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I have a question about compensation under EU laws for my flights. I booked a Lufthansa ticket to fly from Leipzig to Valencia via Frankfurt, and from Valencia to Leipzig via Frankfurt.

About 5 hours before the departure of my outbound flight from Leipzig to Frankfurt, I realized that I am unable to check-in online. I contacted the call center and was told that my flight was cancelled. I was not offered an alternative flight, and I decided to go to Frankfurt by train; I had to depart 3h before the scheduled departure time of my cancelled flight; I bought the train ticket on my own. Subsequently, I took the flight from Frankfurt to Valencia and arrived in Valencia according to the schedule.

I was not able to do the online check-in for my inbound flights as well. At the airport in Valencia, I learnt that my flight from Frankfurt to Leipzig was cancelled. I was re-routed on a flight from Valencia to Leipzig via Munich. Just after landing in Munich I received a message that my flight to Leipzig was cancelled. I was not offered any alternative flight. I asked for a train voucher but the Lufthansa staff was not able to issue one because of technical problems. I took a train to Leipzig. I arrived 4h after the scheduled arrival time of my original flight. I bought the train ticket on my own.

I am going to apply for the reimbursement of the train tickets and the compensation. Am I entitled for a compensation for my inbound flight as well (I arrived at the final destination on-time, but had to depart 3h earlier than planned). What type of the compensation can I ask for (the distance between Leipzig and Valencia is more than 1500 km, but the cancelled flights were between Leipzig and Frankfurt which are 400 km apart).

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Under the EU passenger rights regulation, the airline should have offered you both rerouting and the standard compensation for lost time (where applicable). If they didn't, it sounds plausible that you have a legal claim both for the compensation and for the expenses you incurred yourself as a result of their failure to reroute you. Typically the standard compensation in EC261 subsumes your opportunity to claim actual damages, but that probably doesn't apply when they failed to follow through on other duties of EC261.

Whether this is actually so or not, however, depends on the intricacies of German contract and consumer law. (The EU regulation doesn't specify what the consequences of flaunting it is; that devolves to national civil law). Therefore you need to consult a German lawyer. Random helpful people on the internet can't help you properly with assessing the particular facts of your case.

Beware that you may need to sue the airline to recover anything. And then much will depend on how much of your story you can prove in court. If, for example, the airline claims that you never explicitly asked to be rerouted and/or hung up in anger before their agent had a chance to suggest a rebooking, then it might end up as a he-said/she-said battle in court, which you can't be sure of winning. A judge would need to estimate the probability that she's dealing with someone trying to scam money out of the airline, versus the probability that a reputable multibillion-euro airline managed and run by professionals would suddenly gang together to repeatedly stiff one out of millions of passengers.

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    Strange - there appear to be several Leipzig-Frankfurt Lufthansa flights daily, I wouldn’t have expected such a large, reputable airline to be unable to offer an alternative flight or to ignore passenger rights. – Traveller Jul 16 at 10:31
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    @Traveller: Indeed. And if the dispute reaches a court, the judge will probably have similar expectations, which the OP will need to overcome somehow. – Henning Makholm Jul 16 at 10:45
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    The OP says they contacted a call centre re the outbound flight. Typically call centres routinely record calls, but I don’t know if that applies to the centre the OP contacted or how long records are kept. If the OP does need to pursue a legal claim, it might be best to request details of the conversation with the call centre ASAP :-) – Traveller Jul 16 at 11:14

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