Lufthansa apologizes for excluding Jewish group over mask rules

Lufthansa apologized for excluding a group of Jewish passengers after a few were not observing COVID protocols. The group consisted of the visibly Jewish Orthodox, who accused the airline of collective punishment.

The Lufthansa logo on two airplance fins at the Frankfurt airportLufthansa apologized for offending ‘a large number of booked passengers’

Lufthansa apologized on Tuesday after being accused of excluding visibly Orthodox Jewish passengers from a Frankfurt to Budapest flight in a dispute over wearing FFP2 masks on board during a previous flight with the airline.

In a statement, the German airline said that on May 4, a group of passengers were denied onward boarding from Frankfurt to Budapest after an incident on the New York to Frankfurt leg of the passengers’ journey, where some had refused to comply with in-flight masking requirements.

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Media reports indicate the passengers were Orthodox Jews, and some video footage circulated online appeared to show a Lufthansa employee saying it was Orthodox Jews who had flown from JFK airport who were refusing to wear masks. Some passengers complained that restrictions then applied to all Jewish passengers, rather than those specifically refusing to don masks.

Lufthansa’s statement says, “We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any type.”

The Lufthansa statement refers only to “a large number of booked passengers” and “the large group.” The company said it was “still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day.”

The passengers were on a pilgrimage to visit the grave of a rabbi in northeastern Hungary.

“We will be engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service,” the statement concluded.

ar/msh (Reuters, KNA)