Sam-Korsah’s tortuous legal battle against Lufthansa, as court orders airline to pay

Four years after a legal battle to seek justice for violating his rights, a Netherlands-based Ghanaian, George Sam-Korsah, an entrepreneur, and owner of Gino XXL Enterprises Europe eventually won his case against Lufthansa German Airline.

Aviation Metric has monitored the case since 2021 because of the racial abuse that accompanied the matter and because of man’s inhumanity toward fellow human beings and it felt vindicated for seeking justice for Sam-Korsah.

The case was equally monitored because of the penchant of many airlines including Nigerian domestic carriers to violate passengers’ rights without compensation or some of them boasting to blacklist any passengers that take it to court.

The court ordered Lufthansa to pay Sam-Korsah €275 in principal and declared itself ie since 2021 because of the incompetence about the claims insofar as they fall within the scope of the Montreal Convention.

Aside from that, the court ordered Lufthansa to pay the legal costs incurred by Sam-Korsah, estimated to date at €244 in court fees owed and €50 in necessary costs incurred, compensates the legal costs between Sam-Korsah and Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti in the sense that each party bears its costs

The plaintiff (Sam-Korsah) had filed for more claims but the court declared itself incompetent to rule on those matters concerning jurisdiction.

George Sam-Korsah

There are three airlines involved so the competent court with the jurisdiction to rule on the matter will be in Italy and Germany respectively. This has opened another door for a lawsuit and will go ahead with that as soon as possible.

Sam-Korsah approached the court seeking justice for the manner German carrier, Lufthansa maltreated him.

The matter which assumed a different dimension was charged to court with allegations that the carrier is out to frustrate the case which could cost the carrier huge sums of money in compensation.

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Sam-Korsah had on December 7th, 2020 made a reservation for flights with the following booking codes VUSQ4C – Outbound (Including Brussels, Belgium to Malpensa, Italy) – VV9VIE – Inbound (Including Malpensa to Brussels via Munich).

Two days before the outbound flight, he visited the websites of all the airlines involved as part of the preparation and printed all the necessary reservation confirmations (documents). He checked in online for the first flight (Air Brussels) and paid for one handbag up to 23kg.

On January 4th, 2021, he presented his ticket for flight LH 1855 and LH 2292 for boarding at the Malpensa Lufthansa’s check-in point.

He disclosed that he was refused boarding, the carrier claimed that his details were not found in their system, but insisted he had the right ticket.

His words, “I was threatened with police when I refused to back off as I was told. After about 30 minutes of heated discussion, finally, they recommended that I go and consult another travel agent. At first glance, I thought it was a Helpdesk to help Lufthansa passengers so I went, and when I arrived, I was told I had to pay a consultation fee before they could help”.

“In my mind, I already have the reservation made so I didn’t understand why I had to pay. Because I knew I had to pay for my luggage, I was only prepared financially for just that amount and nothing more. So, I decided to call Lufthansa on my own. I called Lufthansa through their number on my confirmed booking printout, and for almost half an hour I was not connected to customer service (I’m a Dutch resident so you can imagine the cost for an international call).” “Well boarding time was approaching so I went back to the helpdesk and paid for their service (It appeared on my bank statement that the company I paid for was not Lufthansa but rather A.R.E) I came back to continue boarding, at this point I’m short on cash because I didn’t expect to pay any amount to any external-body”, he added.

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He narrated further that he pleaded with the Lufthansa assistant to send him an invoice for the baggage allowance charge because he did not have enough to pay since he had to pay for the services provided by the helpdesk.

He further stated that the lady at the helpdesk refused and told him that his luggage would not be allowed on the plane if he didn’t pay right then.

“At this point, I began to feel frustrated and didn’t know what to do. I felt heavily abused. I have been under attack for almost an hour by the Lufthansa assistants (a male colleague of the lady at the Lufthansa desk joined in and even made a comment saying I was being dramatic, called me names when I told them in an argument over the ticket that I have been travelling for a month to about six different countries on the same trip and never experienced this treatment by any of the airlines, including all the airports at the connecting flights on the same reservation)”

The situation he said escalated to a point they eventually called the police with all manner of threats.

“At this point, I was trembling, all eyes on me and everyone watching. The presence of the police even worsened the feeling, I felt criminalised and humiliated, I have witnessed such incidents happening to people of colour around the world in the news and on TV but I could never think it would happen to me”. “After that, I called for help, and money was transferred from my company’s account to me and finally paid for the baggage. One could imagine the humiliation as my name was being announced at the airport because I was the last passenger and the flight was about to take off considering I was among the first few passengers that showed up even before the check-in point/counter was open for check-in and boarding.

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“Also, on the flight, I felt I was monitored and isolated, with flight attendants looking over my shoulders throughout the journey. I managed to keep myself calm by forcing myself to read till we finally arrived at Munich airport.”

He consulted the Lufthansa service point to make an official complaint right away but because there was a lockdown in the country which includes the airport service point was not open for such services rather they handed a brochure to him with the right information to launch a complaint through email.

He did that when he arrived in the Netherlands but was not content with the response he received from Lufthansa customer service.

He explained that he took the case up to an arbitration, lamenting that it took Lufthansa nine months to finally start paying serious attention to his complaints.

“They initially tried to block the arbitration by stating that the reservation was a business trip and had details of the passenger, Mr. Sam-Korsah’s company Gino XXL Entertainment.  This was a speculation by Lufthansa. The arbitrator requested more evidence which he says he provided to diffuse this false claim by Lufthansa.

Wole Shadare

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