TONY HETHERINGTON: Lufthansa’s a lost cause with its lost luggage

Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below. 

N.F. writes: My daughter went to Germany on a university field trip, and on the way back Lufthansa lost her luggage. 

The airline admitted the bag was lost and offered £25 in compensation, claiming this was to make up for delivering the luggage a day late, but in fact my daughter has never received it. 

Lufthansa keeps trying to pass us off to its own baggage handling agents and a courier firm. They refuse to admit the luggage is lost, which means we cannot claim on the travel insurance.

Chaos: The airline had no record of the traveller or her missing luggage

Tony Hetherington replies: Lufthansa behaved appallingly during your contacts with the German airline, and its attitude did not improve when I contacted it. 

In response to my request for a comment, Lufthansa seemed to think it was sufficient to tell me that ‘we do not have the capacity to research baggage claims’. It asked for my ‘understanding’.

Well, sorry, but I don’t understand how a major airline can not only lose baggage but then follow this up with a shrug of the shoulders as if this should be accepted as a minor inconvenience that every one of its passengers faces as a normal risk of flying on one of its aircraft.

Lufthansa expected you and your daughter to trace the missing luggage, despite being unable or unwilling to do so itself. So, you contacted Lufthansa’s baggage agent. It referred you to the firm that runs a depot at Heathrow, where the luggage might have been held.

And finally you questioned the courier company used by Lufthansa, which told you it never even collected the baggage, let alone delivered it.

All this shows that you went above and beyond what was needed. Your daughter’s contract was with Lufthansa, and not with any of the separate firms that Lufthansa chose to use. But this did not stop the airline from creating a shambles and then adding to it.

A few days after Lufthansa falsely told your daughter that her luggage had been found and was being couriered to her, it admitted that it had no idea where her belongings had gone, and it confessed that they could simply have been left behind in Frankfurt. 

Weeks later though, Lufthansa reverted to its earlier claim that the baggage had been found at Heathrow and delivered. It refused to produce any evidence to back this up, such as a delivery signature.

I pressed Lufthansa and gave the airline’s Frankfurt headquarters your daughter’s name and the references shown on Lufthansa’s emails to her. It replied that it could find none of its own references in its system, adding, ‘No results either by searching after surname all the way back to last February 2022.’ 

In short, not only was her luggage missing, but as far as Lufthansa was concerned, your daughter had vanished too.

I repeated your daughter’s details to Lufthansa, including her flight number and the date she flew. Lufthansa fell silent, and stayed silent. It has not only lost the luggage – it refuses to admit that it has lost the luggage.

Typically, insurance companies expect travellers to get confirmation that their belongings really have been lost. And typically, airlines provide this. Your daughter could prove that she had reported the missing luggage at Heathrow, but not that Lufthansa admitted to losing it, so I offered to intervene with the insurer.

Happily, when you told the insurance company you were in touch with me, it offered your daughter £595 to settle the claim. She has accepted this, while making the point that her lost luggage, clothes, make-up and jewellery were actually valued at £1,100. 

I explained this to Lufthansa and gave the airline one last chance to put things right. It has not done so, and still refuses to admit that the luggage was even lost. Lufthansa passengers beware.

Reassure won’t let me get my money

H.S. writes: I am approaching 87 and for many years I have had a small drawdown policy which was taken over by Reassure. 

Due to my age, and having been diagnosed with cancer, I applied to make a withdrawal of the total due, which is about £4,700, but despite letters and phone calls, I still cannot get the money.

Frustration: The Reassure department dealing with the drawdown policy will not accept calls

Frustration: The Reassure department dealing with the drawdown policy will not accept calls

Tony Hetherington replies: You told me that the Reassure department dealing with your drawdown policy will not accept your calls. 

Worse still, you received a letter saying you had been paid £1,223 in error, and Reassure wanted its money back – yet you had received no such payment. I contacted Reassure, and within a couple of days you received £2,200, followed swiftly by a further £2,504. 

Reassure says the figure of £4,700 was quoted incorrectly because it repeatedly failed to adjust its valuation records to account for your earlier withdrawals.

Officials have apologised, but they accept this is little comfort and for this reason they decided to pay the actual value of your policy, which was £2,504, plus £2,200 as compensation. And you can forget about the demand for £1,223. This was just another mistake.

If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.