Southern Germany has had fantastic winter weather with plenty of snow for the past few days that has caused Munich Airport to be closed or only partially operating since Saturday. There have been widespread delays and cancellations in Frankfurt.
Munich Airport is closed today until noon (December 5, 2023), and there will likely be minimal operations after it reopens, possibly for days. There are thousands of passengers whose travel has been disrupted, and many are waiting for Lufthansa’s (dummy) chatbot to process rebookings.
Munich Airport’s Announcement:
⚠️Announced freezing rain during the night: air traffic will be suspended until 12 noon on Tuesday, December 5
On Tuesday, 5.12. there will be no take-offs and landings from the start of operations at 6 a.m. until 12 noon. pic.twitter.com/R8SvSeNqJD
— Munich Airport (@MUC_Airport) December 4, 2023
EC 261/2004 Duty to Care:
The European Union Air Passenger Rights (EC 261/2004) also apply in case of irregular operations beyond the airlines’ control.
Airlines are required to provide Duty to Care (accommodation & meals) in case of long delays. However, the compensation for flight cancellations and delays does not apply here.
Passengers can opt for a refund if their flight is canceled or significantly delayed (some flights have been postponed by 20+ hours), even if their fare is nonrefundable.
Airlines must rebook affected passengers to their final destinations at the earliest convenience, even when this means moving them to competing airlines and avoiding Munich Airport altogether in case of connecting itineraries.
This debacle with Munich Airport has been ongoing since late last week, and it will likely be days before the airport is fully operational and planes and crews are at their usual rotations.
If you have been affected by this, remember to keep those receipts, as the European Airlines and if your travel is from the EU/EEA area, are required to provide Duty to Care even in a situation such as this, meaning paying for accommodation and meals.
If Lufthansa or any other airline refuses to rebook you expediently for flights ex-EU/EEA and community carrier flights from elsewhere, you can always buy the replacement ticket and go after the airline later for the expenses. Just remember to document the refusal.
Good luck to everyone experiencing this lovely snowmageddon in Germany.