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Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa sues passenger flying Oslo-Seattle

A passenger is facing court action for buying a return ticket via Frankfurt to Seattle, business class, but not boarding the last leg.

By launching a court case against a single passenger who allegedly abused its tariff system, Lufthansa is cracking down on the practice of travellers using ‘throwaway’ tickets to get around high fares, the Independent reports.

The passenger bought a return ticket from Oslo via Frankfurt to Seattle – business class – for around €680. He flew Oslo-Frankfurt-Seattle before flying back to Frankfurt but did not board the final leg to Norway.

Lufthansa claims he should have paid four times the sum for the itinerary he actually flew.

The airline says that rather than simply pursuing an individual passenger it wants to establish in law what has been a long-established term in its contract with passengers – and to send a warning to others.

Flying full
The fact is that a fare from A to B is often higher than one from A to B to C. To make sure their planes are full, airlines often use the practice of lowering fares in this way to tempt travellers to routes from beyond the two destination points.

But some people take advantage of the system by travelling with hand-luggage only and missing out the last leg.

To counter this practice, airlines have a condition of carriage insisting passengers must stick to the itinerary they have booked or face the consequences.

The airlines rarely take action, however, fearful of their reputations, especially among those in their loyalty programmes.

And in the rare cases that airlines have taken to court – such as United Airlines unsuccessfully trying to sue the website Skiplagged for finding cheap trips for users – judges often side with the passenger.

Nevertheless, in this case the German giant has decided to take a chance and act against ‘tariff abusers’ through the courts.

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