Corona return flights: Travelers have to contribute to the costs

Status: December 17, 2021 8:42 pm

In the first wave of corona, the Federal Foreign Office brought back thousands of Germans stranded abroad. Some resisted the cost sharing required by the federal government – initially without success.

Anyone who was brought back from abroad on state-organized charter flights during the corona pandemic must contribute to the costs. That was decided by the Berlin Administrative Court. The federal government was therefore allowed to demand part of the costs from the travelers.

The pandemic is a disaster, the court said. The lump sums for the flights demanded by the travelers were permissible and not too high, according to the court. The judgments in the two negotiated cases are not yet final. Appeals were allowed.

Lump sum does not even come close to covering costs

The lawsuit of a family of six who had been brought from Mexico and was supposed to pay 600 euros per person was heard. According to the court, the Lufthansa charter flight with 282 passengers cost the Foreign Office 612,000 euros, 2170 euros per passenger.

There was also a family of three who flew back from New Zealand and were supposed to pay 1000 euros per person. For the empty outbound flight and the return flight from New Zealand with 300 passengers, Lufthansa charged 995,000 euros – more than 3,300 euros per seat.

The judge said the government was legally entitled to reclaim these expenses. The requested lump sums were “well below the actual costs”. All travelers signed at the time that they would contribute to the costs.

Total cost of 95 million euros

The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that some of the travelers had already booked cheaper return flights that were not reimbursed. The representatives of the Foreign Office said that the flight prices had already been set significantly lower than the actual costs. A total of around 140 tourists sued against the cost sharing.

In the largest repatriation campaign in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, around 67,000 people were brought to Germany on around 270 charter flights from mid-March 2020. The costs totaled 95 million euros.

File number VG 34 K 33.21 and VG 34 K 313.21

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