Lufthansa charges Irish residents more!

I had an unusual experience this week trying to book a flight from Munich to Madrid with Lufthansa. I thought it was a bit silly that a one way ticket cost about ten times the price of a return, but the return was so cheap that I didn't mind so much.

I went to the Lufthansa website and selected English as my language choice and didn't pay too much attention to the country selection. I chose my flights and went to pay. On entering my credit card details I was told I had to start again because I was in Ireland but I had said at the front page that I was in Germany. I found it very inconvenient to have to start all over again.

I was startled to see that as a resident of Ireland I had to pay more for the same flights. And in addition to this, the days on which the best fares were available varied also.

I contacted Lufthansa and after some initial very shabby customer service I found out that Lufthansa charges residents of different countries different prices. Some of this may well be related to taxes. If I am in Denmark, but I live in Ireland, and I buy a flight from Munich to Madrid with my French credit card, it could be difficult to determine where the point of consumption is and what the appropriate taxes are. However the difference in fare was much greater than can be accounted for by taxes alone. In addition Lufthansa explained in an e-mail I got form them that "for marketing reasons some countries can have more convenient fares".

I think this is a bit cheeky. If I turned up at the airport and asked to buy a ticket from Munich to Madrid it would be considered discrimination to charge me more simply because of my country of residence. So why should it be different online? Lufthansa is entitled to set any price it chooses for a flight from A to B on a given day. But that price should not vary with the nationality of the passenger.

I wonder do they charge Swiss more?


ColinM said…
This practice has seen been outlawed by the European Parliament. However several weeks after it came in to force, Lufthansa was still charging different amounts depending on the customers country of residence.

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