
2017 posts

I just got off the phone with United. Apparently the reason the flight
is not showing is because it's sold out!

There's a surprise, eh? But... it doesn't make sense in the current travel environment. So when things don't make sense, I poke around a little more. The Flightview flight tracker indicates that the June 15 SEA to FRA flight on Lufthansa does indeed have a status of "scheduled." A May 14 Lufthansa press release, though, addresses the airlines' flight schedule for June. Entitled "Lufthansa Group significantly expands service with June flight schedule," it includes the following list of destinations for Frankfurt next month:

Lufthansa's long-haul resumption of flights from Frankfurt in detail
(subject to possible travel restrictions): Toronto, Mexico City,
Abuja, Port Harcourt, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Bahrain, Johannesburg, Dubai
and Mumbai. The destinations Newark/New York, Chicago, Sao Paulo,
Tokyo and Bangkok will continue to be offered.

Nope. No Seattle.

So... I am about 99.99% certain that the United customer service rep failed to disclose that the flight is showing as sold out because Lufthansa has zeroed out availability for the flight (because it does not plan to operate it), not because there is a passenger in every seat.

I'll leave you to speculate on the reason for all the subterfuge. Be patient. The flight will be canceled.

Posted by
2017 posts

gparvin--

What's your itinerary? Let's see if we can find an out for you. The Lufthansa press release indicates that the airline will be flying from LAX to MUC, but not to FRA in June.

FRA scheduled departures (that the press release implies won't operate) are at 15:00 and 18:45. The MUC departure is at 19:20. If you are on the 15:00 flight to FRA, you have a good argument that there is a significant change due to the time change when that flight is canceled. If you are on the 18:45 flight to FRA, you may be able to argue that flying through another airport (MUC) is a significant change to your itinerary (after the FRA flight is canceled); you could also check to see if there is a significant difference in your arrival time into Rome.

If you are on the MUC flight, you are stuck with a travel voucher. The airline is obligated to refund the ticket if the flight is canceled by them. If the flight operates but you cannot travel because COVID-19 shut down your destination, that is not their fault, so they (sadly) are not obligated to refund your money. For that matter, they are not obligated to give you a credit voucher, either.

Posted by
2 posts

I am also looking for any information regarding rebooking flights or obtaining vouchers/credit on Lufthansa for future travel. I am currently scheduled to fly to FRA in September 2020. I wish to reschedule for travel in the late Summer or early Fall of 2021. The current policy only extends to April 2021, as I understand it. Customer Service at Lufthansa says there is nothing they can do at this time and to try back in June or July (??). If anyone else is in a similar situation, I would appreciate any information that you might have.

Thanks!

Posted by
11 posts

Dave you are definitely on to something. I searched the SEA-FRA on Lufthansa and apparently it is "sold out" for the entire month of June.

Posted by
1708 posts

I'm booked SEA to FRA for September. I have no idea what will happen to my flights. I'm just watching and waiting at this point. I don't think Lufthansa will add those flights in June or July - given a chance to add a flight, they added LAX this week. If they add Seattle back at all, I think it's down the priority list a ways.

Posted by
2017 posts

Digger 517,

EU carriers have been much less generous with refunds and vouchers than US carriers. Things are still quite fluid for the airlines (and the novel coronavirus!); there is a lot of time for voucher/refund policies to evolve before your flight, so patience is your best bet right now.

Posted by
98 posts

Dave of Spartanburg S.C.

Our flights on 06/14 are: LH451 L.A. to Frankfurt & LH238 Frankfurt to Rome.

Return on 07/02 are: LH1853 Milan to Munich & LH452 Munich to L.A.

I just received an email from Lufthansa that both our flights from L.A. to Rome on 06/14 have been cancelled! However, our flights back to L.A. on 07/02 via Milan and Munich are still in tact. I'm assuming this is enough change that they'll give me a full refund? I'll probably wait to call until, I assume, the Milan/Munich to L.A. flights are cancelled too.

Feels weird to be happy over cancelled flights

Posted by
2017 posts

gparvin--

The cancelation of your departure flight is adequate to get a refund. Lufthansa won't make the call on July flights until mid-June, so there is no reason to wait for cancelation of your return flights before requesting the refund. I believe Lufthansa did mass cancelations of June flights this weekend, so call volumes are likely to be high the next few days, which of course equals long wait times. Good luck on getting a prompt-ish refund!

Posted by
98 posts

For anyone following along.........called Lufthansa and used the extension they provided last night at 11:00 P.M. PST. Waited for maybe 10 minutes. Got my refund and cancellation e-mail without a problem. The nice service representative did warn me it will take a while to actually receive my refund, but I'm fine with that.

Posted by
2017 posts

Thanks for the update. Congratulations on your success -- hope you see the money soon!

Posted by
2 posts

Dave,

Definitely in a 'wait and see' pattern at the moment. Having lived in Germany, I got very familiar with the German version of Customer Service ('Kundendienst') and understand that it is different then the American version. Will be patient...no other choice at this point.

Posted by
3436 posts

Take the travel certificate if you cannot get a cash refund.

  1. Longer time to use it.
  2. I have heard that if you don't use the ETC within the 24 months, United will do a cash refund at the end of that window.
Posted by
195 posts

Hi gang,

Would appreciate your input. My flight is mid July, Lufthansa Business class. Non-refundable.
Direct from LAX to Munich.

I would be happy to just switch my dates to next July 2021 rather than try for a refund or voucher. should I wait until early July to make that switch? The online rebooking calendar only goes through May 2021.

Posted by
11 posts

Just an update. My booking still shows up as confirmed on the Lufthansa flight even though you can't book these flights (remember the United agent told me the flight was "sold out") and there are 0 flights to/from Seattle being operated by Lufthansa in June. It's frustrating they haven't cancelled yet, but I will continue to wait.

Posted by
11 posts

I checked Lufthanasa.com today and the SEA-FRA leg was no longer showing on our itinerary. I was able to confirm with Lufthansa via Twitter that the flight was indeed cancelled. I called United and after a lengthy hold got an agent who processed the refund. She told me to expect it to take until the end of the month to show up on my credit card. Next I will attempt to get our $700 in seat reservations back from Lufthansa.

Posted by
2017 posts

Thanks for the update. Good luck on getting the seat reservation money back!

Posted by
11 posts

Another quick update, the ticket refund showed up 2 days later! Also, got through to Lufthansa and they processed the seat reservation refund, but I'm expecting that to take a while based on others experiences.