GERMANY, OREGON -- En-route on this airline connecting flight through from Split Croatia to Milan Italy. Change of planes in Munich, Germany - Bags checked through for me from Milan transport arranged to Bergamo airport and fly to Tel Aviv
While stuck in passport control and again through security Lufthansa left with my luggage but not me - I was lied to. Repeatedly I believe they oversold that flight and resold my seats.
My luggage was not in Milan when I got there. Telephone numbers they gave me Did not work. Lufthansa customer service in Milan - yuck! I am out prepaid airfare and lodging not to mention my luggage. Do not use this airline. They are not customer service. Try British Airways for a refreshment!!
I had to take care of some business in Frankfurt and I took a Lufthansa flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt (which was incident-free) and a Frankfurt-LAX flight back. I had a business class ticket. There was a passenger who just got on board before me, and I noticed how one of the flight attendants immediately walked over to the passenger in front of me who was just starting to settle down and offered to hang the passenger's jacket in the cupboard at the very front of the seating area. I took some time to put my briefcase away and took off my suit jacket. 2 flight attendants saw me but were not interested in putting my jacket away.
I didn't want to make a big fuss and I'm not entirely familiar with the storage cabinet at the front of the plane, so I put my jacket on the back of my seat. I doze off for 30 minutes. When I woke up, I noticed my suit jacket had been stepped on and was crumpled near the bathroom door. The flight attendants had been walking up and down the aisle where my jacket had fallen, but apparently they didn't feel compelled to pick up a passenger's jacket that had fallen.
During the flight, except for 1 friendly female attendant who was mostly helping out with the other aisle, the rest of the flight attendants repeatedly skipped me when they were pouring drinking water and distributing bread rolls for the passengers. At that point in time, I was starting to feel that I was being discriminated against because I was an Asian (Japanese-Chinese) passenger. I was the only Asian in the whole section. Fortunately, I had a kind Italian gentleman from Turin sitting next to me, so I asked him to get another glass of water every now and then, which he would then pass on to me.
Towards the end of the flight when we needed to fill immigration form, I realized that my pen was in my briefcase which by then had been well wedged in in the storage compartment which would be a nuisance to dislodge during the flight, so I raised my hand in the air and asked to borrow a pen. A flight attendant came to tell me that they didn't have any pens. But a few minutes later when another customer asked, the flight attendant came with a tray of pens. I was truly fortunate that my neighboring Italian passenger again was able to come to my rescue with his pen.
I am a well-mannered, well-educated (PhD in Mathematics), patient person and I have never been a fussy passenger. The only thing that came to my mind was that the cabin crew in that section must have an aversion to Asians since I was the only Asian in that area. I have flown with many airlines throughout Asia, Europe, America, and Australia the past 30 years and LUFTHANSA was, by far, my ABSOLUTE WORST flying experience. I wrote a complaint to Lufthansa via their website and after over a month, their response was a generic statement that said that they always tried their best to provide the best service.
Given that the appalling service I received was their best service, I dare not imagine what the service would be like on their not-so-best days. I have since spoken to my employer to not fly us on Lufthansa and have spoken to colleagues, family, and friends about the rude cabin crew who provided such appalling service.
I find myself in a somewhat frustrating situation. I have worked in the travel and tourism industry for nearly twenty years and for the first time find myself writing a letter of complaint. Having so many years in the travel and tourism industry I find that I am more patient than the average customer and certainly more understanding when it comes to "problems". As part of my role I travel extensively on business and vacation and was persuaded by a colleague to look at travelling with Lufthansa when taking my recent vacation.
I have not travelled with your company before and had experienced several problems with one of your Star Alliance partners (Tap airlines - Late departure of flights ) so was initially skeptical. My colleague however was quite persuasive and advised me that in his opinion the business class offering on Lufthansa long haul was exceptional. I went to your website and sure enough the description of the business class seating and the photographs shown were impressive.
It clearly stated on your website that this new business class was being rolled out on your fleet from May 2004, indeed the only photography of business class seating that was shown was of the new style flat bed seating. As I would be traveling in January 2007 I felt that it would not be unreasonable to expect to receive the service and style of seating depicted on your website in April 2006, I therefore went ahead and made my booking, reservation code **. My flight details are as follows: Manchester - Frankfurt LH4853 January 16th, Frankfurt -Bangkok LH782 January 16th, Bangkok - Frankfurt LH773 February 13th, Frankfurt - Manchester LH4850 February 14th.
When I boarded the aircraft in Frankfurt I was disappointed to find that rather than the heavily advertised new style business class seating, I was seated in a standard business class seat, this seat I found to be quite uncomfortable. The main reason that I booked with your company being your new style of business class seating. As I am six foot six I struggled to get comfortable on the seat, I was determined however not to let this mar my annual vacation.
On my return flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok (LH773) I was to be doubly disappointed, on boarding the aircraft I found to my dismay that once again your company had failed to deliver its advertised product and the style of seating in no way resembled the seating that you heavily promote on your website. I was allocated seat 25C, as you are no doubt aware there is a bulkhead directly behind this seat which prevents you from fully reclining your seat. The seat reclined to roughly the same level as an economy seat, I was able to confirm that this seat did not recline fully by comparing it to the level of recline of the passenger seated in 25B.
To further compound my unhappiness there was a young baby seated in row 24 who was unable to settle and spent the majority of the flight screaming quite loudly. I realize that this is something that is totally beyond your control but when added to the fact that I was seated in the most uncomfortable business class seating that I have ever experienced it led to a truly awful flight, certainly one that I would not recommend to friends and colleagues. I look forward to some kind of explanation as to why the service received was not as advertised and would expect compensation for the inconvenience and discomfort that I experienced.
I am frankly outraged that a company of your reputation could allow such blatant misrepresentation of its services on its website and I am sure that this is not the first time that you have received a letter commenting on the misleading contents of your website. As mentioned earlier I have many years experience in the travel and tourism industry and am fully aware of my rights as a consumer. Should I fail to receive an appropriate explanation and offer of compensation I will have no hesitation in contacting the relevant consumer watchdogs and ombudsman.
DELAWARE -- Satisfied with German airline Lufthansa we booked a flight to Mallorca on April 26 2011, Toronto-Newark-Madrid-Mallorca. Lufthansa used their associates Air Canada to Newark, Continental to Madrid, Spanair to Mallorca. Continental was late leaving Newark, the seat I was assigned was in the back of the plane, and broken, would not recline, and when passenger in front of my seat reclined, I had his seat inches from my nose, unable to use the TV screen at the back of the seat. Uncomfortable I called steward, and consequently her manager, who verified the seat was broken, and advised he would have a repairman fix problem when we land.
No alternative seat was offered, apparently the plane was filled to capacity. I asked for extra cushion - "sorry, we are full, no cushion is available". The overnight flight lasted about about 7 1/2 hours - very uncomfortable! The flight arrived 20 minutes late, since we were in the tail of the plain, and crew aware of our rush to catch connecting flight in Madrid.
We had to wait for the passengers to deplane, ran across the terminals to arrive at "our" gate at 11:10 am to be told the flight which was supposed to depart for Mallorca at 11: 20 has left - no boarding pass available to us - we were told to go to another terminal to Lufthansa counter as SpainAir could not issue the boarding pass. We were offered a standby for 17:30 (5:30 pm), when we pleaded, we were issued a boarding pass, got onto the SpainAir but had to wait additional hour for Safety Crew to perform the missed maintenance on the plane's Autopilot, resulting in our missing again a pre-arranged, then changed pick up from Mallorca's Airport.
We were informed no meal was provided, even though we were to receive a breakfast on our 11:20 scheduled but missed flight. The return trip with Lufthansa's "associates" - Well, no boarding passes issued by SpainAir in Mallorca, neither in Barcelona - my wife and I seated in different parts of the aircraft. Apparently if we want to sit together we must specify the seats ahead of time and pay extra. I e-mailed a polite summary of my "experience " to Continental and Lufthansa and received a response of understanding, and apology promised $100 e-certificate towards future flight with Continental.
Lufthansa explained in their response that the Continental Flight Newark-Madrid was not full, that there were 28 seats empty - and how sorry they were I was misinformed. What I found interesting was that during the flight the passengers were repeatedly informed that Continental has received Award Winning Service. I asked Lufthansa and Continental to review their compensation for a sleepless, restless 8 hrs. "Continental experience" and wasted time due to missed flight and inconvenience - certainly worth more than $100 towards a flight with same airline - Continental.
Lufthansa should insist that their associated airlines try to live up to the excellent service, and product of this German airlines, and when they fail, the least they should do is not to insult their customers by making them a low-ball offer, while claiming their plane was just 15 minutes late, and our not reaching the gate was probably due to action of some 3rd party such as board/pass control, and that we had "legally" enough time to make the connecting flight. I shall return to Share Information with you....when I receive a satisfactory response.
Lufthansa Air - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The Lufthansa Gate Nazi. Lufthansa bad service. Lufthansa good service. Which is it? Depends on the person, not the Lufthansa process. Our recent round-trip on Lufthansa included: Departure: Saint Louis-Chicago-Dusseldorf-Venice (codeshare w/ United) Return: Venice-Munich-Charlotte-St. Louis (codeshares w/ Air Dolomiti and US Airways).
The Good: Our departing transatlantic flight crew was professional, well organized and prompt in their service. Seats are reasonably comfortable and relatively new. Individual seat-back video screens with a good selection of movies was standard. There were better-than-average (for airlines) audio headsets and passengers may choose to start and stop movies as they wish. The crew provided a wall-attachment crib for the youngest of our travelling party of 16 people. Wine was complimentary on the return transatlantic flight.
The Bad: Our return flight from Venice-Munich was delayed by one hour and 15 minutes on Lufthansa's partner airline Air Dolomiti because, and I quote the pilot's announcement, “of a stupid error by the check-in attendant.” Passengers were told we would need to disembark 4 at a time to claim our pieces of luggage because there was an extra piece of luggage on board. That seemed reasonable even for security purposes. We did not disembark, however, because it was determined that a check-in attendant had let a piece of luggage on the plane for a cancelled passenger.
The Ugly: Running late in Munich due to disembarking only 30 minutes prior to our transatlantic flight to Charlotte, a large passenger group was met at the gate by a Lufthansa representative. She directed us up the escalators with the exception of a disabled passenger in a wheel chair and our relatives with the baby, who needed the elevator. She let them find their own way to passport checkpoint another set of security which was painfully tedious for in a normal situation, much less a situation where passengers had already been screened and passed through security in Venice. Perhaps this was because the flight terminated in USA.
The Lufthansa leader left us at security while passengers for a later Philadelphia flight jumped the line in front of us. My 3 kids passed through security along with my niece and two nephews. As the security personnel slowly checked all the carry-on baggage of my wife and sister (not Lufthansa's fault), a Lufthansa gate agent ran down to tell us to hurry up. I still hadn't even made it through security. The Lufthansa agent again yelled at us, saying they were closing the plane door.
This was alarming to us all as six of our children had already boarded the plane. My sister's bags were still being rummaged through by security, my wife's passport was stuck under the x–ray on the security belt. My sister and wife asked repeatedly if they would let the plane depart with our kids on board and without us. “Maybe.” She said at first. And after that she just nodded her head in the affirmative. If we weren't such seasoned travelers, this could have caused even greater stress to Lufthansa's paying passengers.
I, meanwhile was still stuck in security line. The security personnel took their time examining my carry-on luggage while my wife ran ahead to hold the agents at bay at the gangway. BRIGHT SPOT: There had been enough time for my wife to report to the gate agents to what had occurred with the other agents and they were shocked that it was a Lufthansa employee, but, indeed, it was. We were told they would report the offender and that they had experienced bad behavior as a Lufthansa employee and passenger on a recent flight from Paris. The two friendly female gate agents seemed to think this was an exceptional situation.
Particularly offensive was the short, portly blonde-haired Lufthansa Gate Nazi who yelled at us at the security line and seemed to smirkingly enjoy it, and the tall black-haired Lufthansa male agent who literally yelled at us repeatedly to hurry up on the gangway because the plane needed to depart. He barked at us repeatedly, followed by a “sorry” only to bark at us again. Strange. Salt In the Wound.
Someone was in my brother-in-law's seat upon boarding the transatlantic flight and my video monitor didn't work. I asked one attendant if she could fix it and I got no response for 2 hours so I asked another one who said she would get it fixed. 9 hours into the flight, the original attendant realized it wasn't working and apologized. BRIGHT SPOT: She gave us a 25 Euro certificate for Duty Free which bought a box of over-priced chocolates.
Upon boarding a flight attendant required a boarding pass for my other sister's 10-month old as they suspected she was taking up a paid seat on a fully-booked flight for free. Luckily they had her paid boarding pass, so she was able to keep her seat. No crib attachment for the baby on the return flight, though one was available for another infant. Pretty Cool. The multiple bathrooms grouped together in the center of the plane belly. You descend stairs to reach them.
Today has been the worst travel experience in my life. It started this morning with a 7:20 am flight from Venice to Frankfurt with San Diego as my final destination. An early start to a long trip. Well, we had a flat tire before the plane left the gate. Lufthansa has no contingency for a flat tire in Venice so we had to wait 4 hours for another tire to be flown in from Frankfurt on the next flight.
Of course, we all missed our connections to the U.S. Again, Lufthansa has no contingency for a missed connection. When we landed we were given no directions where to go to get the problem resolved. At the check-in kiosk, we were all directed to the Transfer Desk. Pretty soon there were 150 passengers in line while 2 trainees and two regulars tried to reroute everyone.
Turns out they didn't have the capability to do that at the transfer desk. But rather than make an announcement, they simply waited for everyone to work their way through the line, then they tried in vain to find a flight, before giving up and sending everyone to the Ticket Counter at the front of the terminal. Everyone got the same unhelpful treatment. I was about in the middle of the line and I waited about 70 minutes to get to the front. The people at the back probably waited about 2 hours to find out they were in the wrong place. Then off to the ticket desk I went - something that I can best describe as a DMV-style experience from hell.
I took a number and then waited 2 hours to be helped. The problem was that Lufthansa uses an antiquated mainframe ticketing system that has all the sophistication of something developed in 1975. The ticket agent literally had to look through all the possible flights and routings to try to find some means to get me to San Diego. The system provided no suggestions. So instead have been giving a list of options, the ticket agent had to spend 20 to 30 minutes struggling with each passenger to find a new route. Once again, Lufthansa has no contingency plan for when things go wrong and flights must be re-planned.
A more modern ticketing system could have reduced the time spent per passenger from 30 minutes down to 5 minutes. Turns out there are no available seats on any flights to the US on any Star Alliance carriers for the next two days. Again, this stupid airline has no contingency planning on place. Every flight is overbooked by 12-30 seats. Right now I am at a barely passable hotel in Frankfurt that Lufthansa is paying for. I am hoping that a seat will open up tomorrow for me. But this hotel is full of dozens of other passengers from my delayed flight this morning hoping for the same.
I haven't mentioned just how surly and generally unhelpful everyone has been today. I have walked from one end of the airport numerous times trying to follow erroneous directions given to me. At least I only spent 5 hours at the airport before getting to the hotel. My parents are headed to Cleveland and are in the same situation as me. After about 8 hours, they are now at the DMV "take a number" state as they were given worse information than I got.
I am expecting them at this hotel in a few more hours once they have reached the ticket counter, spent half an hour trying to find a flight, another hour waiting to retrieve their luggage, and then spending more time trying to find the courtesy bus which isn't found where they tell you to go. I would give most U.S. airlines one star out of 5 for their service nowadays. Lufthansa doesn't deserve any stars whatsoever. They are a terrible terrible airline. Never ever fly with these people.
Postscript: I finally made it to the US, although the in-flight entertainment at my seat didn't work. But I got home with my luggage intact. My parents ended up going to Paris, checking into a dirty hotel that Lufthansa paid for, checking out and finding a better hotel on their own dime, and then flying home via Montreal. Their luggage was misplaced and a new tea set my mom had been hand carrying but was forced to check by a rude Lufthansa assistant was smashed. My sister's luggage is simply lost. I just booked another trip to Venice in 5 weeks for Venice. I'm flying US Airways/TAP. That way, I don't need to go anywhere near Lufthansa.
Last week I had to fly from Los Angeles, California, USA to St. Petersburg, Russia and had the misfortune of having to layover 4 hours at the Frankfurt airport in Germany, Lufthansa's main Hub. I spent the first 3 hours waiting for someone to come to the Lufthansa passenger service center on the second level. There are 8 personnel counters in this center, none of which were staffed even though there were at least 30 people sitting as I was, waiting to get some information. (I have pictures available of the situations mentioned in this article.)
People would come, look around, wait for a period of time and then leave with an obvious negative impression of the Lufthansa service. I understand this airport is Lufthansa's main hub for connecting flights. At one point I started wandering around and found a Lufthansa passenger service center on the third level which was fully staffed for information pertaining to gates A, C, D, E, and F. When I asked an officer if the downstairs Lufthansa service center was open, I was told I was not allowed within the confines of this office because my ticket was for a flight leaving from gate B.
I was directed across the hall to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. Of course I was denied entrance because I did not have a membership card. Let me explain at this time that the only information I was seeking was where to find a drinking water fountain so I could take some medication! After asking 7 people, a waitress, bartender, policeman, gift shop clerk, rest room attendee, baggage handler and a person at a boarding gate counter, I still could not believe the only water available in the whole airport was for 3.20 EU (5.00 US) for an 8 ounce bottle. I know that Germany has one of the leading economies in the world, is this how it was achieved?
By now it was time to start gathering at gate B to get ready to board my flight to St. Petersburg. After finding out that gate B was on the basement level and having to walk down a flight of stairs to a lobby that looked like a warehouse, I found there were no seats except after you pass through the gate and receive a boarding pass. Is there something between the German and Russian cultural relationships I don't know about? I am 67 years old with a heart condition and Spinal Stenosis. The woman behind the counter said it would be another 45 minutes before they start issuing boarding passes.
At this point I pulled out a doctor's note stating that it was impossible for me to stand for any length of time due to my back problem. After scrutinizing the note for what seemed like 3 minutes she let me sit on the chair behind the check-in counter. As I looked around, I spotted a tiny water fountain tucked away in a corner of the warehouse-size lobby. Was it so hard for someone on the upper levels to remember there was a lonely little water fountain down here, or would that have taken away from the airports profit margin?
My mother was born in Munich and my father in Hamburg and I thank God that I was born in the USA so I can call myself an American instead of a penny pinching Deutschlander! I will have another 4 hour layover at the Frankfurt airport on July 8th on my flight home. This time, I won't go thirsty. Upon arriving in St. Petersburg, Russia, after unpacking my bag I found my luggage was damaged on the inside! The lining that covers the shaft that the handle retracts into was ripped off. The hard shell which is under the lining that protects the contents was shattered into many small jagged edged pieces.
And then I found a bolt. After searching the bag I realized the bolt belonged to one of the wheels which was now held on by one stud. How did the bag get damaged from the inside? I had a small cardboard box with my medications inside. The box was ripped open and one of the cases that held blood pressure medication was open with pills laying all over the bag and mixed in with the clothes and other items. As if that wasn't enough, inside the box was one of those "Notice of Baggage Inspection" slips from the TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.
It seems they inspected the medication and not the baggage contents and were in such a hurry to keep up with the line they forgot to close one of the cases. I took the damaged bag to the Lufthansa office at LED airport. After waiting approximately 30 minutes for someone to ask me what I wanted, I don't know why I had to wait so long because no other passengers were in the office at the time, the only agent on the Lufthansa side of the office told me I had to bring the bag to another office at the other end of the main building for damage inspection and they would give me a damage report which I had to bring back to this office.
The second office gave me a Damage Report with file reference ** and told me I could either get a bag here in St. Petersburg or when I arrive back in the USA on July 8. The Lufthansa agent also said it would be impossible for me to buy a bag here for $120.00 which was the accessed damage to my bag. After researching Lufthansa's office locations in the USA I found there is no Lufthansa office at the TUS airport in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
I have tried to call the Lufthansa office at LED airport for several days, but the line is perpetually busy and when I was there no one bothered to answer the ringing phone while I waited those 30 minutes! The emails do not get a response and neither do the feedback messages. Kind of makes you wonder who's working on the ground. It seems during my 5-week stay in St. Petersburg, I will continue to try to find out what I should do with the receipt of the new bag purchased in Tucson to get reimbursed when there is no Lufthansa office there.
This is to demand immediate reimbursement from your company of $859.60 that was extorted from me by your Shanghai staff on 17 December 2008, in what amounted to a ransom payment to forestall an act of kidnapping and false imprisonment by your company.
Secondly, be advised that Lufthansa's current business practices regarding levying ‘excess baggage' charges merit immediate review by your legal counsel, as they evidently entail potential criminal and civil liability for your company's officers and shareholders. The legal ramifications of Lufthansa's policies, in a U.S. context alone, include the following: Racketeering (organized conspiracy to commit extortion), fraud, breach of contract, breach of implied contract (e. g. to apply baggage rules consistently), false imprisonment, kidnapping, invalid contract (duress), unjust enrichment, and negligence.
The details of my experience (see My Experience, below) are strongly indicative of a deliberate Lufthansa policy of cheating unwary customers – who are unwary by design. Accordingly, the contractual validity of many if not all air tickets being issued by Lufthansa worldwide is highly dubious.
Thirdly, I have been a loyal Lufthansa customer for eleven years, using your airline almost exclusively for travel back and forth from the USA to Europe, where I teach in executive MBA programs. Additionally, I am a stakeholder in a Prague-based travel company ( www.artbreak.org ) and have always recommended Lufthansa to our travel clients. I am shocked that, under your care, Lufthansa has resorted to some of the most unethical practices I have ever heard of in the airline industry.
My Experience: Prague-Shanghai-Prague with Lufthansa - On 16 October 2008, in Prague, for the sum of $1161.36 charged to my US credit card, I purchased round-trip coach passage via Lufthansa from Prague to Shanghai. On 13 November 2008 I flew to Shanghai (through Frankfurt) with two pieces of check-in luggage, plus one backpack carry-on. The checked-in luggage contained heavy textbooks and readings to be used by me in teaching a business strategy course at a university in Shanghai.
On the evening of 17 December 2008, while checking in two pieces of luggage (minus the textbooks and materials that I had left at the university) I was told by Lufthansa ground staff that, in order to fly back to Europe, I must pay 600 euros for 20 kilograms of ‘excess baggage'. This sum equates to a 74% surcharge on my original ticket. I asked the ground staff member, and her supervisor, to produce any document showing me that this demand was legal, and they could not. I was told that the class of ticket I held entitled me to 20 kilograms of carry-on luggage. I replied that this was news to me.
Lufthansa's ground staff, specifically the check-in clerk and her supervisor, whose education and grasp of English seemed insufficient to discuss legal issues, told me it was irrelevant when I showed them my two luggage receipts for the Prague-Shanghai journey, and told them that ground staff in Prague had accepted my two pieces of checked luggage without comment. I asked the ground staff supervisor what my options were, and was told that my only possibilities were that I could either pay or stay in Shanghai.
I was told that the pending expiration of my visa was my problem, not Lufthansa's, even though it would mean my violating Chinese law and being prevented from future travel to China. Similarly, Lufthansa's ground staff declined to offer any assistance or advice regarding, for example, sending one of my bags via air freight or sea mail. When I asked if I could take the smaller of the piece of checked luggage on board, along with my backpack, I was told that this was not possible because Lufthansa strictly enforces a ‘one carry-on' rule.
When I asked to speak with the manager of Lufthansa in Shanghai, I was told that he was a European, did not work the night shift, and could not be contacted. Lufthansa ground staff provided me a boarding pass only after I signed a charge against my credit card for 600 euros. No other options were presented to me or suggested to me by Lufthansa ground staff.
While boarding the aircraft, I saw that, contrary to what Lufthansa ground staff had told me minutes earlier, approximately 70% of passengers in economy class were each taking on board two maximum-size pieces of carry-on luggage. These passengers typically had one bag with a metal frame including wheels and telescoping handle, and another large bag on top of that. The overhead storage bins were already filled, just two thirds into the boarding process; cabin crew were stacking carry-on pieces in front of the A-340's stairway, and even putting carry-on pieces in spaces reserved for cabin crew.
The passenger seated on my right, destined for Barcelona, had three maximum-size carry on items. On 22 December I met with my highly experienced and reliable travel agent in Prague and, before relating the above experience, asked him two questions: Has Lufthansa ever provided his travel agency in writing or in any other way communicated to him their list of charges for ‘excess baggage'? Answer: No. If, hypothetically, I had been deemed to have had ‘excess baggage' on my journey back from Shanghai, what, in his opinion, would the likely surcharge levied against me? Answer: $25
Conclusions: Lufthansa ground staff in Shanghai could have found other solutions than to charge me 600 euros, for example, by allowing me to repack my bags and substitute my smaller piece of luggage for my carry-on backpack, or by helping me send a bag to Europe by alternative means. Their training evidently forbids them from allowing passenger-victims to escape or reduce ridiculously punitive charges.
Lufthansa does not enforce baggage ‘rules' in a consistent way. In this case, ground staff in Prague waived luggage that ground staff in Shanghai used as a pretext for extortion. And Lufthansa's allegedly strict ‘one' carry-on bag rule is not enforced at all.
Although, as I have subsequently researched, Lufthansa buries on a website an obscure (and difficult to understand) PDF file listing your outrageously punitive ‘excess baggage' fees, Lufthansa issues electronic tickets that contain no alerts to prospective customers that this PDF exists or should be referred to as part of the passenger's contract nor does Lufthansa make any other attempt to make your baggage surcharge policies transparent, such as pre-departure emails to passengers, or clear notice in your in-flight magazine.
These omissions by Lufthansa evidently are clearly deliberate, to facilitate unjust enrichment at the expense of unwary customers. Finally, Lufthansa's present excess baggage PDF is dated September 16, 2008 when fuel prices were extremely high, which makes it all the more indicative of unsavory intent that, while fuel prices have fallen steeply, Lufthansa makes no effort to alert customers of these charges. They are, in short, pure profit windfall and it would not surprise me if your ground staff in places like Shanghai are instructed to meet a daily quota of victims.
In closing, Mr. Mayrhuber, I would appreciate a refund check in the amount listed above at your soonest convenience, and also, if you can find your way to it, an apology commensurate with the inconvenience and distress caused me. I also would like to recommend that you, as a leader, take steps to mitigate the liabilities that your firm is accumulating by condoning a racket that is eventually going to attract a huge class-action consumer lawsuit and embarrassing punitive sanctions by regulatory authorities. In a nutshell, greatly reduce the excess baggage fees or widely publicize them.
UK -- On 06.09.05 I traveled from Birmingham to Sofia via Frankfurt on flights 4907 and 3430. On arrival at Sofia airport, I and a number of other passengers waited to collect our luggage, only to discover 30 minutes later by observation alone that our baggage had not arrived. No announcement was made, passengers were not furnished with any information whatsoever, no Lufthansa representation was available anywhere in the airport, and more importantly no apology was proffered at any time.
I and others then queued for 3.5 hours to file missing luggage reports, without any trace of sympathy from airport staff , and passengers were not even offered of a glass of water during this time or the courtesy of any kind of explanation or public announcement. It should be noted that Lufthansa representatives were still nowhere to be found throughout this time. When I eventually managed to speak to the lost luggage company (Tourist Holdings) I was advised that my luggage had been routed via Vienna and would be arriving in Sofia at 11 pm later that evening (06.09.05).
The representative then stated that my luggage would be sent on by car to my booked accommodation in Sozopol, and would arrive by no later than 10 pm the following day. Why the need for a 24-hour delay between the luggage arriving in Sofia to it making its final journey to my hotel was not explained. Is this the gold standard in customer service set and aspired to by Lufthansa? As expected, 10 pm on 07.09.05 came and went and all attempts to contact the Tourist Holdings office in Sofia failed. My luggage eventually arrived in Sozopol at 3.15 am on 08.09.05!
On speaking to the driver I was informed that he alone had delivered all the lost and missing Lufthansa luggage and had that day been driving all over Bulgaria delivering bags!! As a result of this extraordinarily shambolic series of events I rang an acquaintance of mine who is employed by Lufthansa to get his views, and who shockingly advised me that this often happens when a flight has reached its payload capacity, particularly affecting passengers like myself who are connecting on later flights, and whose baggage never even makes it onto the aircraft in question.
This unwritten policy is a disgrace and deliberately misleads and affects passengers who are kept in the dark throughout. Lost luggage aside, on 09.09.05 I received a call from my office back in the UK requesting my urgent return to the UK on 11.09.05, at an earlier time to which I had booked (flight 3435 Sofia to Munich at 1655).
I attempted to call the Lufthansa office in Sofia at various times over the following two days to check if a change would be possible only for the phone to ring and ring without answer. Because of this I was forced to catch the 23:30 night bus on 10.09.05 from Sozopol to Sofia in an attempt to get to Sofia airport early enough to speak to Lufthansa in person.
At 7 am the Lufthansa desk was unmanned and the security gate was closed, but a representative from Austrian Airlines, a Star Alliance partner who share the desk with Lufthansa was at her post. She checked flight details and confirmed that seats were available on the 13:15 Sofia to Munich flight, but stated that as my ticket was non-transferable I would have to purchase another ticket, which I was willing to do. I was informed that Lufthansa staff were on their break and would be back at their desk at 10.30 am; or as an alternative I could visit the first floor Lufthansa office which I duly did in an attempt to resolve.
When I knocked on the door I was eventually greeted by a surly ** and explained my predicament. Without bothering to check any system or paperwork I was immediately informed that the flight was full and that there was no alternative to catching the later flight. I stated that Lufthansa's Star Alliance partner at Austrian Airlines had checked the system just two minutes earlier and that seats appeared to be available. ** responded by confirming (again without checking) that the Austrian Airlines system was different and that there were indeed no seats available.
No offer of standby or any other solution was proffered; indeed I got the distinct impression that I was interrupting Miss **'s day and that she had much better things on which to be spending her time than assisting Lufthansa customers. In any event I decided to wait around and visit the Lufthansa desk at 10.30 am to ask ** to check her computer and confirm the lack of seats. When I returned at this time the Lufthansa desk was still unmanned and the security gate was still closed.
So, once again I spoke to the Austrian Airlines representative who confirmed that ** had spoken to her in the interim, and stated that her system was indeed different and that the available seats she had identified earlier were not actually available to be purchased, just available to book as Lufthansa operate an overbooking policy on all its flights. I would add that whilst sitting in the viewing area at Sofia airport I observed the boarding of the 13:15 Sofia to Munich flight and the number of passengers boarding the aircraft did not seem to equate at all to a completely full flight.
The above catalog of errors clearly demonstrates that the level of service provided by Lufthansa falls woefully short of the minimum standard expected, and has raised serious doubts as to the commitment Lufthansa has to customer care and hence my confidence in the airline.
Incidentally, I would point out that as of 12.09.05 the contact page on their website does not work, the telephone number (01803803803) listed on their website does not exist, the telephone number listed on their Yellow Pages advertisement (08457737747) is incorrect, and the statement on their website to contact Lufthansa with "Complaints and Compliments" via email is apparently untrue, as when I spoke to a representative on ** she informed me that no email address actually exists to send comments, and that any feedback has to be submitted by letter to a PO Box address in Dublin!
And finally, the country code and fax number listed for the European Customer Relations Centre in Ireland is also incorrect!! This is hardly a ringing endorsement to Lufthansa's commitment to customer care. Despite faxing their European Customer Relations Centre and Wolfgang Mayrhuber on four occasions since 12.09.05, Lufthansa have just chosen to ignore my complaint! BE WARNED!!
Flight Cancellation - When it was my turn after lining up for quite a while to rebook my flight, I asked the LH staff "What is my compensation since EC regulations indicate that passengers have a right to claim?" She just told me that the flight was operated by LOT and not LH. That's it. For me, that is not the proper response. I've booked the flight through LH and LH is the marketing carrier and I expect LH to take responsibility. I am disappointed that LH staff did not even consider my previous seat preference when she rebooked my flight. I am in Business class and I expected the LH staff to respect my previous seat selection or at least ask me.
Note that my previous seat selection was not yet taken. I have to go to check-in kiosk to change the seat myself. I was given a lesser known hotel and is farther than the other 2 hotels near the airport. I am a Loyalty member and I am booked in Business. They were not considered. EC regulation dictates that I have a right to 2 phone calls or e-mails. The hotel does not offer free internet and does not even have bottled water in the room! I have to use my own phone to make international calls to inform my family what happened and I even have to pay for water.
The worse - When I've approached a LH staff asking for directions where B2 counter is, the staff was not pleasant and with a hand motion, she just pointed towards a general direction. As I am not familiar with airport layout, I've tried asking for more directions but was answered with a rather unpleasant and rude response saying "Just go ahead". I'm not happy with this behavior. I expected courtesy from staff. While lining up to have my flight rebooked, there were also a couple of other anxious and worried passengers who don't know what to do with the flight cancellation. They've tried asking the LH staff and LH staff was very disrespectful and sarcastic.
She goes something like - "we will rebook your flight, you have to wait and don't worry you have lots of time... you have until Monday to wait." I believe this kind of comment is not appropriate. I understand that during flight irregularities, things can get overwhelming. Treating passengers rudely however does not help the situation. I have already email Lufthansa twice and LOT once and that was 3 weeks ago. Until now I have not heard back from them.