You should first submit your complaint directly to the company concerned. If you do not receive a reply from them within a reasonable period of time or if the reply is not satisfactory to you, you have the option of submitting a complaint to the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt.
Please use the complaint forms provided by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt to submit your complaint and enclose copies of documents that may be relevant for assessing the facts and providing evidence in possible administrative offence proceedings, e.g.
Please note that further processing of your complaint is only possible if we have all the information relevant to the decision on the facts of the case.
Upon receipt of your complaint, we will send you an acknowledgement of receipt with the reference number assigned to your complaint, which you can refer to in case of any follow-up questions.
If another national enforcement body is responsible for handling your complaint, we will forward your complaint to this institution and inform you of the submission.
Complaints under the competence of the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt will be examined by us for possible infringements of the relevant EU regulation. If the examination reveals possible infringements, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt may open administrative offence proceedings against the company concerned. In the case of proven infringements, a fine may be imposed. You will be informed about the completion of the processing.
There are no legal deadlines for the processing of complaints by the bodies designated to protect passengers' rights. According to the European Commission's guidelines on the complaints procedure, the processing time should normally be a maximum of
Due to the procedural steps involved in the conduct of administrative offence proceedings, in particular fact-finding measures that may be required and the granting of the right to be heard to the company concerned, longer processing times may occur.
Please note that the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt does not provide any compensation or reimbursement services to passengers based on Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 and we cannot enforce civil law claims of individual passengers against the airline concerned. You have to address these claims directly to the airline concerned and, if necessary, enforce them within the framework of complaint proceedings or summary proceedings for debt or in conciliation proceedings.
The administrative offence procedures carried out by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt are intended to ensure the legally compliant application of the passenger rights regulations in Germany and to prevent future violations. Please note that although the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt can impose sanctions on affected companies, it is not authorised to enforce financial claims of individual passengers arising from Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 against air carriers.
The decision of the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt in administrative offence proceedings has no influence on any civil court proceedings. The enforcement proceedings before the civil court or a conciliation body are independent of the complaint processing by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt. If you solely wish to pursue a claim for financial compensation, you do not need to file a complaint with the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt. If the company concerned does not comply with your claim, you should then go directly to the competent court or a designated conciliation body in air traffic. In doing so, please note the preclusion period of three years applicable in Germany for the enforcement of claims arising from Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004.
The Luftfahrt-Bundesamt draws the attention of passengers who wish to lodge a complaint with regard to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 to the following: In order to assert claims under civil law, passengers concerned should first seek to contact the operating air carrier directly. If the air carrier's response is not satisfactory for the passengers concerned, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt expressly recommends that they use the conciliation procedure, which is in principle free of charge for consumers, with the designated conciliation bodies in air transport (SÖP - Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr or Federal Office of Justice) to enforce their civil claims.
Affected passengers may also use third parties, including claim agencies, to enforce their outstanding debits. However, these companies usually charge consumers a fee for this service, which often represents a considerable part of the compensation sought, whereas, as already mentioned, the conciliation bodies in air transport generally act free of charge for the passenger.
In this context, the European Commission has published information for passengers to assist them in deciding whether to engage a claim agency.
This publication contains the following key recommendations with regard to the selection of a claim agency:
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